Tata Steel’s new Offshore Processing Centre will help reduce renewable energy costs
Tata Steel today inaugurated its new £2 million offshore processing centre (OPC) at an event in Hartlepool attended by more than 40 leading business figures from the European renewable energy sector.
Following a presentation at Hartlepool College of Further Education, guests were shown round the company’s new centre, a high-productivity processing facility that will produce welded tubular assemblies to be used in the fabrication of jacket foundations for offshore wind turbines. They also visited Tata Steel’s 42-inch tube mill, one of three tube mills located at the company’s Hartlepool site.
The OPC will play a pivotal role in supplying the renewables sector, manufacturing highly refined components for the offshore wind sector that can be prepared for welding onto finished structures, thereby shortening throughput times and improving cost efficiency for customers. Once manufactured, the components will be stored for shipment in kit form to fabricators in the UK and mainland Europe, using local deepwater ports and the UK rail network.
Tata Steel has also forged a supply agreement with German steel tube producer Eisenbau Krämer (EBK) to complement its own product portfolio, creating what is believed to be the most comprehensive and cost-competitive package in this market across a full size range of tubulars. Under the supply agreement, tubes from 400mm diameter upwards will be produced by both companies from plate manufactured by Tata Steel’s plants in England and Scotland.
In addition to tubulars for jacket foundation structures, Tata Steel will also supply smaller sized tubes and sections suitable for all primary and secondary steel work within wind turbine fabrications.
Deirdre Fox, Sales & Marketing Director for Energy & Power at Tata Steel, said: “The creation of a strong renewable energy industry is dependent upon delivering efficient, cost-effective supply chains.
“The investment in our new offshore processing centre is a key part of our drive to meet this challenge and offer the products and services the industry needs to meet the growing renewables requirement.
“We are committed to establishing a significant presence as a supplier to the renewables sector as the drive in the EU to transform the energy supply scene gathers pace.”
Joanne Leng, Deputy Chair of Energi Coast, the representative group for North East England’s offshore renewables sector, said: “I am delighted that Tata Steel is investing in improving supply chains for offshore wind, as this in turn will undoubtedly lead to future business opportunities for other regional businesses.
“It is also a further sign that the North East of England is well positioned to service the North Sea and European offshore wind farm developments for the future.”
Jacket foundation structures anchor wind turbines to the seabed with piles at the base of each leg. Jacket constructions are particularly suited to the development of offshore wind farms located in deeper waters.