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Allseas' Pioneering Spirit Scoops Up Offshore Power Platform Contracts

Pioneering Spirit
Courtesy Allseas

Published May 28, 2023 11:06 PM by The Maritime Executive

Swiss heavy lift company Allseas may have designed the one-of-a-kind hydraulic lift ship Pioneering Spirit for the offshore oil and gas sector, but it is proving just as useful for offshore wind. The turbines that generate power at wind farms are just half the infrastructure of these massive projects; power conversion and transmission are just as resource-intensive, and often require installation of platforms that look - and weigh - almost exactly the same as offshore production platform topsides. 

Pioneering Spirit was built to install and remove massive platform structures in one piece, and is perfectly positioned to capitalize on this new line of business. The ship can even place jackets. After the end of the Nord Stream 2 pipelay contract, Allseas added a gigantic rack to the stern of the Pioneering Spirit for use in decommissioning platform jackets in the North Sea. This rigging can be deployed just as easily in reverse to emplace jackets on the seafloor. 

Nine European countries have pledged to install 120 GW worth of wind capacity in the North Sea by 2030, and these projects will require lots of heavy-duty converter stations. Given its unique capabilities, Allseas is raking in contracts for the jackets and topsides.

In mid-May, it secured a 14-platform contract for converter installation for the $30 billion TenneT offshore transmission grid project. This is a once-in-a-generation project, unprecedented in its scope. 

Last week, it added to the list with a contract from Dragados to install two 13,000-tonne jackets and two 27,000-tonne platforms off the coast of Germany. The 2 GW platforms will support power transmission for the BalWin wind farm cluster, and developer Amprion has stepped up the pace for construction. BalWin1 will enter into operation as early as 2029, two years ahead of schedule, and BalWin 2 will follow the year after. 

“The next generation converter stations are substantial structures, similar in size to a football pitch and weighing up to 30,000 tonnes, housing complex and delicate HVDC technology that makes them a good match for our industry-leading installation capabilities,” said Pieter Heerema. "Pioneering Spirit’s large lift capacity and high workability ensure that the installations can be safely performed all year round, creating maximum flexibility in the vast and complex building schedules.”