Swiss offshore contractor Allseas made its debut in the offshore wind sector with its giant vessel Pioneering Spirit installing a high-voltage convertor platform for the Saint-Nazaire offshore wind farm development in the Bay of Biscay, offshore France.

Allseas said on Thursday that the project is its "first job for the offshore wind industry" and also the “first complete installation job executed by its vessel Pioneering Spirit".

DEME Offshore had contracted Allseas for the transportation and installation (T&I) of the substation jacket and topsides for Saint-Nazaire.

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Focus on wind farms

Leading oil and gas-focused offshore T&I players are increasingly expanding their presence in the lucrative windfarm market, as the energy transition gathers pace.

Several T&I players including Malaysia’s Sapura Energy, Vietnam’s PTSC and Italy’s Saipem are bidding on global offshore wind farm jobs as they look to widen their portfolios and boost their order books, drawing synergies from their existing capabilities in the oil and gas sector.

Giant vessel

The leviathan Pioneering Spirit vessel lifted the 2100-tonne electrical substation safely into place on its jacket foundation on 18 August, having installed the 50-metre tall supporting structure earlier this week, Allseas said.

The contractor said that in addition to playing a “key role in the installation of large transformer stations", the company also sees a future role “in the installation of next-generation turbines and monopiles”, which can greatly benefit from a vessel of the Pioneering Spirit’s capabilities for transportation and installation.

“The speed and ease with which she can transport and install large high-voltage convertor platforms in all conditions make Pioneering Spirit a perfect fit for the offshore wind energy industry,” added Allseas.

Saint-Nazaire, also known as Parc du Banc de Guerande, is the first commercial-scale wind farm in French waters.

The 480 megawatt substation will be the heart of the development, converting the energy generated by 80 turbines and exporting the electricity to the French mainland.