Brodosplit Shipyard hopes that the floating offshore wind could create a new line of business, offsetting the financial difficulties it has experienced due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.
In April, the EU imposed sanctions on Russia’s VTB bank, one of Brodosplit’s construction loan lenders for two ship projects at its yard. The sanctions prevented Brodosplit from accessing millions of dollars in funds needed to complete the work.
The shipbuilder’s parent company, DIV Group, has provided additional short-term financing and has entered discussions with the Croatian government for a bridge loan. However, the loan was not forthcoming; production ceased on the two projects, most of the workers were laid off, and in May Brodosplit filed for interim bankruptcy. The pre-bankruptcy petition process is now making its way through the Croatian courts.
Meanwhile, Brodosplit continued to build steel structures under contract, including a large pipeline buoy for US startup Ocergy. The new three-pier buoy will be used to study conditions in a French offshore wind lease area; it is equipped with a range of sensors to study site conditions, including wind turbulence, bird presence and marine life.
The buoy will be deployed on the French Mediterranean continental shelf off the Occitania province. The project has the backing of ADEME, the French agency for the green transition.
“The OCG data is not only an integral part of our business plan, but also represents a first step in demonstrating some of the innovative features of our OCG-Wind [floating offshore wind] platform. We have a growing pipeline of pre-commercial projects through 2030, until the offshore wind industry deploys large commercial gigawatt-scale projects [floating offshore wind] projects around the world,” said Dominique Roddier, CEO of Ocergy. “I believe companies like Brodosplit have a significant role to play in the energy transition and can be a strong enabler of [floating offshore wind] industry.”
Brodosplit hopes wind platform contracts for companies like Ocergy will provide it with a steady stream of business, and said in a statement that “it is realistic to expect new platform construction contracts to be signed soon.” The yard believes this could equate to construction activity equivalent to around 100,000 tonnes of steel a year, a sizeable volume of new business.