Transitioning oil & gas contractor Saipem has locked up a €460m ($555m) deal to deliver and install the foundations for the 450MW Calvados offshore wind farm being developed off France by the EDF-led Eoliennes Offshore du Calvados (EODC) consortium.

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The order, for 64 steel monopiles and their transition pieces, is subject to a final investment decision on the project by EODC, which along with EDF Renewables includes Enbridge-subsidiary EIH and Wpd.

“The award of this contract further confirms [out] commitment in the scenario of energy evolution and, in particular, in the construction of offshore green energy hubs,” said Stefano Porcari, chief operating officer of Saipem’s E&C Offshore division.

“It also recognises [our] ability to add value in the execution of projects of extraordinary complexity.”

Saipem will fabricate the foundations for the project “in Europe”, said the contractor, and install them using its S3000 crane vessel.

The Calvados – formerly Courseulles-sur-Mer – project site is located 16km off the coast of the west of France in water depths ranging from 22-31 metres.

In 2019, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy snatched away 1GW of orders from GE Renewable Energy, with plans to deliver batches of its 7MW SWT-7.0-154 DD turbines under a framework agreement for two of the three wind farms first tendered almost a decade ago.

France’s offshore wind sector has been slow to take off following first auctions for bottom-fixed arrays held in 2012 and 2014, as projects were delayed by permitting snags and a number of legal challenges that mean none of the nation's first commercial projects has yet been completed.

In a second wave of tenders, a 600MW zone off Dunkirk was auctioned off last year, with a 1GW off Normandy to follow, along with rounds planned for 250MW of floating wind off Brittany and two more in 2022 in the Mediterranean Sea.