North Star secures funding for hybrid SOV trio

Written by Nick Blenkey
Three vessels near wind turbine

One SOV will be built to 85 meter Vard 4 19 design and two to 78 meter Vard 4 12 design

Aberdeen, Scotland, based North Star Renewables reports that it has finalized a GBP 96 million (about $132 million) funding package to build its new fleet of three service operations vessels (SOVs).

North Star says that the secured loan from multi-national financial services organization Allianz Global Investors (AllianzGI), supplements its own balance sheet and equity commitments from its 100% shareholder, Basalt Infrastructure Partners, to fund the build of the three vessels, which are to be delivered to the Dogger Bank offshore wind farm on long term contracts of 10 years firm plus options. The deal is AllianzGI’s first investment in the SOV sector.

Back in April, Norwegian headquartered Fincantieri Group company Vard reported that it had secured contracts from North Star for the design and construction of three hybrid SOVs for the Dogger Bank contract. One of the vessels will be built to 85 meter x 19 meters Vard 4 19 design and the other two to 78 meters x 19 meters Vard 4 12 design.

“This investment from AllianzGI is a first for our industry and attracting project finance from such a well-respected, global investor demonstrates the confidence in our capabilities to deliver and operate our new SOVs which have been a transformational step for the company in terms of our energy transition,” said North Star CEO Matthew Gordon. “This is the beginning of a third phase for our business. North Star started out in the fisheries industry 135 years ago before diversifying into the oil and gas sector in the 1970s. Our new, unique SOV design has kick started this very exciting new chapter for the business in renewables and we plan continue building on this momentum. We are highly motivated and driven by our ability to innovate through our technology partners, and our ambition to deliver best-in-class vessel solutions for the offshore wind market in the UK and abroad.”

Marie Madelin who led the execution of the investment for AllianzGI commented: “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to work with North Star to invest 100% of the debt funding to finance the construction and operation of this fleet of sustainable state-of-the-art support vessels. The SOVs will be embedded in the Dogger Bank offshore wind farm’s O&M value chain while under long term charters to the project SPVs, thus playing a critical role in the U.K.’s energy transition. Our clients are enthusiastic funders of infrastructure investment globally which facilitates decarbonization. In this case, their capital will support North Star’s transition from predominantly servicing the oil and gas industry to servicing renewable energy generation. This investment adds to our growing portfolio of renewable energy and energy transition enabling infrastructure assets.”

The first of North Star’s SOVs are scheduled to arrive at Port of Tyne in Summer 2023.

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