Monaco-based bulker owner and operator Scorpio Bulkers Inc. has signed a Letter of Intent with South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Inc (DSME) to construct a wind turbine installation vessel.

The total project cost is expected to be approximately $265-$290 million, subject to final design modifications. 

The vessel is scheduled for delivery in 2023.

The move to break into a new market is being described as part of the company’s transition and a strategy set to secure significant value for the company’s shareholders.

“Scorpio Bulkers is embarking on a new and exciting journey.  The world urgently needs to reduce emissions and offshore wind will make a pivotal contribution.  We appreciate the encouragement and assistance of multiple partners – including suppliers, customers, and shipbuilders – as we take a significant first step in transitioning the Company towards a sustainable future,” Emanuele A. Lauro, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented.

“This strategic direction now aligns with our future customers, investors, finance providers and the growing momentum in global public policy.  At the same time, the Board of Directors carefully considered this project and believes that this transition will result in higher and more predictable shareholder returns in a structural growth market. Our transition has begun.”

The initial vessel is an NG-16000X design GustoMSC, a subsidiary of National Oilwell Varco NOV, and includes a 1500 Leg Encircling Crane (LEC) from Huisman Equipment B.V.

The contract is expected to be signed in early Q4 2020 and will include options to construct up to an additional three units having similar specifications.

Scorpio said that the vessel will have the capacity to install onto pre-prepared foundations the largest wind turbines currently designed, at a height of over 185 meters above sea level and in water depth in excess of 65 meters. 

The bulker owner and operator believes offshore wind represents a significant opportunity for the world to respond to the challenge of emissions reduction. 

Estimates show that the market is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate of over 15% for the next decade. 

“There is a growing shortage of vessels that can install and maintain next-generation turbines core to this growth,” the company added.

“The increasing maritime complexity and innovation of the offshore wind sector plays to Scorpio’s strengths and the Board of Directors believes the company is in a good position to build an industry-leading presence.”    

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