United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Vessels supplier warns of 'overheated market'

UK: Isle of Wight-based Seacat Services has said the offshore wind vessels market is at risk of becoming "overheated", as it prepares for a busy Q4.

Seacat Services said offshore wind developers were facing a shortage of up-to-standard vessels (pic: Seacat Services / Timco Houkema)
Seacat Services said offshore wind developers were facing a shortage of up-to-standard vessels (pic: Seacat Services / Timco Houkema)

The crew transfer vessel (CTV) specialist, said it witnessed a busy October, with the number of charter days and transfers exceeding 2017 levels and remaining on par with the busy third quarter.

It said the vessels industry was facing an "atypical" fourth quarter and warned supply might not meet demand, which is something developers should be aware of.

"While record figures may sound wholly beneficial for Seacat Services and other market providers, it is also indicative of a wider vessel supply shortage that is already starting to cause a few challenges in build schedules and vessel pricing," said Ian Baylis, managing director of Seacat.

"This doesn't just mean that shipyards need to build more boats, it means that until the industry can meet the demand, there is limited redundancy.

"With little room for mistakes, should a vessel fail or require removing from operations for scheduled maintenance, it's something that should be of concern to project developers," Baylis added.

Seacat said a period of low demand for CTVs means suppliers have had to find business elsewhere.

It also added several larger vessels may now not be up to standard, given the progress of the industry, exacerbating the shortage.

"With timelines for project development incredibly important in the industry, as we drive to a lower levelised cost of energy, it's imperative that offshore developers start to provide the energy support vessel firms with longer term certainty to avoid similar scenarios in future.

"We've seen what boom and bust looks like in offshore oil and gas — there's a real opportunity to ensure we don't follow the same path in offshore wind," Baylis said.

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