Wood Group branches out as winds of change blow

WOOD Group, the Aberdeen oil services giant, has won its first major off-shore wind farm contract – providing substations for a major development off the coast of East Anglia.

The group already has revenues of more than 3 billion a year, delivering projects for the oil and gas industry around the world.

But it has begun targeting the growing renewable energy sector in a search for new ways to develop business.

Yesterday Wood's engineering division revealed news of a contract to design and project manage the construction of two substations for the 315 megawatt Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm Norfolk coast.

The substations will capture energy generated from the wind farm's 88 turbines close to the source, before sending it back to shore – a more energy efficient process than using onshore substations.

Wood did not disclose the value of the contract, but Les Thomas, a director of the company's engineering division, said the group's experience in operating in the North Sea meant it already has the expertise to provide services for offshore wind farm projects.

Thomas commented: "Wood Group's move into the renewable energy sector is a natural progression from the services it provides to the oil and gas and power sector.

"With 30 year's experience working with oil and gas operators in the eastern hemisphere, (Wood Group] is well placed to apply its technical expertise to offshore wind farm developments."

Wood's dedicated renewable energy service business aims to provide services for the offshore wind farm sector world wide, sourcing machinery parts and providing, maintenance and management services for industrial wind farms.

Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm is being developed by Scira Offshore Energy, a 50:50 joint venture company owned by two Norwegian energy companies, StatoilHydro and Statkraft.

Due to be completed in 2011, it will be situated on the north Norfolk Coast

at an estimated cost of around 1 billion . Sheringham Shoal is expected to produce enough power to supply more than 220,000 homes.

In March, Wood Group set up a renewables business within the gas turbines division, with offices in Aberdeen and Houston.

The company said then that renewable energy was "essential to meeting the increasing demand for clean energy and wind power is one of the most important contributors".

Late last year JP Kenny, Wood's subsea and pipeline business, was appointed as the lead contractor on the Cornwall Wave Hub development to test wave energy devices prior to commercialisation.