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A large concentration of installation vessels in Europe, indicating that installation activity in Europe and US will increase going forward.

The vessel market is ramping up as more vessels are present in Europe. Soon these vessels will be installing foundations and turbines on both sides of the Atlantic. However, availability is low especially for the competitive fleet which is in this case the vessels able to install heavy foundations and the latest generation of turbines.

The dedicated turbine installation vessels for the offshore wind market are the jack up fleet. Yet, jack ups cannot be excluded from other types of work within offshore wind as they are highly versatile vessels. Nevertheless, these vessels remain best suited to turbine installation.

European competitive jack up inventory:

The foundation installation market represents a broader range of vessel types where the choice could be between heavy lift vessels, jack ups, or barges for the job, but the platform chosen depends on the foundation type for the project as well as the crane capabilities and other equipment. The principal challenge for the foundation installation is the heavy weight of some of these monopiles. Few jack ups able to lift these XXL monopiles while few heavy lift vessels are equipped with a motion compensation gripper.

European committed offshore wind foundation installation inventory:

The vulnerability of the offshore wind fleet is caused by the lack of dedicated offshore wind installation vessels which are capable of installing heavy foundations. Some vessels with high lifting capability from oil and gas which are still playing a vital role in the offshore wind market. However, the market can’t rely on these vessels to be available for offshore wind contracts now that oil and gas activities have picked up. Moreover, additional equipment is required to be efficient in monopile installation, which the O&G vessels don’t have, which largely limits these vessels to the installation of jackets and pin piles. In addition to heavy lift vessels from oil and gas there are older vessels from offshore wind that can do piling work, maintenance, hook up etc. However, their limitation is their equipment.

European fleet diversity:

Overall, the main fleet in Europe that is dedicated to offshore wind will be the vessels displayed in the two first tables. These vessels are committed to offshore wind as well as being best suited for the installation work for upcoming projects which will take place in Europe and US. The Achilles heel is that these vessels are in short supply which will lead to that capacity being booked up quickly. More newbuild vessels are due to come over the next few years, yet looking at the current order book demand will continue to exceed the supply.


Image credit: Seajacks

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