UK Wind Energy Services company, Gaoh Offshore announced the signing of a Letter of Intent covering the design development and construction of their multi-purpose wind farm development vessel, the Deepwater Installer. Gaoh Offshore and STX Offshore & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. (STX O&S) signed the Letter of Intent [LOI] at the end of 2010 and board approval was given last month.
The LOI is for construction at the STX Dalian Shipbuilding Complex in China after a period of joint further development giving both companies a commercial interest in the design. Work will focus on fulfilling the requirements of Round 3 UK wind farm operators and Gaoh and STX will combine their expertise to provide innovations that particularly benefit installation in deeper water, further offshore. To that end, Gaoh will utilise the North Sea engineering expertise of one of its key shareholders, Houlder Limited. Combining this with both the STX O&S experience and the STX Windpower B.V. turbine manufacturing experience will ensure that the Deepwater Installer is fully fit for purpose.
The vessel is a 140m DP2 jack up capable of operating in the central North Sea area on a year round basis and surviving the 100 year storm criteria on site. It can handle up to 16 3.6MW turbines each trip while minimising both port loading and offshore installation time. The design also incorporates a 1600 ton crane and under deck storage to further reduces per turbine installation, commissioning and maintenance costs. This true multi-functionality adds to the design’s flexibility and ability to deliver optimal cost efficiencies to safe, efficient and risk optimised installation and field support activities.
Officials of both companies including Mr K. J. Hong, Vice Chairman & CEO of STX O&S and Mr Peter Hickson, CEO of Gaoh, attended a signing ceremony in Korea and are looking forward to close cooperation over the coming months and the building of a strong alliance intended to benefit the expanding offshore renewables industry.
Peter Hickson commented “The key to the vessel’s success will be the combined experience of STX and the Gaoh shareholders. This has allowed the integration of turbine installation experience with a number of innovative design concepts which among other things eventually culminate in the ability to station keep and jack-up in higher sea states. This enhances the vessels operational window whilst at the same time minimizing it’s in port time. The ability to offer a lot more than just installation but also to be involved in commissioning and maintenance adds to the vessels flexibility and competiveness against other designs”