China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) will soon launch a bid seeking a contractor to provide engineering, procurement and construction services to build the company’s first jack-up wind farm installation vessel.

The decision to build its own vessel is in line with the company’s strategy to capitalise on its expertise in building and installing offshore oil and gas facilities to diversify with the energy transition, including adding offshore wind farms to its asset base.

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CNOOC, via its vessel manager CNOOC Energy Technology & Services (CenerTech), has already selected a preferred bidder for the installation vessel’s front-end engineering and design work.

CenerTech revealed Shanghai-based Bestway Marine and Energy Technology outshone the Marine Design & Research Institute of China (Maric) to head the list of the bidding companies for the FEED work, even though the commercial offer by the vessel engineering specialist is higher than Maric.

Bestway offered a price tag of 360,000 yuan (US$56,250), while Maric’s offer is slightly lower at 358,715 yuan.

Two other Chinese yards, CIMC Raffles and China Merchants Heavy Industry, also participated in the FEED bid but were disqualified by CenerTech as their technical proposals were rated below 60 in CenerTech’s scoring.

The installation vessel will be supported by a truss structure and will be equipped to install offshore wind turbines up to 15 megawatts, with CNOOC targeting the domestic offshore wind market for the vessel's deployment.

CNOOC Ltd already focused on offshore wind

CNOOC’s exploration and production arm CNOOC Ltd has already rolled out a master plan to expand its clean energy portfolio, with a focus on offshore wind.

Chief executive Xu Keqiang has said CNOOC Ltd would push forward with offshore wind projects "in a steady and cautious manner", adding that it will increase investment in such schemes if they show potential to generate worthwhile returns.

The company has recently aligned with domestic offshore wind specialist China Three Gorges to tap its experience in offshore wind project developments.

In a strategic cooperation agreement, the two companies aim to build on synergies in the international renewable energy business as well as project financing.

Last September, CNOOC Ltd started operations at its first offshore wind power project in Jiangsu province.

The H2 development has a total power generation capacity of 300 MW, with 50 four-MW units and 17 six-MW units.

Of these, 47 units are installed in shallow waters with the remainder in deep water.

The company has earmarked more than 5% of its annual budget for clean energy projects, equating to between 4.5 billion and 5 billion yuan of the 2021 capital expenditure of between 90 billion and 100 billion yuan.