Oil and Gas Platform Vessel Rebuilt as SOV for Offshore Wind Sector
The rapid growth in the offshore power generation sector is creating new opportunities for the creative reuse of offshore skills and vessels from the oil and gas sector which has been in a long-term downturn. As an example of the opportunities, a 2021 startup for the offshore sector, Norwind Offshore, working with Vard has repurposed a seven-year-old offshore vessel into a new Service Operation Vessel (SoV) for offshore wind.
The handover and renaming of the vessel as Norwind Breeze took place on May 30 in Norway about six months after it arrived at the shipyard. For Norwind, which was established last year by Farstad, Volstad, and Kleven, the attraction was a quicker path to enter service while the company is also building new vessels designed for the wind sector.
“Together with VARD, we have based our project on an existing vessel, and have specifically designed and converted the ship for global service and maintenance operations at offshore wind farms,” said Svein Leon Aure, CEO of Norwind Offshore. “This is our first vessel, and we look forward to seeing the vessel leave the shipyard and enter operation.”
The 4,100 dwt vessel was acquired in the fall of 2021 after having previously operated at the MMA Responder. The vessel was originally built as a platform supply vessel developed for the oil and gas market. She operated in the oil and gas market in Asia and Australia and arrived in Norway in November 2021 where the extensive rebuilding and outfitting process started.
VARD within a short period carried out the conversion where the vessel, which is 268 feet long, was equipped with larger and modernized accommodations for 60 passengers. Technical work included the installation of a large battery power system to reduce emissions. An advanced gangway was also temporarily installed, which will be replaced later this year with a new larger gangway system.
“Norwind Breeze is a good example of how we can utilize existing vessels, rebuild it, bring on board new equipment and new environmentally friendly technology, and adapt it to new markets,” said Dag Vikestrand, yard director at Vard Brattvaag.
Getting Norwind Breeze delivered on time was very important for the newly established ship owner, noted Vard. The new company signed the contract for the sale and conversion of the vessel in October 2021, and in less than nine months they have their first vessel in service. Norwind at the same time also signed a contract for the design and construction of two CSOV (Commissioning Service Operations Vessels) with Vard but those vessels will not be delivered till 2023 and 2024. Norwind recently ordered two additional vessels from Vard due for delivery in 2024 and 2025 and has an option for an additional two all based on the VARD 4 19 design, developed by Vard Design in Ålesund. These vessels are specifically designed for global service and maintenance operations for offshore wind farms.
Norwind highlighted that a contract has already been secured for the first vessel, and it will commence operations immediately after delivery. The renewables company Ørsted contracted the Norwind Breeze for its project developing the world’s largest offshore wind farm – Hornsea 2 – on the British continental shelf.