Spanish yards have long built large numbers of offshore support vessels for the oil and gas sector, but with the market in a downturn, they are searching for alternatives
Whenever we have looked at the Spanish market, there has usually been a steady stream of platform supply vessels or emergency response and rescue vessels (ERRVs) built at yards in the country about which to report. Sadly, all that has changed. September 2016 saw North Star Shipping in the UK take delivery of Grampian Freedom, a newbuild ERRV built at Astilleros Balenciaga shipyard, but there have been no deliveries since then and no new orders for offshore vessels for Spanish yards – or yards elsewhere – to report in a long time.
“The offshore oil and gas market is absolutely and completed depressed,” a representative of one well known shipyard told OSJ. “Everyone is trying to diversify into new markets. Everyone is looking at renewables, of course, but also at any other market in which they might secure a toe hold.
“Everyone is trying to get through the same door all at once,” said Daniel Scavuzzo, commercial manager at Gondán, which has built offshore support vessels for leading owners such as Østensjø Rederi and Simon Møkster Shipping in the past. “This means that prices for vessels for the renewables market, such as service operation vessels (SOVs), are coming under intense pressure, because everyone in that supply chain knows that yards really need orders.”
Gondán has successfully diversified into other markets, including SOVs. Mr Scavuzzo said there had not been many enquiries for SOVs in the first part of 2017, but he was anticipating more later this year. On 27 April 2017, Gondán launched Edda Passat, the first of two SOVs it is building for Østensjø Rederi, which has itself diversified into renewables in the form of offshore wind. Both SOVs are being built to the UT 540 WP design by Rolls-Royce Marine. They will be equipped with an Uptime 23 m heave compensated walk-to-work gangway, a 3D motion compensated crane and a crew transfer vessel handling system with bunkering facility. In addition to the gangway, an 11 m daughter craft will allow for the safe transfer of maintenance technicians to offshore wind turbines. Once completed, the first vessel will be chartered to Dong Energy. The first is due to be delivered in late 2017 and the second in August 2018.
As highlighted above, Balenciaga recently completed a series of ERRVs for North Star Shipping. It has built a large number of vessels for that customer. Two other Spanish shipyards, HJ Barreras and Navantia, were awarded contracts by Pemex, Mexico’s state oil company, for the construction of two offshore accommodation vessels back in 2014, but autumn 2016 saw the first, built by Barreras, completed and departing for Mexico. The second, at Navantia, started sea trials in late September. The Barreras-built unit Reforma is 131 m in length with a beam of 27 m and has cabins to accommodate more than 700 people. With a deadweight of 7,000 tonnes, the vessel has a service speed of 12 knots and has diesel-electric machinery based on six main generators, each of 2,700 kW at 900 rpm. The accommodation vessel has two electro-hydraulic deck cranes, each of 15 tonnes at 20 m, and a working deck area of 1,000 m2 strengthened to 5 tonnes/m2. The DP3 class vessel has tanks for 2,300 m3 of fuel oil, 100 m3 of lubricating oil, freshwater capacity of 1,900 m3 and ballast water capacity of 4,300 m3.
Navantia has also diversified successfully into the offshore wind sector, but not into building ships. As highlighted in Offshore Wind Journal, Navantia has built up a successful business building structures for the offshore wind industry and has won a slew of contracts thanks to its facilities, willingness to invest and close working relationship with companies such as Windar, which is already well known in the industry. Earlier this year, Siemens Wind Power awarded a contract to a joint venture between Navantia and Windar to construct three-legged jacket foundations and piles for four SWT-7.0-154 offshore wind turbines for a demonstration project off the coast of Denmark. Nissum Bredning Vindmøllelaug and Jysk Energi are developing the project, which is supported by the Danish Ministry of Energy. It will be used to test a number of new offshore wind technologies.
In April 2017, the company loaded out the first spars for Statoil and Masdar’s Hywind Scotland floating offshore wind demonstration project. The spars were built at Navantia’s Fene shipyard in Spain.