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Ulstein wins key SOV design contract in China

Ulstein A render of Ulstein's Shanghai Electric SX195
Ulstein Design & Solutions has won a key contract to provide two designs for service operation vessels (SOVs) in China.

The first purpose-designed SOVs for the Chinese market will be built at Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries (ZPMC) for the Shanghai Electric Windpower Group.

The two designs feature Ulstein’s iconic X-Bows and X-Sterns, battery installations, and will have capacity for 60 and 100 persons on board, respectively. The designs have been developed with a close focus on operational capacity, capability, and economy, Ulstein said.

It is an important strategic development for the family-owned Norwegian firm. The company is well-established in the design and construction of offshore wind vessels in Europe, and has developed a Jones Act-compliant vessel for the nascent US market. But this is a critical moment in China’s offshore wind sector development as the country storms ahead of the UK, previously the world’s number one in offshore wind.

Data just released by China’s National Energy Administration reveals that almost 17 GW of new Chinese offshore wind capacity came on stream in 2021, taking the country’s total to 26 GW, almost half of the global 54 GW total. Experts have noted that China’s new capacity last year is more than the global total over the last five years.

Managing Director of Ulstein Design & Solutions, Runar Muren, stressed the importance of the deal. “The entry into the Chinese and US market, as well as Ulstein’s position in the European market, is not only a milestone for each market separately, but holistically a recognition of Ulstein’s capability in the offshore wind segment,” he declared.

Ma Chengbin is General Manager of Engineering Service Company at Shanghai Electric, which supplies more than half of the country’s wind turbines. “The choice for Ulstein design has been based on their market leadership, proven track record, and local presence,” he said. “Shanghai Electric is the leading provider of offshore wind turbines in China, and with these two world-class SOVs, we believe we can bring more values to our clients and provide a safer working environment to our colleagues at sea.”