North Star Renewables has finalized a funding package of £96 million to build a marine offshore infrastructure support service vessel fleet in the U.K.
The secured loan from Allianz Global Investors (AllianzGI) supplements North Star’s own balance sheet and equity commitments from its 100% shareholder, Basalt Infrastructure Partners, to fund the build of three new service operations vessels (SOVs). They will be delivered to the Dogger Bank offshore wind farm on long-term contracts of 10 years firm plus options.
Once completed, Dogger Bank will become the world’s largest offshore wind farm, capable of powering six million British homes. It is currently under construction by joint-venture partners Equinor, SSE Renewables and Eni. The contract with Dogger Bank will create 130 long-term jobs in Scotland and the northeast of England during the operations phase of the wind farm.
North Star’s SOVs are high-performance, sustainable vessels capable of supporting net-zero goals. They provide comfortable, floating-hotel style accommodation to offshore wind turbine technicians and a centralized logistics hub to travel to and from work each day across a “walk-to-work” gangway, or transfer via a smaller daughter craft vessel. The SOV is also configured to handle cargo and act as a warehouse.
The first of North Star’s SOVs are scheduled to arrive at Port of Tyne in summer 2023.
“This investment from AllianzGI is a first for our industry and attracting project finance from such a well-respected, global investor demonstrates the confidence in our capabilities to deliver and operate our new SOVs which have been a transformational step for the company in terms of our energy transition,” states North Star CEO Matthew Gordon.
“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,” adds Fraser Dobbie, North Star’s chief strategy officer. “We have the capabilities to rapidly scale up our teams in Aberdeen, Lowestoft and Newcastle to oversee future SOV and daughter craft newbuilds. And with more than 40 years’ experience of supporting North Sea installations, we have a very talented pool of experienced seafarers to draw upon.”
North Star Renewables is part of North Star Group, which also comprises North Star Shipping and Boston Putford. As well as providing continuous infrastructure support services across more than 50 U.K. continental shelf installations, the group also provides vessel maintenance services.