Total solutions for unique projects

Construction of the 480MW offshore wind farm at Saint-Nazaire, off the Guérade Peninsula in western France, represented a huge challenge for piling engineers. The majority of the 80 XL monopile foundations required, had to be installed in a hard, rocky seabed. These conditions meant that the piles could not be driven in by a hammer alone – the majority had to be drilled into position. This made Saint-Nazaire the first wind farm in the world to use this installation method.

In addition, engineers had to cope with the Atlantic’s adverse weather conditions and the marine swell. IQIP played its part in this unique project by suppling a range of innovative equipment – developed using in-house expertise and incorporating proven technology – and a dedicated team of highly skilled technicians to oversee its operation.

“Specialist lifting equipment was required to ensure safe operations”

An innovative drilling template wave protection system was deployed, which allowed drilling and installation to take place while protecting workers and equipment from the harsh Atlantic conditions. When the drilling template was lowered overboard from the offshore installation vessel, specialist lifting equipment was required to ensure it moved safely through the splash zone and onto the seabed.

IQIP helped with this phase of operations by supplying four Launch and Recovery Systems (LARS). The LARS winches ensure that drilling template overboarding procedures are carried out safely and efficiently. In addition, IQIP supplied a guiding tool to hold the drilling template in place, which was modified to cope with its unconventional shape and weight.

The Saint-Nazaire project also benefitted from the use of the S-4000 Hydrohammer, complete with 6.5m sleeve. IQIP also supplied a Pile Upending Tool, which grabs the pile from inside before moving it to the vertical position. Establishing a fail-safe connection, the Pile Upending Tool ensures piles remain in perfect condition during lifting, are moved efficiently, and placed precisely in the required position.

IQIPs S 4000 Hydrohammer

IQIP’s S-4000 Hydrohammer

Complete package

To handle the equipment, IQIP committed a team of technicians to the project. When IQIP supplies equipment and the relevant expertise, uptime is guaranteed to the extent that if a component should fail, there is no rental fee for the other project equipment on board.

Additionally, by procuring a range of equipment from one supplier, the number of technicians they need working offshore can be optimised. IQIP’s technicians are multi-skilled, so relatively few are required to supervise the array of equipment, reducing labour costs. Fewer suppliers also mean fewer legal contracts and less complicated arrangements for project management. In combination this can make for smoother, more efficient workflows and operations.

The installation of 80 foundations at the Saint-Nazaire offshore wind farm was completed in May and the construction of the wind farm is scheduled to be completed in December 2022.

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