Norway’s Equinor has awarded UK-based North Star Renewables contracts to deliver service operation vessels (SVOs) for the first two operational phases of its Dogger Bank wind farm offshore the UK.

Equinor confirmed on Wednesday that North Star will deliver three SVOs for the A and B phases of the Dogger Bank wind farm, with the contracts valued at about £270 million ($375.6 million), including options.

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The contracts will see one vessel — which is anticipated to be delivered in January 2024 — used for scheduled maintenance at Dogger Bank A and B, with Equinor noting it would also be used in the planned third phase, Dogger Bank C.

The remaining two SVOs will be delivered in July 2023 and July 2024, respectively, and used for corrective maintenance at Dogger Bank A and B.

All three contracts will run for a period of 10 years, and include three one-year options.

Equinor said a contract for a SVO to carry out corrective maintenance at Dogger Bank C will be tendered at a later stage.

'State-of-the-art hybrid vessels'

The vessels will see technicians servicing the wind turbines spend two weeks on board at a time to ensure optimum wind turbine availability during the operations phases.

“We are pleased that a UK supplier wins these contracts in a tough international competition. The awards will create a good basis for Aberdeen-headquartered North Star to expand their services to support the UK’s growing offshore wind sector,” said vice president for Dogger Bank at Equinor, 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.”

Equinor noted the “leading technology” on board the SVOs also included a hybrid battery solution and power-to-shore to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

Each vessel will have dynamic positioning capability, with walk-to-work gangways for transfer of personnel and equipment to and from the turbines.

Equinor noted the gangways would allow technicians to transfer safely in wave heights above three meters, which it said would increase the productive time on turbines and optimise wind farm availability.

Operator roles to change

Equinor will take over as operator of Dogger Bank during the operations phase, with UK-based SSE Renewables serving as operator during the construction phase.

It is claimed the North Sea development will be the largest wind farm in the world when complete in 2026, with the wind farm being developed in three 1.2-gigawatt phases, to give an eventual capacity of 3.6GW.

Dogger Bank A and B are a joint venture between Equinor and SSE, each with 40%, and Eni with the remaining 20%. Dogger Bank C, is being developed on a different timescale and is owned by Equinor and SSE in a 50:50 joint venture.

The first two phases achieved financial close last year, while financial close on the third phase is expected later this year.