North Star Renewables, a North Star Shipping subsidiary established earlier this year to target offshore wind business opportunities, said Monday it had finalized a funding package of £96 million (around $131 million) to build its new renewables vessel fleet.
The Aberdeen-based company has contracts in hand worth around £270 million (~$368 million), to deliver three service operation vessels (SOVs) to be used on what will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm, the 3.6GW Dogger Bank Wind Farm in the UK North Sea.
North Star Renewables said that the secured loan was from multi-national financial services organization Allianz Global Investors (AllianzGI).
The loan supplements North Star’s own balance sheet and equity commitments from its 100% shareholder, Basalt Infrastructure Partners, to fund the build of the three new Service Operations Vessels (SOVs) destined for the Dogger Bank offshore wind farm. Also, the deal represents AllianzGI’s first investment in the SOV sector.
North Star CEO, Matthew Gordon, said: "This is the beginning of a third phase for our business. North Star started out in the fisheries industry 135 years ago before diversifying into the oil and gas sector in the 1970s. Our new, unique SOV design has kick-started this very exciting new chapter for the business in renewables and we plan continue building on this momentum. We are highly motivated and driven by our ability to innovate through our technology partners, and our ambition to deliver best-in-class vessel solutions for the offshore wind market in the UK and abroad.”
Chief Strategy Officer at North Star, Fraser Dobbie, said: “Renewables is a fast-growing market, and with the first trio of our SOVs being built and leased out for a decade, we are in a very strong position to expand our fleet and realize our full potential in this area.
"We have the capabilities to rapidly scale up our teams in Aberdeen, Lowestoft and Newcastle to oversee future SOV and daughter craft newbuilds. And with more than 40 years’ experience of supporting North Sea installations, we have a very talented pool of experienced seafarers to draw upon.”
North Star’s SOVs will provide floating-hotel style accommodation to offshore wind turbine technicians and a centralized logistics hub to travel to and from work each day across a “walk-to-work” gangway, or transfer via a smaller daughter craft vessel. The SOVs, to be built by VARD, will also be configured also configured to handle cargo and act as a warehouse.
The first of North Star’s SOVs are scheduled to arrive at Port of Tyne in the summer of 2023.