GIEK chips in risk financing based on Aibel and OHT deliveries to Dogger Bank

Source: press release, 26 November 2020

Aibel will deliver two converter platforms for the world’s largest offshore wind farm Dogger Bank – the contract with Equinor and SSE has an option for a third platform at the same wind farm
Aibel will deliver two converter platforms for the world’s largest offshore wind farm Dogger Bank – the contract with Equinor and SSE has an option for a third platform at the same wind farm (illustration: Aibel AS)

Norwegian supplier Aibel is set to supply high-voltage transformer platforms for the North Sea mega-project as it muscles up in offshore wind, while sector newcomer OHT Alfa Lift AS will deliver freight and installation services using its purpose-built installation vessel Alfa Lift.

Dogger Bank partners Equinor and SSE Renewables reached Financial Closure on the first two phases of the offshore wind development on Wednesday, 25 November. As part of the package, Norwegian state-backed Export Credit Guarantee Agency GIEK is providing loan guarantees totalling NOK 3.6 billion (GBP 300 million) in support of contracts awarded to Norwegian exporters Aibel and OHT Alfa Lift.

“Equinor truly appreciates the collaboration with GIEK and the tremendous support provided to Dogger Bank. GIEK’s participation is instrumental in the financing of Dogger Bank and in promoting Norwegian contractors – both for this as well as future projects” says Mads Holm, Senior Vice President & Head of Finance in Equinor.

GIEK is participating in the international bank syndicate that is financing the Dogger Bank transactions, working alongside the Swedish Export Credit Agency (EKN) and their French equivalent, BpiFrance Assurance Export.

“Dogger Bank will increase the UK’s access to renewable energy, and I would like to congratulate Equinor and SSE on all their hard work. I am also happy that GIEK is contributing to strengthen Norwegian suppliers, not just in this project but in the entire offshore wind sector,” says Norway’s minister of trade and industry, Iselin Nybø.

“GIEK’s pragmatic and collaborative approach has been an important factor in enabling Financial Close to be reached, and the sponsors look forward to continuing to work closely and productively with GIEK throughout the term of the financing,” says Oliver Cass, Finance Director at Dogger Bank Wind Farms.

High-voltage transmission
Offshore service specialist Aibel will supply High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transformer platforms in a concept developed jointly with ABB. The transmission system will be HVDC because of Dogger Bank’s distance from shore – it lies over 130 kilometres off the Yorkshire coast. Aibel is already working on a transformer platform for the Dolwin wind array in the German sector of the North Sea.

The custom-built offshore wind installation vessel ‘Alfa Lift’ is currently under construction in China
The custom-built offshore wind installation vessel ‘Alfa Lift’ is currently under construction in China (illustration: OHT)

One-of-a-kind vessel
Traditionally involved in oil and gas, OHT is going through a major transition and will deliver transportation and installation of monopiles and transition pieces using its Ulstein-designed semi-submersible newbuilding Alfa Lift. When delivered next year from China, the 51,000-dwt vessel will be the world’s largest vessel for installing offshore wind foundations.

Equinor and SSE will be using the largest wind turbines on the market, with tough demands on both the technology and the ship required to install the monopiles. MacGregor Norway and Kongsberg Maritime are supplying the “smart deck” technology, including advanced dynamic positioning (DP), that will make the process quicker, safer and more cost effective.

Triple-A instruments
GIEK’s AAA-rated instruments are among the most valuable guarantees internationally, and its role in extending banks’ lending capacity often makes it easier to finalise funding for large projects. GIEK guarantees are conditional on participation by Norwegian exporters.

GIEK managing director Wenche Nistad urges Norwegian exporters and all their sub-suppliers seeking a market share in the global offshore wind market to approach their banks and GIEK. “Offshore wind promises significant opportunities for the future, and together we can find the optimal funding solution to help you grow your business,” she says.

Sister agency Export Credit Norway (Eksportkreditt) is also participating in the Dogger Bank line-up, providing loans of around NOK 900 million under the GIEK guarantee. GIEK and Export Credit Norway are set to merge next summer. “That will result in an even more efficient, user-friendly organisation and streamlined process,” says Nistad.