Safelink wins important contracts on the US east coast

Safelink wins important contracts and consolidates its position as market leader in hook-based heave compensation in the offshore wind market. Safelink once again appears to have developed an industry standard with its innovative hook-based active heave compensators (AHCs) for lifting operations and installation in the markets for offshore wind and oil and gas.

Safelink is proud to announce several new contracts for AHCs, including for offshore wind projects on the east coast of the United States. Some of the projects will start next year, and the last one will conclude in 2025.

Three new AHCs are currently being built, one of which has a safe working load (SWL) of a whopping 1250 tonnes, making it likely to be the world’s most powerful AHC when delivered in spring 2023.

Safelink is also working on projects for AHC units with an SWL of 2500 tonnes and above to meet the demand that the Company foresees in the offshore wind market in the immediate future. The Company has drawn up a long-term development plan for its AHCs, based on strong growth in development activity in offshore wind, which is expected to increase over the next few years.

Active heave compensation

A heave compensator substantially reduces the effect of waves on offshore lifting operations, making the lifting conditions almost as stable as on land.

For oil and gas installations, AHCs were a game changer when they were launched over 20 years ago. Uptimes were significantly increased, installations were safer and, just as importantly, it has meant major cost savings for field developers.

Today, contracting ships for oil and gas installations without an AHC is almost unthinkable. AHCs are also a prerequisite in tenders for installation companies, and extensive savings have been made in terms of time, cost and the environment since their launch.

Safelink’s hook-based AHC

Next generation AHC

Safelink has been working on the next generation of AHCs for several years, and once again seems to have developed an industry standard for offshore lifting operations. Safelink’s technology makes it significantly more cost-effective to build AHCs for the heaviest loads, which means that installation companies working with offshore wind will be able to use the technology at a fraction of the price of conventional systems.

Long-term product development – 16 international patents

In 2015, work began on developing a new active heave compensator. The ambition was to develop a better and cheaper AHC than the conventional, ship-based variety. Conventional AHCs are associated with high costs and various operational limitations.

After several years of intensive development and testing that resulted in 16 patents, the commercial solution has been launched to selected industry players. The response has been extremely positive.

Offshore wind development on the US east coast

The rapid growth in the development of offshore wind farms has led to a surge in the need for AHC solutions. The projects on the east coast of the United States, where the Jones Act makes it necessary for lift-off to take place offshore, have given a particular boost to the supply of solutions.

It seems that almost all of the installation companies with a presence on the US east coast recognise that hook-based AHC is the best solution, and that use of this solution in the US projects has made it a new industry standard. In several other projects globally, a shift is also being seen towards similar techniques to those that the Jones Act has brought about in the United States.

More products in the market

In addition to hook-based AHCs, the Company has also launched active controlled quick lift units as a cost-effective alternative to hook-based AHCs for projects with less advanced needs. As with AHCs, these units have the option of a built-in shock absorber configuration. The response has been good, and so far this year the Company has either delivered or signed a contract for a total of 8 of these units for use in connection with offshore wind installations. 

100 units

With the latest contracts, Safelink will have produced more than 100 units next year. Over the Company’s 10-year history, it has supplied some of the most complicated installations at the greatest depths for the oil and gas sector, and will work in some of the largest offshore wind developments over the next few years.

‘Despite tough competition in the market for passive heave compensators and a new competitor for hook-based AHCs, we know that our technology has flexibility, multi-functionality, a good track record, and the lowest weight of any AHC on the market. Together with our competitive prices, this consolidates our position as the leading supplier of hook-based AHCs for offshore wind’, says Bjørn Simonsen, Safelink’s CEO.

‘We are proud to have helped improve safety, increase uptime and reduce costs over a number of years, and with our new product range, our impact on cost efficiency in offshore wind will be significantly greater’, continues Simonsen.

Local presence

‘Safelink currently has offices in five countries in the key traditional offshore regions. Since 2016, the Company has had a presence on the east coast of the United States, and this has now been strengthened through the establishment of a service personnel base and service premises. This has helped create long-term local jobs in what will be one of the most important regions for us going forward’, concludes Simonsen.