Belgium-based Euronav tanker owner has achieved a record profit and maintained a strong balance sheet despite the volatile tanker market.

The tanker giant said it was optimistic that the large crude tanker market is “well-positioned” to continue the current upcycle based on strong fundamentals.

However the shipowner believes that the supply cuts of up to 1.6m bpd to end 2024 and Saudi Arabia’s additional commitment to voluntarily reduce up to 1m bpd production on a month-by month basis, will provide a clear headwind for tanker operators primarily focused on the VLCC segment.

The tanker giant said it has delivered its strongest ever second quarter operating performance outside the exceptional covid pandemic situation of 2020, with net profit of $162 million, compared to a net loss of $4.9 million at the same period last year.

Euronav produced exceptional financial results for the second quarter, as the profits climbed to $162 million, while Ebitda increased to $247.6 million, compared to $74.9 million last year.

The top management of the company said this represents the company’s strongest second quarter operating performance on record outside the Covid pandemic of 2020, when floating storage of surplus oil drove a surge in freight rates.

The shipowner also remained committed to its long-term strategy of further growing its Suezmaxes fleet.

Euronav held a naming ceremony earlier this year for two newbuildings, VLCC Clovis and Suezmax Brugge.

The newly build VLCC Clovis ship of 299,158 dwt was delivered on 30 May 2023, whilst the ship Suezmax Brugge of 156,851 dwt joined the company´s fleet on 11 July 2023. This followed the delivery of the VLCC Camus of 299,158 dwt and VLCC Cassius of 299,158 dwt on 28 February and 11 January.

In the year the company also made an agreement with the UN to sell its 2008-built VLCC as part of a wider salvage operation for the FSO Safer located in Yemen. The ship was sold and delivered debt-free to her new owner in July.

Furthermore, the company underwent some key changes in the first half of the year in the composition of the company’s management board, with the announcement of the departure of Hugo De Stoop, CEO and Egied Verbeeck, General Counsel. Lieve Logghe was appointed CEO ad interim and continues her role as CFO. Sofie Lemlijn was appointed General Counsel.

Thierry De Grieze, chief people officer and Michail Malliaros, general manager Euronav Hellas, joined the management board in April and May 2023.