Equinor Selects COWI as Owner’s Engineer at South Korean Floating Wind Project

Photo: Illustrated drawing of a Wind Semi being towed for the development of the Firefly offshore wind
farm ©Equinor
Photo: Illustrated drawing of a Wind Semi being towed for the development of the Firefly offshore wind farm ©Equinor

The Norwegian energy industry giant Equinor has awarded international engineering firm COWI a contract to serve as “Owner’s Engineer” for the Firefly floating wind project offshore Ulsan, South Korea. 

The Firefly project is located 70 km off the coast from Ulsan in South Korea and is expected to be the first of several Equinor projects in the country to be built, with expected first power in 2027. The project comprises two 75 km2 areas.  

Equinor signed an MoU with Ulsan city in May 2019 for the development of the 800 MW floating offshore wind farm and received the EBL for the project in late 2021. The project will be developed using a low draft semi-submersible floating concept called Wind Semi.

Owner's engineer

An Owner’s engineer supports the owner of a project during design, development, and construction. The resources sourced through the Owner’s engineer contract will support and work alongside internal project development resources. 

Under the contract, COWI personnel will be integrated into Equinor’s project developmet team.

Resources from COWI will work in an integrated manner with the Equinor organization, providing project management and technical follow up of Firefly, COWI said.

COWI will supply personnel that will be fully integrated into the Firefly project organization, and the contract also covers independent studies, reviews and other engineering services. Financial details were not disclosed.

The resources sourced through the contract with COWI will be an addition to Equinor’s own project development resources. 

Torgeir Nakken, project director for the Firefly project said: "This is a novel way for us to bolster our project organization, combining Equinor’s and COWI’s expertise within offshore wind to develop a new offshore wind market and building a new industry in South Korea. We look forward to working in an integrated fashion with COWI’s team to realise the Firefly project."

This is the first time Equinor leverages an “Owner’s engineer” setup to support project development on an offshore wind farm. The first resources will be mobilized immediately. Through the project development phase, the total number of resources is expected to reach a maximum of 30 people.

The contract will last for the duration of the Firefly project and is the first call off under a global framework agreement between COWI and Equinor. 

“We are very happy to sign this contract with COWI after a thorough review of the market. Equinor’s renewables business is growing significantly towards 2030. Exploring new ways to work together with our suppliers is crucial to enable this growth,” says Embret Johnsgaard, procurement director for Firefly. 

Equinor Country Manager Jacques-Etienne Michel said: “Equinor wants to play a key role in South Korea’s energy transition, leveraging our experience with floating and bottom-fixed wind power to develop a new industry in Korea that can both help decarbonize the economy and create jobs and business opportunities. This collaboration with COWI is an important step in scaling up our organization in South Korea, fueling our project development efforts."

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