MEMBER NEWS: North Star to deliver SOV three months early to support Dogger Bank Wind Farm construction & commissioning phase

July 7, 2023
MEMBER NEWS: North Star to deliver SOV three months early to support Dogger Bank Wind Farm construction & commissioning phase

North Star’s second hybrid-propulsion service operation vessels (SOVs) is set to be mobilised three months earlier than planned to support SSE Renewables with a new scope of work at the Dogger Bank Wind Farm.

The firm’s first of its new offshore wind fleet, the Grampian Tyne, was blessed last month (June) at an event held at the Dogger Bank O&M base in Port of Tyne. The second SOV, the Grampian Derwent, which is a larger ship with increased accommodation capacity and helideck, has recently been delivered to North Star in Vietnam.

The new award with SSE Renewables will see the UK’s leading infrastructure vessel support firm aiding the construction and commissioning stage at the initial phase of the wind farm’s development, located 130km off the east Yorkshire coast. This will allow the ships to then dovetail straight into their scheduled long-term charters to carry out operations and maintenance (O&M) related in field vessel activities for the development partners. The wind farm is a joint venture between SSE Renewables (40%), Equinor (40%) and Vårgrønn (20%), North Star has a proven track record of successfully building multiple vessels simultaneously on time and on budget. The 135-year-old business also has a robust £127 million finance package in place to fund its Dogger Bank SOV fleet newbuild programme, which will result in four of its hybrid-electric ships being operational in field by 2026, each on a 10-year minimum term charter agreement.

Michael Gordon, North Star commercial director, said: “Winning this new scope of work at Dogger Bank – our first in construction and commissioning – is part of our focus to be a true value add service partner. We are extremely proud to be recognised as a dependable operator delivering these vessels to the project ahead of schedule during a market which is finding significant supply chain issues cascading throughout the SOV sector. Achieving this is testament to the hard work and dedication of our 130-strong shoreside team and carefully selected shipyard.

“We believe we are leading the way in delivering ships without any delays to add further operational excellence and efficiencies to our clients. We have a tried and tested newbuild strategy in place through which we are delivering not only a leading vessel design, but a fully qualified complement of experienced crew to deliver the service we pride ourselves in.”

North Star employs around 1,300 personnel out of its facilities in Aberdeen, Newcastle and Lowestoft, and has unrivalled marine expertise in the North Sea. Its high performance, sustainable SOV design supports net-zero goals. These ships provide hotel-quality accommodation to offshore wind turbine technicians and a centralised logistics hub in field. It is also configured to handle cargo and act as a warehouse.

The Grampian Derwent is a larger iteration of the three other VARD designed newbuilds secured as part of the biggest SOV contract ever awarded in the UK. This second ship boasts an increased warehouse capacity and ability to accommodate 50 client technicians compared to 40 personnel on the other fleet tonnage. The vessel is also equipped with a 17m helideck and larger 5Te capacity 3D crane for offshore lifting. The digital suite of tools and North Star’s unique Decision Support Software will also be utilised and provide feedback and learnings to the project with regards to operational tracking, KPI’s and improving emissions.

North Star has also begun work on the construction of its first two commissioning SOVs, after awarding the contract to VARD in Norway in May. This will see the two firms collaborate on up to four of its uniquely designed ships specifically tailored for this growth market.

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AREG is the original energy transition organisation, working on behalf of members to empower the energy supply chain and champion its expertise. Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like to find out more about membership.

AREG has played an important role in the growth of Scotland’s renewable energy sector, engaging the supply chain and developing the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. However, we are only at the very beginning of the transition that AREG was established to both lead and support so there are still opportunities for companies to get into the constantly evolving renewables supply chain. We look forward to continuing our work together as renewables builds on its place as Scotland’s main source of power, and as we seek to deliver real change in the crucial areas of heat and transport.

Scottish Renewables

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce has worked closely with AREG since its formation. The recent progress in the developments of offshore wind projects by Equinor and Vattenfall are as a result of the work of the group over many years. The north-east is known as the oil and gas capital of Europe. At the Chamber, we believe the region must evolve its position to being recognised as the energy capital. Whilst hydrocarbons will continue to be essential in driving our economy for years to come, the generation of renewable resources will play an increasingly important role in providing cost-effective power, innovative development and economic growth.

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce

The enthusiasm and dedication of the early group that would become AREG was fundamental in us choosing to launch All-Energy in Aberdeen. The first tiny show was held in 2001, and AREG’s Chairman at the time, Jeremy Cresswell, played such an active role that I often describe him in terms such as All-Energy’s ‘midwife’. All-Energy is now the UK’s largest renewable and low carbon energy exhibition and conference in terms of number of attendees, space booked, and number of exhibiting companies. As AREG became firmly established, their presence and support for the event grew spectacularly over the years. We thank them most sincerely for their invaluable input.


Vattenfall has forged a strong working relationship with AREG through the development of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. AREG has worked tirelessly on behalf of the North East and it can take enormous credit for the growth of sustainable energy in the region and the path it has cleared for the region to capture further investment.


Aberdeen City and Shire is emerging as a key location for renewables by successfully transferring its world-class oil and gas expertise into the sector and AREG has done much to advance this through a broad range of initiatives. It has acted as a catalyst in driving further investment in the local economy by engaging with companies, Government, public bodies and existing projects and we have been pleased to support their efforts. Scottish Enterprise will continue to engage with AREG as we increase Scotland’s use of renewable energy.

Scottish Enterprise