Ampelmann : Where Offshore Wind and Oil & Gas meet




Putting the Offshore Wind and Oil & Gas (O&G) industries in the same pot often creates a contrasting image: clean vs. dirty, green vs. black, new vs. old. A lot can be said about them being opposites.


While that may seem true at first glance, the two have more in common than meets the eye.

There is at least one industry segment where Offshore Wind and O&G are already benefitting from each other. In the Walk to Work (W2W) market, the two industries are working together to make offshore access in rough sea conditions safer and ever more efficient.

This collaboration was initially driven by the commercial pressure of dropping oil prices in 2014 on many construction vessel owners, who were seeking to utilise their highly-specialised vessels in the offshore wind sector. The wind sector welcomed them as, for the first time, highly capable assets were affordable to be used for the transfer and accommodation of personnel.

Testing this transfer method on a wider scale showed that W2W is a safe and efficient alternative to conventional offshore accommodation and transfer methods. This is especially true for tasks such as turbine commissioning, inter-array cable installations and personnel and cargo transfers in higher sea states.

After gaining this insight and following the demand of big industry players like Siemens, Ørsted or Vestas for safe and reliable year-round maintenance, a whole new vessel type was introduced to the market – the Service Operation Vessel (SOV).

Several shipowners, traditionally only active in the O&G sector, took the chance and offered newly-built, tailor-made vessels or conversions to fulfil this demand against long-term charter contracts.

Yet, it is not just the shipowners that can benefit from the exchange of knowledge and experience. The safety of the offshore workers – essentially the most important assets – is improving significantly, too.

While crew transfer operations in the North Sea’s O&G sector have been mainly conducted by helicopters, which are statistically a very safe method of transferring personnel, in many other regions of the world, swing roping, bump-and-jump or baskets are still common methods of offshore access.

After the extensive W2W experience gained in the renewables sector over the last years, Ampelmann – as the leading provider for motion compensated gangway systems, has noticed an increasing demand from the O&G sector in 2018.

While W2W has been embraced by most key stakeholders in the Offshore Wind sector, it is still to gain more ground in O&G operations. It is largely in the hands of offshore access providers like Ampelmann to not only maintain, but also continuously improve the safety and efficiency standards of the two industries.

Tim Börner
Business Development Manager – Offshore Wind Europe, Ampelmann