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Ocean Winds partnering with Siemens Energy and Smulders to bring topsides fabrication work back to the UK at Smulders Projects UK yard in Newcastle.

Topsides to house the electrical equipment for the offshore transmission assets have, in the past, been fabricated in the UK.  The fully assembled offshore sub-stations (OSPs) are loaded onto a barge or heavy lift vessel for transport to the offshore wind farm for installation on pre-installed foundations.  Following a gap of several years topside fabrication, due to withdrawal from the market of several UK suppliers, work is being undertaken at the Smulders quayside yard at Wallsend, Newcastle on the lower Tyne. The yard has a long history of heavy steel fabrication and was acquired by Smulders in 2016 to fabricate jacket foundations for several offshore wind farms.

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Moray East topsides at Smulders yard in Hoboken, Belgium 2020

Previous successful collaboration between Ocean Winds and Smulders for the Moray East offshore wind farm had resulted in Smulders UK completing fabrication on 55 jacket foundations, with partial fabrication coming from the Smulders yard at Hoboken in Belgium. That positive relationship led to discussions between Ocean Winds and Smulders on how the Smulders UK facility and fabrication capability could be strengthened and harnessed on the Moray West project, to maintain and grow the fabrication offering from the UK.  The dialogue resulted in agreement to supply the two OSP topsides for the Moray West project from the Newcastle yard.

Smulders has been able to secure funds from the UK government through the Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Support scheme to install facilities and equipment for blast and paint works. The success with the Moray East contract and the prospects for the Moray West contract provided key confidence in the assessment of the Smulders application for funding.  Total investment in Smulders’ facilities has now reached £70m with up to 250 jobs supported as a result. These new facilities will be used on the Moray West topsides.   The combination of UK government and sector investment has built capability and capacity in the UK for future topsides to be fabricated from an established trusted supplier, thereby eliminating a gap in UK capability.  Successful track record on Moray West OSP topsides will further strengthen the ability of Smulders UK to secure fabrication contracts for the offshore wind sector.

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The fabrication of the steel framework will be followed by installation, commissioning and testing of the specialised containers housing the electrical equipment supplied by Siemens Energy.  The completed topsides will be loaded out from the Smulders quayside onto barges for towing to the project location in the Moray Firth, Scotland.


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