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Dogger Bank confirms fourth Service Operations Vessel to North Star

(UTC)Last modified
Illustration of four service operations vessels with wind turbines in the background
North Star - 4xSOVs bound for Dogger Bank.
(Illustration: Courtesy of North Star Renewables Animation)

Contract brings associated UK jobs up to 170.

Dogger Bank Wind Farm has awarded a fourth Service Operations Vessel (SOV) contract to UK offshore infrastructure support firm, North Star Group. The SOV will be delivered with a Daughter Craft based on the Chartwell Marine design.

This order follows North Star securing a transformational £270m contract for three SOVs with Daughter Crafts from Dogger Bank earlier this year, firmly positioning the firm, which has operations in Aberdeen, Newcastle and Lowestoft, in the global offshore wind industry with its first renewables contract.

North Star CEO, Matthew Gordon said: “Securing the final SOV contract required for the Dogger Bank Wind Farm development for the next decade is an honour, and testament to the hard work and dedication of the team at North Star and our talented technology partners. We are fully committed to supporting the local supply chain and communities in the UK where possible and are actively recruiting around 170 personnel from across the country to support this complete vessel package.

“We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Equinor, SSE Renewables and Eni for their enthusiasm and confidence in our SOV service, which significantly shifts the dial on sustainability, comfort, safety and workability. These hybrid-powered vessels are futureproofed for tomorrow’s zero-carbon emission marine fuels and the superior home-from-home living space will provide the offshore wind technicians exceptional respite from the often-harsh North Sea environment.

“The Dogger Bank C award has put us in an even stronger market position to deliver further value to our shareholders as we continue with our strategic ambitions to secure additional projects in the UK offshore renewables market and beyond.”

Rune Rønvik, Project Manager for Dogger Bank, said: “With the final SOV also being delivered by North Star we will have the same ship owner across all three phases which means we will continue the constructive cooperation we have started and develop the operational synergies further.

“As we have seen from North Star’s initial contract award, securing big orders can really help UK businesses enter the offshore wind market, secure investment and create jobs, and we at Dogger Bank are proud to have played a role in enabling this UK company take advantage of the global opportunity presented by offshore wind.”

On top of the 130 UK jobs already associated with the initial order for Dogger Bank, a further 40 will be created thanks to this SOV order. The new positions will be based across Scotland and the North East of England and will grow North Star’s existing 1,400 strong workforce, 950 of which are in the UK and 350 of which are in Scotland. This brings the total number of UK jobs that will be created to support the delivery and operation of Dogger Bank Wind Farm to over 3000 so far.

Dogger Bank will be the world’s largest wind farm on completion in 2026. Located more than 130km offshore, SOVs are used to avoid a daily commute. Wind farm engineers and technicians will spend two weeks on board each of the high-tech vessels while working on the offshore wind farm. The SOVs will incorporate walk-to-work gangways to allow the teams to safely transfer to the turbines, ensuring optimum wind turbine availability. The state-of-the-art vessels will also feature hotel-grade comfort in the living quarters for operational personnel at all other times, including a gym, cinema room and canteen.

Innovations include low fuel consumption, digital decision support technology, advanced propulsion systems, hybrid power management and a waste heat recovery system. Three of the SOVs will have daughter crafts designed by Southampton-based naval architects Chartwell Marine in collaboration with North Star. Construction contracts for the first two have been awarded to Alicat in Great Yarmouth.

Dogger Bank Wind Farm is being developed in three phases, Dogger Bank A, B and C.

Dogger Bank A and B are a joint venture between SSE Renewables (40%), Equinor (40%) and Eni (20%). In November 2021 SSE Renewables and Equinor, 50:50 joint venture partners in Dogger Bank C, announced Eni will take a 20% stake in the final phase, with SSE Renewables and Equinor maintaining 40% stakes each. The deal that is expected to complete in Q1 2022, subject to Dogger Bank C Financial Close and regulatory approvals.

In total, Dogger Bank Wind Farm has now ordered four SOVs from North Star Renewables. One will be used for scheduled maintenance across all three phases of the wind farm, and is due to be delivered in January 2024. A further two will be used for corrective maintenance at Dogger Bank A and B, with delivery scheduled in July 2023 and July 2024 respectively, and today’s announcement confirms a fourth SOV which will be used for corrective maintenance at Dogger Bank C. This is due to be delivered in July 2025 and is subject to the project’s third phase reaching Financial Close, which is expected by the end of 2021.

The SOV contract is for a 10-year firm period with 3 x 1-year options; the Daughter Craft is for 7-year firm period with 6 x 1-year options.