Yesterday, Jan De Nul Group’s Les Alizés passed the Red Sea, and headed to Europe. The vessel is ahead of the pack of next-gen WTIVs scheduled to enter the offshore wind industry in the coming years.
The global fleet of heavy-lift jack-ups will increase consistently by three to four units per year until 2027. In the last quarter alone, three newbuilds - Jan De Nul’s Voltaire, Shimizu’s Blue Wind and Penta Ocean’s CP-16001 – set off from their shipyards for sea trials or outfitting.
The next deliveries to come include Seaway Ventus, Charybdis, Boreas among others. Early announcements from new players indicate that there is appetite in the market for still more vessels to be introduced. However, as it stands, the schedule of confirmed deliveries for these next-gen WTIVs ends in 2027, beyond which we have yet to see any firm construction contracts.
A new wave of installation vessel deliveries comes a decade after the previous one and features significantly larger crane sizes. As offshore wind turbines are becoming greater in size, requirements for WTIV are also increasing. Chinese turbine manufacturers are proposing growingly impressive models. CTG's Zhangpu Liuao 2 offshore wind farm, which entered construction last week, will feature a mix of turbines that involves a batch of seven 16 MW models from Goldwind. In jack-ups, the median crane size among firm orders is 2500t, to be compared with top capacities of 1500-1600t for vessels built in the mid-2010s.
However, now that eyes are turning to supply chain and infrastructure bottlenecks, another gap in deliveries could follow again after 2027. Given the difficult conjuncture, companies were not keen to take unnecessary risks by signing new vessel orders in 2022 – with Eneti even scrapping its Jones Act WTIV plans.
Still, we expect demand for offshore wind installations to catch up with the vessel supply in less than five years. The industry has realized that the enormous 2030 capacity targets in the European Union and the United States will likely not be met.
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