Ship manager Wilhelmsen Ship Management is bringing its skills and expertise acquired in the shipping sector to the offshore wind industry
Wilhelmsen Ship Management is a long-established and well-known player in the market for third-party ship management services. It provides shipowners with a range of services, including technical management, crew management, risk management and systems, vessel accounting and procurement services. Now, working in collaboration with NSG Wind – a subsidiary of NorSea Group, in which it became a majority shareholder in September 2017 – it is moving into the offshore wind energy sector.
Wilhelmsen is not a total newcomer to the offshore wind market. In late 2014, ABB entrusted it with the marine management of what was then the world’s largest offshore wind platform, DolWin Beta. Here the company’s involvement was primarily in the installation and commissioning phase. Now, however, with NSG Wind, it has moved into managing inservice platforms too, applying the same skills and expertise there as it has long done in the shipping industry, as Haakon Lenz, vice president, EU & Americas, and Carl Schou, president of ship management at Wilhelmsen, explained in an exclusive interview with OWJ.
Mr Lenz was instrumental in securing Wilhelmsen Ship Management’s first major foray into the offshore wind segment and is the company’s subject matter expert for offshore wind. Speaking to OWJ in March, Mr Lenz and Mr Schou described a deal recently struck by NSG Wind and Wilhelmsen Ship Management that will see the companies provide technical maintenance for transmission system operator TenneT’s offshore and onshore transformer stations and AC electricity transmission systems until 2022.
Wilhelmsen Ship Management and NSG Wind have observed the offshore wind market become one of the leading sources of renewable energy. Mr Schou believes that by combining their expertise, the companies can provide asset owners in the offshore wind industry with a service of the type that Wilhelmsen has long-provided in the shipping industry. Well known in the offshore oil and gas industry as a provider of supply bases and logistics solutions, NorSea Group has been expanding into renewable energy. Collaboration between NSG Wind and Wilhelmsen Ship Management has been ongoing since NSG Wind was established in 2016, and NSG Wind is expanding its office and manpower in Hamburg to increase proximity to clients and gain a foothold in the German market.
Under the new contract with TenneT, NSG Wind will provide its network and project management experience and Wilhelmsen Ship Management will be responsible for technical maintenance on components in the grid connection system, including secondary and auxiliary systems and procurement.
As Mr Lenz and Mr Schou explained, the offshore and onshore transformer stations will be maintained in accordance with a reliability-centred maintenance philosophy. Wilhelmsen will also carry out several digital initiatives as part of the project. Among them are structural inspections using drones and developing a 3D model of the transformer stations to increase diagnostic accuracy.
Using drones to make digital records of its assets will enhance the efficiency with which TenneT can monitor – and maintain – its offshore platforms, Mr Lenz explained, an approach that other offshore operators are also understood to be examining, with the need for operational efficiencies and cost-savings uppermost in mind.
Mr Schou and Mr Lenz noted that, as offshore windfarms are built further from shore, so the need for cost-effective maintenance strategies is growing. The approach that NSG Wind and Wilhelmsen Ship Management are pioneering in the frame agreement with TenneT will help to optimise maintenance regimes for far-offshore windfarms. As the number of far-offshore windfarms grows, they believe, so demand for the kind of services they are providing to TenneT will increase.
“We bring a long history of providing shipowners with cost-efficient ways to manage their assets,” Mr Schou concluded. “Now we are utilising the same model in offshore wind to provide efficiency gains and help to reduce costs.”
New management solution brought to market
Independent wind asset operations management specialist OutSmart is working with Kongsberg Digital to develop an integrated management system for the wind industry. The sophisticated digital solution will be used to manage OutSmart’s extensive onshore and offshore wind turbine portfolio and will use Kongsberg Digital’s Kognifai digital platform and ecosystem.
OutSmart currently operates more than 400 onshore and offshore wind and solar assets in Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK and provides services to windfarm owners, fund managers and wind project companies in northwest Europe to maximise revenues from their assets. It is part of Deutsche Windtechnik Offshore and Consulting with which it shares a common digital platform providing data storage and data security for the asset owner. The new applications the companies are developing will rationalise the operations of OutSmart and its clients and provide access to tools including advanced analytics to optimise performance and reduce operational costs for the assets.
OutSmart’s head of operations Remco Streppel said he believed the new system that these applications will form “is the logical next step in dealing with growing complexity and cost pressure in renewables” and will provide a step-change in productivity and situational awareness. “The integration of all data into one system offers better analytic insights and makes reporting more efficient,” he said.
Start-up secures approval from LRQA
Start-up RanaWorks has received ISO and OHSAS certification less than three months after opening for business. The certificates for ISO-9001:2015, ISO-14001:2015 and OHSAS-18001:2007 were awarded by Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance (LRQA). “This means that we can now execute our vision for servicing the offshore energy market,” said RanaWorks general manager, Philip Woodcock.
Rotterdam-based RanaWorks was formed to introduce innovative solutions for the inspection, maintenance and repair of offshore infrastructure in northern Europe.
Its concept of operations revolves around the seamless integration of underwater and topside services, which it believes will generate operational and economic efficiencies.
RanaWorks’ founders can draw on 80 years of experience and expect to kick off its first offshore operations shortly. “A large number of projects are already being prepared,” explained RanaWorks’ commercial manager Rutger Lieverse. “The market is very optimistic about our concept so we are upbeat about our future.”
RanaWorks plans to provide integrated solutions for inspection, maintenance and repair using remotely operated vehicles, divers and personnel trained in working at height and rope access throughout the lifetime of an offshore asset.
Distributed sensor systems can reduce downtime
Synaptec, a start-up with roots in the University of Strathclyde, has launched distributed instrumentation technology that its developers claim can significantly reduce operating costs by automating the response to faults in subsea cables.
The first product based on the technology, Refase, was designed to reduce the outage and repair costs caused by faults in cables.
Synaptec said the technology can be used to monitor cables up to 100 km offshore, collating information about their electrical performance from up to 50 different locations. The technology is said to be ‘smart’ and small enough to distinguish which section of cable has failed.
The company said Refase can recognise faults in a specific cable in milliseconds and can significantly reduce response times, repair costs, asset damage and income loss.