Harland & Wolff (H&W), the Belfast-born shipyard with more than 160 years of offshore and maritime engineering and fabrication experience, is spreading its wings further into the energy transition.

InfraStrata subsidiary H&W has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Spanish shipbuilder Navantia and Windar Renovables to target specific fixed and floating offshore wind projects, primarily within the UK.

The agreement signals a firm commitment from all three companies to actively secure wind farm development projects and execute them together.

Stay a step ahead with the Upstream News app
Read high quality news and insight on the oil and gas business and its energy transition on-the-go. The News app offers you more control over your Upstream reading experience than any other platform.

The Navantia-Windar joint venture has completed more than 100 wind turbine jacket foundation structures for various clients over the last five years with the organisation, currently fabricating and assembling 62 jackets for Iberdrola’s Saint-Brieuc offshore wind farm after having recently completed five floating hull foundations for the Kincardine floating offshore wind farm in Scotland.

The partnership between Navantia and Windar Renovables dates to 2015. Since then, they have collaborated in the execution of seven offshore wind projects.

Also, both companies are currently investing in a new "XXL" monopile facility in Spain.

XXL monopiles are classed as structures with a diameter between 7.5 and 11 metres, weighing between 1000 and 2400 tonnes.

This latest collaboration aims to increase overall technology transfer, efficiencies, and improve H&W’s engineering and manufacturing competencies. It also aims to promote learning and innovation — intended to sharpen its market offering, boost local jobs across the group and build on its core fabrication capabilities.

Focused on supporting the UK government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution and helping the UK reach net zero by 2050, this agreement also aims to increase the Belfast contractor’s share in the renewables market by harnessing its extensive UK fabrication footprint.

H&W on Wednesday said it would be able to harness Navantia’s extensive experience and adopt its advanced technologies — better positioning itself to be a more attractive proposition to wind farm developers as they seek to work with UK companies to develop wind farms off UK shores.

Continuous collaboration

“The decision to form an alliance between Harland & Wolff and Navantia in the field of offshore wind comes after two years of continuous collaboration on projects in the defence sector, which has enabled the consolidation of a relationship of trust that now extends to other areas of activity of both companies,” said Navantia chairman Ricardo Dominguez.

“The addition of Harland & Wolff to the Navantia-Windar partnership provides the offshore industry with an industrial surface area of approximately five million square metres and an unprecedented capacity to tackle offshore wind projects, with a special interest in floating solutions that require large spaces for assembly and storage.”

H&W’s Belfast yard is one of Europe’s largest heavy engineering facilities, with deep-water access, two of Europe’s largest drydocks, ample quayside and vast fabrication halls.

In February 2021, the company acquired the assets of two Scottish-based yards along the east and west coasts.

Now known as Harland & Wolff (Methil) and Harland & Wolff (Arnish), these facilities will focus on fabrication work within the renewable energy, oil and gas and defence sectors.

InfraStrata also owns the Islandmagee gas storage project, which is expected to provide 25% of the UK’s natural gas storage capacity.

Navantia in recent years has taken steps to diversify into oil, gas and renewables. In the past seven years, it has delivered seven offshore wind projects in five countries including electrical substations, jacket foundations and floating solutions.

Spain-headquartered Windar Renovables manufactures foundations and towers for the offshore wind industry, as well as towers for onshore wind farms.