Able and SeAH ink MOU for monopile factory

In: Ports

South Korean pipe manufacturer SeAH has signed an exclusive Memorandum of Understanding with Able UK to use the Able Marine Energy Park development. The company plans to establish a monopile production facility on the South Bank of the Humber.

Monopiles are a cylindrical steel tubes that are driven into the seabed to support offshore wind turbines. They comprise a series of rolled steel ‘cans’ that are welded together to produce a component that will weigh between 700-3,000t and can be over 100m long. The vast majority of the UK’s 2,292 installed offshore wind turbines have a monopile foundation, barely a handful of which were produced in the UK.

Able Marine Energy Park (AMEP) is part of the 1,695-acre Able Humber Port. It offers a fully consented (£475m) development, which will provide 1,279m of heavy-duty, deep-water quays supported by 198 acres of adjacent installation yards and 353 acres of manufacturing and storage land. Its design will fully accommodate the manufacture, assembly, storage and installation of all offshore wind components

Able UK’s Executive Chairman Peter Stephenson commented: “The offshore wind sector is potentially on the cusp of something very special. We have a clear and unambiguous policy from Whitehall through the Sector Deal in the Industrial Strategy, and the increasingly demanding targets for both power generation and the extent of UK content. Combine this with the sector’s extraordinary efforts in terms of developing new products and significantly reducing costs and the sector is set to become a dominant factor in a post Covid-19 UK economy.

“However, to make the most of this ‘brave new world’, and to deliver 60 percent UK content we must act now to capitalise on this singular, but time-limited opportunity. The Able Marine Energy Park can and will play a vital role in this process to, first and foremost, provide purpose-built heavy-duty deep-water quays and, just as crucially, a large expanse of adjacent supporting hinterland (353 acres).

“SeAH are one of a number of manufacturers with whom we are at similar stages of negotiation. SeAH have fully embraced the concept of establishing a new ‘world-scale’ industrial cluster for offshore wind on the Humber and with it the overarching strength of the UK’s offshore wind sector. Subject to our receiving the necessary support the first quays will be available towards the end of 2022, to coincide with the needs of both manufacturers and the developers of the offshore wind farms.”

SeAH is one of the largest steel tube manufacturers in South Korea, having produced complex steel tubes for a variety of markets, including offshore wind jacket steel products for legs, bracings, nodes, and pin piles.  

Hyungkun Nam, SeAH’s Chief Executive, summarised their position: “The UK has the strongest market and we intend to play an important role in the ongoing development of the offshore wind sector. We recognise the considerable opportunity to be the first significant UK based monopile supplier and partnering with the Able Marine Energy Park (AMEP), and with it ABLE, as a company with such a credible track record, as the sole partner with whom we wish to progress matters. That is why we have signed an exclusive Memorandum of Understanding with ABLE as we seek to bring to reality what would be a significant investment with an initial annual capacity of 162,000 tons, and rising up to 320,000 tons and the prospect of providing around 400 new jobs."

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