Clarksons Platou has consolidated its renewables experts into a dedicated global division to provide shipbroking, market intelligence and commercial services for the rapidly growing offshore renewables market.
The division, with specialists in London, Aberdeen, Oslo, Houston, Singapore, Shanghai and soon Hamburg, is the outcome of a strategic review underway since the merger of Clarksons PLC and RS Platou ASA in 2015. The company is the worlds largest vessel broker with almost 1,400 staff in 49 offices located across 21 countries worldwide.
The review identified a gap in the offshore renewables market for global broking services that could match developers and their suppliers with the right mix of vessels to reduce risk and increase value throughout a windfarms lifecycle. The gap has emerged as the global offshore wind market has grown, with a solid stream of projects expanding in size and scale, complexity and geographic spread.
Almost 12 gigawatts (GW) of offshore projects are scheduled for construction in Europe between now and 2020, and the development pipeline currently totals 24.2 GW. While more than 90 per cent of the worlds installed offshore wind capacity is in Europe, governments globally have set ambitious targets for offshore wind with markets starting to take off in China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the US, where Clarksons Platou is already well placed. This forecast for growth means demand for installation, accommodation and support vessels, jack-ups, barges and all associated vessels is set for a steady upswing, said the broker.
Clarksons Platous divisional director offshore renewables, Frederik Colban-Andersen, said the size and scale of todays offshore wind projects has created operational and contractual complexities that are comparable to northern European oil and gas projects.
Windfarms under construction now dwarf those built just 10 years ago. They are multi-billion pound investments, sited in deeper water and further from shore, cover far greater areas and comprise more and larger turbines, he explained. Vessels make up a significant percentage of a windfarms lifetime costs, so identifying requirements early can not only save money, it also reduces exposure to risk. Buying cheap can mean buying twice, so investing more upfront in a vessel portfolio that is fit for purpose will save money in the long run, but to do that clients have to be confident in the intelligence and advice they are given.
Clarksons Platou has been working in the background with offshore renewables since 2003, providing developers, vessel operators and shipyards with market analysis, vessel broking and contracting, first on the UKs Round 1 and since then on strategies and procurement for windfarms in Denmark, the UK and Germany.
Creating a dedicated renewables division is a logical next step given both the potential of the offshore wind market and the fact we are uniquely positioned to meet its needs, said Mr Colban-Andersen. We have an unparalleled mix of offshore wind experts able to tap into the expertise of a company with a 40-year pedigree in oil and gas, a 160-year maritime heritage and a complete overview of the global vessel market. This includes access to the diversified investment banking arm, Clarksons Platou Securities with its extensive research capability, understanding of the global maritime sectors and ability to advise on equity and debt capital markets and mergers and acquisitions.
The increasingly interdependent relationship between the maturing offshore wind market and the oil and gas sector was in part also the impetus for the launch of Clarksons Platous renewables division.
Beyond their harsh marine environments, and being in the business of harvesting energy and getting it to the people, both sectors require bespoke technically-advanced vessels today and at the same time need to understand where their suppliers are likely to be in the future, Mr Colban-Andersen explained.
Clarksons Platou has also brought in David Matthews, formerly with Fred Olsen Windcarrier, to steer business development for the division, which will target work within the wave and tidal sectors as well as offshore wind. At least 20 distinct vessel types with vastly differing capabilities are employed over a windfarms lifetime, many requiring complex new technologies such as the walk-to-walk systems on service operations vessels, and super cranes able to install the next generation of turbines, said Mr Andersen.
The company has already assisted offshore renewables clients source all these vessel types from around the globe to support their North Sea activities but with the new division it is set to cement its place as the leading partner to the industry. Clients already respect the companys capability and reach and will see the added value of having a network of renewables specialists on hand with the breadth of knowledge required to source vessels and provide strategic input that will reduce both cost and risk.