Norway’s state-owned export credit guarantee agency GIEK is actively seeking offshore wind related new business worldwide as part of its mandate to bolster the participation of Norwegian exporters in the growing, but capital-intensive, sector.
The agency’s focus has traditionally been oil and gas and shipbuilding followed by fisheries and aquaculture, but it has quadrupled its offshore wind portfolio to NOK 4.2 billion ($453 million) since the end of last year.it has widened its mission to include offshore wind, and more generally banks and investors participating in large international energy-infrastructure projects.
“Offshore wind is really gaining momentum and is a great example of how we can actively help Norwegian industry rechannel by opening the door to new markets for existing wind expertise and other companies looking to extend their reach into green technology,” says GIEK chief executive Wenche Nistad.
“By choosing a Norwegian supplier you can count on receiving good financing from GIEK in support of the purchase,” she says, highlighting recent contracts won by companies such as Nexans Norway, Aibel and Fred Olsen Windcarriers.
GIEK’s core offering are AAA-rated guarantees for long-term loan financing, as well as contractual delivery guarantees that protect both buyers and suppliers in case of default.
The triple A-rated instruments are a key tool in reducing the cost of project financing, says Nistad. “We work together with commercial banks to share project risk, so loans will be repaid,” she says, Customers pay risk premium on competitive commercial terms.
Offshore wind promises to be a winner for Norwegian suppliers looking to maximize new opportunities in a changing energy landscape – and as activity in offshore oil and gas is projected to slacken after 2020 amid a lack of big new finds.
MAJOR CONTRACTS FOR NORWEGIAN SUPPLIERS
Toward the end of last year, GIEK providing service delivery guarantees totaling NOK 1.3 billion (about $142,2 million) that enabled Norwegian supplier Aibel to clinch two big European contracts. In February, it stepped in with a third guarantee package of an equal amount, this time on behalf of Fred Olsen Windcarrier for a project in Asia. Just in recent weeks it provided guarantee coverage amounting to around NOK 1.6 billion (about $175 million) that helped cables specialist Nexans Norway secure a major contract with the Seagreen offshore wind farm under development off Scotland.
In terms of risk capital, GIEK financing serves to extend the capacity of banks. “We can provide guarantees to anyone involved in putting together a wind project, and we are very competitive compared to what is available internationally,” Nistad says.“We don’t calculate an amount based on a mathematical model. The rule of thumb is basically, the more you consider buying from Norway, the more you can count on getting guarantees from GIEK.”