Leadership in Scotland's Booming Offshore Wind Industry
Firm base for business - FoundOcean expands and demonstrates impressive growth
Scotland has developed as a global hub of innovation, investment and expertise in both offshore renewables and oil & gas sectors. The renewables sector, particularly offshore wind, is a key market for FoundOcean, a Scottish-based company with over 45 years’ experience in offshore grouting and subsea services for offshore energy construction clients.
The company has recently experienced record turnover and growth. Revenue has grown by 100% over the last two years and FoundOcean has made the transition from 40 people in 2009 to 100 and beyond. In March 2012, Fergus Ewing, Scottish Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism officially, opened FoundOcean's newly refurbished offices and workshop at the Offshore Service Base in Livingston, Scotland. The event was attended not only by clients and suppliers but also by industry stakeholders such as RenewableUK's CEO Maria McCaffery.
The expansion of the Livingston Offshore Service Base has improved the company’s capacity to manage multiple offshore projects simultaneously; it also means the company is able to recruit staff from the Scottish Central Belt’s wealth of talented engineers, mechanics, welders, offshore personnel and other skilled craftsmen.
In June it was announced that FoundOcean had received €10m investment from Ambienta SGR, Europe’s largest private equity fund focused on the environmental sector. The injection of capital has enabled the company to commission more of its unique mixing spreads in order to meet the anticipated demands over the coming months. All this is helping establish the company's world leading position as the preferred offshore grouting specialist.
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FoundOcean has an established track record of offshore and subsea grouting services for energy construction firms. It is one of a handful of companies using its oil and gas knowledge to expand into the high growth offshore wind sector. This year will see its European offshore wind revenues overtake those from the global oil and gas sector for the first time.
Speaking to Business Report, MD Jim Bell commented: “Our experience in the oil and gas sector has put us in good stead for offshore renewables installations. Technical differences in grouting do exist between the two industries, but time after time, clients tell us that offshore experience and company reputation are important factors when awarding contracts.”
Aker Solutions’ Matt Corbin got it right when he was quoted in The Press and Journal Energy earlier this year saying, “Typically this industry is reactive – companies get work and then catch up to deliver it. We want to change our culture so we already have the people and resources we need to deliver the work we are going for.”
FoundOcean already has the largest fleet of grout mixing equipment and personnel in the offshore construction market. It has clear, ambitious plans and is taking positive steps to ensure the company has the resources ready to mobilise for the projects for which they are bidding.
“We’re in the midst of a busy and exciting period,” said Bell. “Our clients demand safe, swift and successful grouting operations, and rightly so. The company’s success relies on the dedication, skill and long-term commitment of our personnel, and we’re always on the lookout for talented people to join this team.”
Approximately 4,000 new fixed structures are due to be installed in northern European waters over the next five years. This is mainly due to the increased activity associated with Round 3 offshore wind projects.
It is companies like these that are investing in scalable and sustainable growth to ensure there are enough skilled workers to complete the torrent of upcoming offshore projects in both renewables and the oil and gas sector.
This also means that when they bid for projects, they can absolutely deliver. In recent feedback surveys, all of FoundOcean’s clients stated that reliability and financial stability were both either important or vital when choosing which subcontractor to award a contract to. Growing the company in a controlled and sustainable manner is crucial, and reassures clients that your business is ready when the next project is due to mobilise.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.