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Brodosplit Shipyard Looks to Floating Offshore Wind for New Business

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Test launch of Ocergy's new instrumentation buoy at Brodosplit (Courtesy Brodosplit Shipyard)

Published Nov 17, 2022 9:48 PM by The Maritime Executive

Brodosplit Shipyard is hoping that floating offshore wind could create a new line of business, offsetting the financial difficulties it has encountered because of the ongoing war in Ukraine.

In April, the EU imposed sanctions on Russian bank VTB, one of Brodosplit's construction finance lenders for two ship projects at its yard. The sanctions left Brodosplit unable to access millions of dollars in needed funds to complete the work.

The shipbuilder's parent company, DIV Group, provided additional short term financing and began discussions with the Croatian government about a bridge loan. However, the loan was not forthcoming; production ceased on the two projects, most workers were furloughed and in May, Brodosplit filed for provisional bankruptcy. The pre-bankruptcy petition process is now wending its way through Croatia's courts. 

Meanwhile, Brodosplit has continued to build steel structures on contract, including a large metocean buoy for American startup Ocergy. The new three-pylon buoy will be used to study conditions at a French offshore wind lease area; it is fitted with a range of sensors to study conditions at the location, including wind turbulence, bird presence and marine life. 

 The buoy will be deployed on France's Mediterranean continental shelf off the province of Occitania. The project has support from ADEME, the French agency for green transition.  

"The OCG-Data is not only an integral part of our business plan but is also a first step for us in proving some of the innovative features of our OCG-Wind [floating offshore wind] platform. We have a growing pipeline of pre-commercial projects between now and 2030, until the offshore wind industry deploys large gigawatt-scale commercial [floating offshore wind] projects worldwide," said Ocergy CEO Dominique Roddier. "I believe companies such as Brodosplit have a significant role to play in the energy transition and can be a strong enabler of the commercial [floating offshore wind] industry."

Brodosplit hopes that wind platform contracts for firms like Ocergy could provide it with a steady flow of business, and it said in a statement that "it is realistic to expect the signing of new contracts for the construction of platforms soon." The yard believes that this could equate to construction activity equivalent to about 100,000 tons of steel per year - a substantial volume of new business.