Dry bulk shipowner Scorpio Bulkers on Monday announced it has signed a letter of intent to purchase a newbuild wind turbine installation vessel (WTIV) as a “first step in a transition towards a sustainable business in renewable energy”.
Scorpio said it expects to sign a $265-$290 million shipbuilding contract with South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) in the fourth quarter of 2020. The deal would include options for up to three additional vessels to potentially be delivered within the following 18 months.
The lead vessel, scheduled for delivery in 2023, would be a 148-meter NG-16000X self-propelled jackup design by National Oilwell Varco (NOV) subsidiary GustoMSC. The ship would be equipped with a 1500 leg encircling crane (LEC) from Huisman Equipment B.V., enabling it to install the largest wind turbines currently designed, at more than 185 meters above sea level, and in water depths in excess of 65 meters.
Scorpio, which announced its transition plans on the back of a loss-making second quarter, joins a number firms from the maritime and offshore oil and gas sectors looking to make the jump to an industry with significant growth potential. “[Offshore wind] is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of over 15% for the next decade. There is a growing shortage of vessels that can install and maintain next-generation turbines core to this growth,” the company said in a statement.
“Scorpio Bulkers is embarking on a new and exciting journey. The world urgently needs to reduce emissions, and offshore wind will make a pivotal contribution,” said Scorpio’s chairman and CEO, Emanuele A. Lauro.
“This strategic direction now aligns with our future customers, investors, finance providers and the growing momentum in global public policy,” Lauro continued. “At the same time, the board of directors carefully considered this project and believes that this transition will result in higher and more predictable shareholder returns in a structural growth market. Our transition has begun.
“We are fully committed to this new direction as an area of significant value creation for our shareholders and alignment with our multiple stakeholders.”