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ATTRACTING INWARD INVESTMENT TO THE UK

History

SeAH, are a global leader in producing welded steel pipes for the energy markets, with over 60+ years of manufacturing experience leading to continuous expansion globally, owning steel pipe factories in South Korea, Vietnam, United States of America, UAE, and Italy.  SeAH are creating their newest adventure under SeAH Wind Limited, investing in the world’s largest bespoke XXL monopile factory, which will be located on the South Bank of the River Tees in the UK.

SeAH means “To Make the World beautiful” in Korean, but the journey to offshore wind lay in the foundations of oil and gas. The downturn of the oil and gas market in 2015 led SeAH in two directions. First, with the immediate need to feed the business with orders, and second, to re-consider the direction of the business which at that time was oil and gas centric.

Opportunity arose in the form of steel pipes for serial jackets, but this posed a technical challenge to prove SeAH’s capability and technical competence. SeAH’s capability was not in question, but our competence to meet the requirements, posed the largest challenges. Stringent welding standards, tighter traceability, QA, and HSE requirements required SeAH to invest in new certificates and upgraded systems. As a result, SeAH was able to secure a contract to supply bracing pipes for the East Anglia One project with both main fabricators in 2016. However, the question remained, how does SeAH continue to evolve, whilst delivering value, and relevance to our steel heritage?

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Achieving real buy-in from developers - going from the planning board to orders - requires trust, collaboration, and alignment on the bigger picture. Ørsted saw the ambition, scale, and similar corporate values with SeAH for our new factory. These along with a rigorous due diligence process allowed SeAH and Ørsted to sign an agreement to supply XXL monopiles to their Hornsea 3 project, which when complete will be the worlds largest single offshore wind farm.

Since then, SeAH has signed exclusive agreements on new offshore wind projects globally from other developers.

Summary

Looking back, we are now at our three-year anniversary from when we started our project, and there is still lots of work before we start hot production. In July 2022 we started construction work and held a ground-breaking ceremony, attended by a who’s who of offshore wind in the UK, with the chair of OWIC Danielle Lane from Vattenfall and Duncan Clark from Ørsted leading from the developer side. Without their continued support our board would never have been able to make our financial investment decision.

The future is bright - SeAH continues to secure orders in our traditional offshore wind market in the supply of steel to jackets. SeAH Wind Limited looks to book out full capacity from 2024 to 2027 in the coming months ahead, with plans to export our XXL monopiles around the world with a “Made in the UK” sticker, supported by a local supply chain who for the first time will have a XXL monopile foundations manufacture on their doorstep. In the coming months the SeAH Wind factory will be built guaranteeing jobs and certainty in the supply chain and establishing the business  as a market leading foundation supplier on the world stage.

COLLABORATING FOR GROWTH PLAYBOOK

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Offshore Wind Decision

A cautious approach was taken to assess the market, to build on our East Anglia One success. In 2019, this led to a task force being assembled internally. SeAH had secured several projects in Europe and APAC for serial jackets, and our owner wanted to understand the investment landscape to grow the business and move towards a more sustainable target market with larger and more consistent volumes.

Fortunately, timing was on our side, the UK left Europe, OWIC had committed to a sector deal to set an ambition to deliver 60% local content, seeking investment in four key categories (foundations being one), all backed by a then world leading target of 30GW of clean offshore wind energy in the UK by 2030. On top of this, our market intelligence was building, and with this in mind, a bespoke XXL monopile factory - the largest of its kind - was proposed for investment. This suited both SeAH in terms of our business profile and our changing aspirations, aligning with that of a buoyed market in both the UK and Europe. To coin a phrase taken from Lars Pedersen of COP, spoken at the IPF event in 2018, “if you want to be a success in offshore wind, you have to go big or go home”.

Finally, our aspirations and capabilities, along with our new design and layout from our veteran in-house engineers, were ready to be presented to our customers. Our first target, Ørsted - the largest offshore wind farm developer globally. Developing a clear value proposition led to an open and collaborative approach between Ørsted and SeAH, with deep technical discussions about the critical elements of a new factory. This process was repeated with similar success with Vattenfall, RWE, Equinor and Scottish Power Renewables, which has not only allowed SeAH to better understand our customers XXL monopile needs, but also to future proof our factory for decades to come.

SeAH Wind Investment

Our investment is currently sitting at £400m GBP.  No investment of this scale, when you have no local or continental footprint in the market, along with limited direct experience, happens without support. Timing was essential, the UK Government opened the Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Scheme (OWMIS) during the Covid-19 pandemic. One criteria was to provide evidence of support from existing or potential customers. We spoke with all the Contract for Difference (CfD) auction round 3, and CfD auction round 4 developers, as well as the main EPCI contractors. SeAH received a total of nine support letters. Those support letters did not guarantee our success, but validated the value proposition, which was offshore wind needs more suppliers, bigger components, and it needs them quickly.

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