April 3-5, 2018
Cox Business Center, Tulsa, OK
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Since 2009, this annual event has grown to be
the most comprehensive energy event in the
region. With a second consecutive year of support
from industry powerhouses PennEnergy, Oil &
Gas Journal, Oil & Gas Financial Journal, Oil &
Petrochem Equipment and Industrial Water World,
this year’s event is a must-attend experience for oil
and gas professionals nationwide.
Large project, offshore France. The company
will leverage its experience in developing and
installing mooring solutions and floating units
for oil and gas to develop a minimal footprint,
lightweight structure floater that lowers both
capital and operating expenses.
Belgian offshore service provider DEME
has also been busy offshore Europe. Its marine
engineering subsidiary GeoSea currently has
multiple offshore wind farm projects in various
stages of development in the waters off the
UK, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, and
Belgium. The work, which spans from one year
to 17 years, includes foundation transport and
installation, maintenance activities, EPCI for
plant and substation installation, and ongoing
crew transfers and supply logistics.
Developers are increasingly betting on the
long-term viability of offshore wind as a fully
competitive alternative to conventional power.
DONG Energy and German utility EnBW, for
example, both won bids in Germany’s inau-
gural offshore wind auction in April with bids
of zero. This means that the companies plan
to enter into contracts with third parties at
market rates, without the benefit of subsidies.
This emerging trend, coupled with the contin-
ued cost decline for capital projects, suggests
that Europe’s offshore wind market will help
keep heavy-lift contractors and other service
providers afloat for the foreseeable future.
in US waters
US offshore wind farm developments are
starting to take off, as coastal states seek
to add new forms of power production and
emulate offshore Europe’s wind power suc-cesses. These developments began with the
five-turbine, 30-MW Block Island wind farm
off the coast of Rhode Island, which started
delivering power to the New England grid in
early May of this year.
Several US Gulf Coast-based engineering
and construction firms contributed to the project, including Louisiana’s Keystone Engineer-
ing, which adapted an oil-platform design for
the turbine structures. Gulf Island Fabrication
Inc. made the foundation jackets for Block
Island, while Montco Offshore and Weeks
Marine mobilized installation equipment.
Much of this equipment was transported from
Louisiana to Rhode Island by barge.
This initial success is just the start of a
new wave of wind projects in US waters. The
Department of Energy estimates that 86 GW
of US offshore wind power will be added by
2050, generating more than 150,000 jobs in
the process. This is thanks in part to an eas-
ing of offshore permitting rules, dropping
construction costs, and tax incentives at the
federal and state levels.
However, wind farm developers still face
sizable challenges that they must overcome
to keep pace with these plans. For example,
higher labor costs up and down the Atlantic
coast, compared to those of some European
countries, have to be considered.
And, the push to bolster the nearly 100-year
old Jones Act, the maritime law enacted to pro-
tect US shipbuilding and transport between
US ports, could slow development by preventing non-US vessels and crews from working
on wind projects in American waters. In the
long term, however, tighter restrictions may
provide a competitive advantage to US-owned,
-built, and -crewed vessels.
The supply chain also needs to continue
advancing. Turbines and ancillary equipment
cannot continue to be sourced largely from the
US Gulf states. If service companies are to be
competitive in this growing market, they must
set up fabrication and distribution facilities on
the Atlantic coast, where much of the initial
wind farm development is taking place. •