x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Drydocks World in deal to create offshore wind power plant

Drydocks World has signed a deal with a Norwegian company to build what it describes as the world's biggest wind-power offshore platform.

Drydocks World is trying to finalise a $2.2 billion debt restructuring. Jaime Puebla / The National
Drydocks World is trying to finalise a $2.2 billion debt restructuring. Jaime Puebla / The National

Drydocks World has signed a deal with a Norwegian company to build what it describes as the world's biggest wind-power offshore platform.

The news comes as the Dubai World-owned maritime services company is trying to finalise a US$2.2 billion (Dh8.08bn) debt restructuring and has indicated that it is trying to redefine its core business.

The wind power plant, which will be erected in the German part of the North Sea for the energy services company Aibel, is designed to receive power generated from offshore wind farms.

"After the evaluation of all yards which can fabricate such a vessel, we've been chosen … due to our competencies, skills and environment records, no doubt," said Khamis Juma Buamim, the chairman of Drydocks World and Maritime World.

He described the project "as the biggest in the world" of its kind. The company declined to state the value of the deal.

Work on the wind-farm platform, which is being manufactured at the Dubai shipyard, is due to start in July and it is expected to be delivered in December next year.

The platform could help reduce global carbon emissions by about 3 million tonnes a year, according to Drydocks World.

The company specialises in ship repair, shipbuilding, rig building, offshore fabrication and fleet operations. Drydocks World, which operates shipyards in Dubai and South East Asia, last month said it was aiming to complete its restructuring by March. Dubai and its government-owned firms have billions of dollars of debt that mature this year.

The debt Drydocks World is seeking to restructure is made of two bank loans it took out in 2008, one worth $1.7bn and the other $500 million. The $1.7bn loan matured in October, while the $500m loan becomes due next year.

The company also revealed last month six developers had committed to building the first towers in the business district of Dubai Maritime City, eight years after the project was first announced.

The developers are planning to build hotel, office and residential properties in the 121-hectare Dh2.5bn district, which is designed to become a hub for maritime and offshore-related trade.

Drydocks World was selected "after international competition and with recognition of Drydocks World's safety record", Aibel said.

"The platform will be transported to Aibel's yard in Haugesund, Norway for outfitting," said Jan Skogseth, the chief executive of the Norwegian company. "In the summer of 2014, Aibel will tow the platform from Haugesund to the offshore site in the North Sea and install the platform on the sea bottom."

rbundhun@thenational.ae