Maersk Supply Service (MSS) is transitioning to become a major offshore wind contractor, having made its first newbuild investment dedicated entirely to the offshore wind sector.
The company has been developing a new concept for the installation of offshore wind turbines that is said to be 30% more efficient than using conventional jack-up vessels due to the vessel’s unique feeder capabilities.
The installation concept combines a new wind installation vessel design with a patented load transfer system that should enable the safe transfer of cargo, MSS explained. The concept will utilise two newbuilt tugs and barges to transport wind turbine components out to the installation site, while the wind installation vessel itself will remain on location to carry out successive installations.
“The new feeder solution equips Maersk Supply Service with a methodology that ensures a radically more efficient installation, which will, in turn, enable developers to release their supply chains more quickly and lead to faster revenue generation from their wind farms. All of this will contribute to bringing down the levelised costs of offshore wind. The solution is also less weather dependent, allowing installation all year round. The feeder methodology has been designed in-house and patented by Maersk Supply Service, and is a real credit to the innovation and hard work of the teams involved,” said Jonas Munch Agerskov, chief commercial officer at Maersk Supply Service.
Supporting the newbuild investment, Maersk Supply Service has been awarded a firm contract with Empire Offshore Wind, a joint venture between Equinor and BP, for the installation of US offshore wind farms Empire 1 and 2. For the transport and logistics, Maersk Supply Service has partnered with Kirby Offshore Wind, a subsidiary of Kirby Corporation, one of the US’ largest operators of offshore barges and towing vessels, who will provide the feeder barge spread in compliance with the Jones Act.
The 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 US waters is expected in 2025. With A.P. Møller-Maersk’s leading position on green methanol, Maersk Supply Service and Kirby Offshore Wind are looking into making it possible for the wind installation vessel, tugs and barges to operate on climate-neutral fuels.
“In signing this contract with Equinor and BP, we are ready to invest in Maersk Supply Service’s first wind installation vessel and firmly establish Maersk Supply Service as an offshore wind contractor. Offshore wind continues to play an increasingly important role for Maersk Supply Service – both floating wind and bottom-fixed. With our legacy of complex project management and operations in harsh waters, Maersk Supply Service’s background and capabilities are well-matched to the offshore wind industry,” said Steen S. Karstensen, CEO of Maersk Supply Service.