Brodosplit Shipyard hopes floating offshore wind energy could create a new line of business that will offset financial difficulties it has encountered due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.
In April, the EU imposed sanctions on Russian bank VTB, one of Brodosplit’s mortgage lenders for two ship projects at its shipyard. Because of the sanctions, Brodosplit was unable to access the millions of dollars in funds needed to complete the work.
The shipbuilder’s parent company, DIV Group, provided additional short-term financing and began talks with the Croatian government for a bridging loan. However, the loan did not come; Production on the two projects ceased, most workers were furloughed and in May Brodosplit filed for provisional bankruptcy. The pre-bankruptcy filing process is now making its way through the Croatian courts.
Meanwhile, Brodosplit has continued to build steel structures to order, including a large Metocean buoy for American startup Ocergy. The new three pylon buoy will be used to survey conditions on a French offshore wind lease; It is equipped with a range of sensors to study conditions at the site, including wind turbulence, bird presence and marine life.
The buoy will be deployed on the French Mediterranean continental shelf off the province of Occitania. The project is supported by ADEME, the French green transition agency.
“The OCG data is not only an integral part of our business plan, but also a first step for us to prove some of the innovative properties of our OCG wind [floating offshore wind] Platform. We have a growing pipeline of pre-commercial projects until 2030, when the offshore wind industry deploys large-scale, gigawatt-scale commercial projects [floating offshore wind] projects worldwide,” said Dominique Roddier, CEO of Ocergy. “I believe that companies like Brodosplit can play a significant role in the energy transition and be a powerful enabler for the economy [floating offshore wind] Industry.”
Brodosplit hopes wind platform contracts for firms like Ocergy could give it a steady flow of business, and said in a statement that “it is realistic to expect new contracts to be signed soon for the construction of platforms”. The shipyard assumes that this could correspond to construction activity of around 100,000 tons of steel per year – a considerable volume of new business.