UK-based North Star Group will become the exclusive service vessel operator for Equinor’s giant Dogger Bank wind farm in the UK North Sea.
It comes as North Star confirmed Thursday it had clinched the service operations vessel (SOV) contract on Dogger Bank C — the third phase of what is set to become the world’s largest offshore wind farm.
The award adds to the initial contracts North Star was awarded on Dogger Bank A and B, with the company stating it was now the exclusive service vessel operator on the project for at least the next decade, with the total value of the combined contracts standing at £360 million ($475.2 million).
The latest contract, valued at £90 million, now sees North Star providing four SOVs under 10-year charters, with three additional one-year options on each vessel.
North Star said the latest deal would create about 40 new full-time positions in crewing and onshore-based jobs, adding to the 130 jobs the company announced had been created as a result of the prior contracts.
North Star chief executive Matthew Gordon said the company was “fully committed” to supporting the local UK supply chain where possible, adding the company was actively recruiting about 170 personnel from across the country to support the complete Dogger Bank vessel package.
“Securing the final SOV contract required for the Dogger Bank Wind Farm development for the next decade is an honour, and testament to the hard work and dedication of the team at North Star and our talented technology partners,” he said.
“The Dogger Bank C award has put us in an even stronger market position to deliver further value to our shareholders as we continue with our strategic ambitions to secure additional projects in the UK offshore renewables market and beyond.”
All four of the vessels being supplied by North Star are being built at Vard’s Vung Tau shipyard in Vietnam and will include a hybrid battery solution and power-to-shore to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.
Each vessel will also have dynamic positioning capability, along with accommodation for turbine technicians, with walk-to-work gangways for transfer of personnel and equipment to and from the turbines.
“With the final SOV also being delivered by North Star we will have the same ship owner across all three phases which means we will continue the constructive cooperation we have started and develop the operational synergies further,” Dogger Bank project manager Rune Ronvik said.
“As we have seen from North Star’s initial contract award, securing big orders can really help UK businesses enter the offshore wind market, secure investment and create jobs, and we at Dogger Bank are proud to have played a role in enabling this UK company take advantage of the global opportunity presented by offshore wind.”
The award of the SOV contract comes just a week after the Dogger Bank partners secured financial close on the £3 billion Dogger Bank C project.
Dogger Bank is being developed by Equinor, SSE and Eni, with Eni last month striking a deal to gain a 20% stake in Dogger Bank C. It will leave Equinor and SSE each with a 40% share and give the three companies alignment in their respective participating interests across all three phases of the development.
Dogger Bank is being developed in three 1.2-gigawatt phases, with Dogger Bank C to take the wind farm’s total capacity to 3.6GW.