CLS Offshore Targets Chinese Market

CLS Offshore Targets Chinese Market

Energy sector services company CLS Offshore is stepping up its ambition to move into the emerging offshore wind market in China.

Last week, the Great Yarmouth-based company hosted a delegation of leading Chinese business leaders touring the UK and it plans to continue building bridges between the countries with the help of UK Trade and Investment (UKTI).

Simon Thorne, CLS business delivery director, said they had been planning trips to China and were researching the market even before they knew of the Chinese offshore wind delegation’s visit.

“But this proved the ideal chance to meet them face-to-face, outline our specific experience and skills – including work on the Thanet windfarm – and show them our quayside fabrication yard,” he said.

Much of the potential work was likely to be project management, technical advice and engineering and installation and CLS had established a recruitment arm to find people particularly suited to work on projects in China.

One delegation leader, Ms Zhu Li, from IT power, said the five-day study tour was the first official visit since the setting up of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two governments aimed at developing UK business opportunities to help the rapidly emerging windpower industry in China.

Alan Highet, UKTI’s international trade adviser, environmental and energy, said the visit intended to create openings for British companies to work in China, rather than the Chinese looking to invest in the UK.

The East of England was a key region because of its range of offshore windpower skills and expertise from development through to operations and maintenance. “It is also a region which seems to offer a unique spirit of cooperation and coordination between the businesses involved in the sector,” he said.

The 12-person delegation also visited Sembmarine SLP, OrbisEnergy, Scroby Sands windfarm visitor centre and the Greater Gabbard windfarm land base, as well as taking part in a networking breakfast arranged by the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR). Later they moved on to Newcastle and Liverpool.

CLS managing director Scott McMillan said the prospect of working in China was just one of many global outlets which the company was exploring. Earlier this year he said it had a current order book of £20m which it aimed to double over the next two years.

Press release, October 28, 2013; Image: tmsmedia