North Star Wins SOV Contract for World's Largest Offshore Wind Farm

Image courtesy North Star

Published Mar 17, 2021 5:05 PM by The Maritime Executive

Scottish offshore vessel operator North Star Shipping has secured a $375 million contract to build and operate three service operation vessels (SOVs) for the Dogger Bank Wind Farm, the world's largest offshore wind project. 

North Star is a newcomer to offshore wind, and it won the contract against competitive bids from some of the biggest names in the business. It will deliver the SOVs beginning in 2023, and will charter them to wind farm operator Equinor for an initial period of ten years. The contract includes an option for three one-year extensions. 

The operation is expected to create about 130 new jobs in the UK, adding to North Star's existing workforce of 1,400 people. North Star will be building a new operations base at the Port of Tyne to support the charter.

Dogger Bank will be built under a joint partnership between SSE Renewables, Eni and Equinor, with Equinor as the operating partner. When completed in 2026, it will be the world's largest offshore wind farm with a total installed capacity of 3.6 gigawatts.

“We are pleased that a UK supplier wins these contracts in a tough international competition. The awards will create a good basis for North Star to expand their services to support the UK’s growing offshore wind sector," said Equinor's VP for Dogger Bank, Halfdan Brustad. "The high-end SOVs will ensure our teams have a comfortable stay offshore, which is important before a day’s work on the turbines. We have incorporated leading technology to ensure we can operate the wind farm safely, sustainably and efficiently.”

As is common for North Sea SOV operations, wind farm technicians will serve a two-week rotation on board North Star's vessels. The design's walk-to-work gangways will be rated for 10-foot seas to allow maintenance to proceed with a wide weather window. 

The first two vessels delivered will be used for corrective maintenance at the Dogger Bank A and B sites. The third, scheduled for delivery in January 2024, will be assigned to scheduled maintenance at all three sites. Equinor plans to charter a fourth SOV for corrective maintenance at Dogger Bank C at a future date.