Maersk Wins Second U.S. Contract for Its Wind Turbine Installation Vessel

Credit: Maersk Supply Service
Credit: Maersk Supply Service

Danish offshore services company Maersk Supply Service has won its second offshore wind installation contract in the U.S. 

The company, best known for its offshore support vessels, in March ordered a wind turbine installation vessel, and won its first contract with Equinor and BP to install turbines at the Empire Wind project in the U.S.

Now, Maersk Supply Service has won a deal to install the wind turbines at the Beacon Wind farm off the U.S. East Coast, also for a joint venture between Equinor and BP. 

The installation of Beacon Wind is expected to start in 2028. 

"With this new agreement, we have secured a stable start for our new Wind Installation Vessel. We are very pleased that Equinor and bp have shown us the trust to extend the award and look forward to future collaboration,” says Chief Commercial Officer at Maersk Supply Service Jonas Munch Agerskov.

Designed in-house and patented by Maersk Supply Service, the wind turbine installation design works in conjunction with a new feeder methodology.

According to Maersk Supply Service, its vessel is expected to be over 30% more efficient than conventional jack-up vessels. 

"This is due both to the WIV’s unique feeder capabilities and to the fact that the WIV stays on location for the duration of the installation, while only the tugs and barges ferry to and from the coast. This enables the WIV to be deployed solely for the purpose of the turbine installation. The solution is also less weather-dependent, enabling installation to continue all year round. These elements will all contribute to improving the efficiency of the operations and to bringing down the levelised costs of offshore wind," Maersk Supply Service said.

Maersk Supply Service's Wind Installation Vessel will be built in Singapore by Sembcorp Marine, with the steel-cutting ceremony set for Q4 2022. The jacking units, load transfer system and crane will be provided by NOV, and the design work has been supported by class society ABS. Delivery of the vessel into U.S. waters is expected in 2025.

Maersk Supply Service has partnered with Kirby Offshore Wind, a subsidiary of Kirby Corporation, who will construct and operate the feeder barges and tugs in the U.S., in compliance with the Jones Act. Kirby Offshore Wind will support the Beacon Wind contract further by adding a third barge to the installation spread.

Offshore wind vessel demand to outpace supply?

Rystad Energy recently said that the growing offshore wind ambitions across the globe along with ever-growing turbines, could soon pose a problem as there doesn't seem to be enough vessels to meet the growing demand for the installation of these giant offshore wind turbines.

According to Rystad Energy, the demand will outpace the supply of capable vessels very soon, by 2024.  

"As the energy transition accelerates, demand for offshore wind turbine installation vessels worldwide, excluding China, will rocket from 11 vessel years in 2021 to almost 79 vessel years by 2030. The need for installation vessels for turbines larger than 9 MW, which was nonexistent in 2019, will grow significantly by the end of the decade and reach 62 vessel years in 2030," Rystad said.

With the demand growing, there has been an increase in orders for newbuild offshore installation vessels, as well as for new, larger cranes to be installed on the existing fleet.

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