G&G International

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With the recent news that G&G International has won a contract for 72 WTG transition pieces and 1 OHVS transition piece for the new Northwind Offshore Wind Farm project on the Bank Zonder Naam, G&G is firmly established in the offshore wind industry. For this work they have created a joint venture, Gl WindForce JV, with the Spanish company Idesa. The total value of the contract is in the region of €48m.

Offshore WIND recently spoke to Patrick van Melis, CEO at G&G International, about their work in the offshore wind industry. Their fabrication yard in Willebroek, Belgium is located alongside the Seacanal in Willebroek, which connects the yard with the port of Antwerp and the North Sea via the River Scheldt. The yard is 170,000m2, of which a total of 45,000m2 is covered area. The open area is used for final assembly or storage. The facilities include a RoRo ramp and a heavy lift quay to facilitate barges/river ships up to 19m wide and with a draft of 6m. This quay is also dedicated for berthing coasters with cargos for other European ports.

The company started in the offshore oil & gas sector building parts of large jackets. This experience has led to the offshore wind sector, through building single piece constructions such as piling frames and jack up legs, which remains a regular activity for the company.

The first offshore wind order received by the company was in 2011 for the Riffgat Offshore Wind Farm in Germany. A €5 5m order for the 30 foundation structures for the wind farm was completed on time this year. Each foundation consists of an up to 70m long and up to 750t heavy foundation pile, which was to be driven up to 40m deep into the seabed. On top a 27m long and 275t heavy transition piece was placed which was delivered fully equipped. The monopiles were subcontracted to Idesa in Spain. The yard area in Willebroek was sufficient to store all transition pieces comfortably before shipping to the German sector.

“Our reputation as a high quality and reliable manufacturer combined with a good price ensured we won this order,” says Mr van Melis about the new order from Northwind. The company sources their steel in Europe, maintaining quality is important to the company.

G&G is already bidding on tenders for jacket assemblies for projects in the future. The yard is also able to build jackets for projects in deeper water or where heavier nacelles require more substantial foundations. However the footprint of the jacket would have be a maximum of about 18m x 18m, if built at their yard in Willebroek. Projects involving larger footprints will be assembled closer to their destination after construction in sections at their own yard. With this in mind they have formed cooperation agreements with other yards elsewhere in Europe. Mr van Melis also sees a long future in the monopile and transition piece design with solutions appearing for larger constructions.

G&G see their future as being healthy. The company employs 140 regular construction workers and relies on subcontractors for extra welders etc when required. Present turnover in the offshore wind sector represents 70% of G&G’s total, but they are aiming to spread their market further next year to make a 50-50 division. However Mr van Melis emphasizes that this does not represent a decrease in the offshore work, however, more an increase in the oil & gas sector.

Dick Hill