The UK’s Global Energy Group (GEG) has formed a joint venture (JV) with Italian oil & gas construction giant Rosetti Marino with an eye on the fast-approaching market for offshore substations as North Sea wind fleet expands, along with oil & gas platform electrification projects, Recharge can reveal.

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The tie-up, a five-year deal with extension options, expects to coordinate use of the GEG-owned Nigg fabrication yard in Scotland with Rossetti’s construction facilities in Ravenna harbour on the Adriatic, to manufacture large steel structures from towers to floating platforms for upcoming UK tenders, key to the British government’s target of have 40GW of offshore wind capacity online by 2040 along with developing a domestic supply chain to support the build-out.

“One of the biggest issues facing developers for [the coming UK Round 3 and 4 offshore wind tenders] is that they are being forced to supply UK content claims and they are struggling to determine how they’ll do it,” said Tim Cornelius, CEO of GEG, speaking exclusively to Recharge. “There has been a lot of ‘offshoring’ of the work to-date.

“It became patently obvious [in the run-up to the UK leaving the EU] that there was going to be a shift in legislation toward a slightly more pro-UK, protectionist policy angle that was going to look at things like the introduction of mandatory content targets.

“But unless you have the capability to manufacture large pieces of kit in the UK… . This deal with Rossetti can answer that need.”

The JV will have a bifocal approach to its orderbook off the UK, with power-from-shore and offshore electrification of late-life oil & gas fields seen as key commercial targets, as well as the longer-horizon floating wind play, a s the emergence of utility-scale deepwater projects take shape.

“There are two discrete routes to market for us: the utopian solution is floating wind linked directly to [oil & gas] platforms but more immediately more likely taking onshore power from the grid and replacing diesel generation offshore to decarbonise,” said Cornelius, who came into the top job at GEG from tidal power pioneer Simec Atlantis Energy a fortnight ago.

“We are in live conversation with several oil companies about using this model for their assets. These projects are important first steps.”

“The UK continental shelf has the potential to make a deep and meaningful impact on the UK’s overall net zero target. Sharing existing expertise and infrastructure from the oil & gas industry with the offshore wind industry will be integral in the development of a world class supply chain to support developers and owners of large-scale UK projects.”

The JV has the ambition of “as many as three” major orders “in the near term from Round 3 and 4”, Cornelius added, with Scotland's upcoming ScotWind round also in the crosshairs, with Holyrood having raised its sights on the country’s 2030 offshore wind power build-out, setting an 11GW goal as part its wider national green recovery and decarbonisation strategies.

Recharge revealed exclusively late last year that GEG was closing in on a final decision over redevelopment of the Nigg yard into what would be the UK’s largest offshore wind fabrication facility, a giant 35,000m3 steel-rolling hall that would ultimately manufacture up-to-100 towers, jackets and floating platforms a year.