North Star Renewables has secured a loan of GBP 96 million (approximately EUR 112 million) from Allianz Global Investors (AllianzGI) to build the three Service Operations Vessels (SOVs) that will serve the Dogger Bank offshore wind farm.
The vessel owner said the loan added to its own balance sheet and equity commitments from its 100 per cent shareholder, Basalt Infrastructure Partners, to fund the construction of the three vessels.
Earlier this year, North Star Renewables signed contracts for the design and construction of the SOVs for the world’s largest offshore wind project, the 3.6 GW Dogger Bank Wind Farm located in the UK. Now, with the AllianzGI loan, North Star is ready to start building the SOVs.
The vessels will be built by Vard Vung Tau shipyard in Vietnam and are set for handover to Dogger Bank Wind Farm operator Equinor in 2023. The SOVs will be working at the offshore wind farm under long-term contracts signed for ten years with an option for three one-year extensions.
Vard is also behind the vessel design for the three SOVs, with one SOV to be built according to the VARD 4 19 design while the other two will be of the VARD 4 12 design.
The VARD 4 19 vessel will be 85 metres long with a beam of 19 metres and will have the capacity to accommodate 78 crew members in single cabins. The two VARD 4 12 vessels will be 78 metres in length with a beam of 19 meters and accommodation for 60 persons in single cabins.
The 85-metre SOV will be used for scheduled maintenance at Dogger Bank A and B and is due to be delivered in January 2024. It will also serve Dogger Bank C once it enters operation. The two 78-metre SOVs scheduled to be delivered in July 2023 and July 2024, respectively, will be used for corrective maintenance at Dogger Bank A and B.
The Dogger Bank wind farm is located more than 130 kilometers off the Yorkshire coast, the UK. The 3.6 GW project is divided into three 1.2 GW phases: Dogger Bank A, Dogger Bank B, and Dogger Bank C.
Phases A and B are planned to be operational by 2024, and phase C will follow later with the operation date scheduled for 2026.
According to North Star’s Chief Strategy Officer Fraser Dobbie, the company will likely add more vessels serving offshore wind in the future.
”Renewables is a fast-growing market, and with the first trio of our SOVs being built and leased out for a decade, we are in a very strong position to expand our fleet and realize our full potential in this area. We have the capabilities to rapidly scale up our teams in Aberdeen, Lowestoft, and Newcastle to oversee future SOV and daughter craft newbuilds,” said Chief strategy officer at North Star, Fraser Dobbie.