The new deal will follow in direct continuation of the vessel’s deployment at the Empire Wind farm in 2025, another Equinor/bp project, and will begin in 2028. The transactions appear to validate a new approach to the wind installation process developed by MSS for its first newbuilding dedicatad to offshore wind.
The WIV will remain on location to undertake installation work full time while new tugs and barges will transport turbine components to the offshore site. This approach, MSS claims, should enable a 30% increase in efficiency compared with traditional jack-up vessels. It means less dependence on the weather and enables the vessel to remain on station all year round.
To comply with the Jones Act, MSS is working with Kirby Offshore Wind which will provide tugs and barges to be built, flagged and manned in the US. Empire Wind is the first project in a 20-year framework agreement announced by the two companies in March. The Beacon Wind deal now means the new vessel will be fully committed through its early years.
The WIV is due to have its first steel cut at Sembcorp Marine, Singapore, in the last quarter of this year. It will be classed by ABS and have jacking units, load transfer system and crane supplied by NOV. MSS and Kirby Offshore Wind are looking at ways for the WIV, tugs, and barges to operate on climate-neutral fuels. Delivery into US waters is expected in 2025.
Jonas Munch Agerskov, Chief Commercial Officer at MSS, said: “With this new agreement, we have secured a stable start for our new Wind Installation Vessel. We are very pleased that Equinor and bp have shown us the trust to extend the award and look forward to future collaboration.”
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