In November 2021 Shell NoordzeeWind reached-out to EAGLE-ACCESS about the potential use of their access system to accelerate a major repair job on turbines at Offshore Windpark Egmond aan Zee (OWEZ). Deploying the access system for this project would enable access for both technicians and cargo to the turbines in adverse conditions, where a crew transfer vessel (CTV) transfer methods are incapable.
The OWEZ windfarm is normally accessed using conventional (CTV). The transition platforms at site have no facilities for bridge type transfer systems. One of the unique properties of the EAGLE-ACCESS system is the ability to deliver cargo and persons onto any unprepared transition platform. Including platforms with a rather small deck space, like at OWEZ with only a few square meters as a landing area. The EAGLE-ACCESS system is also fully electric, providing prolonged safe workability even from smaller vessels. This was demonstrated with the digital twin/training simulator in the IJmuiden offices of EAGLE-ACCESS and by demonstration of the actual access system.
Shell NoordzeeWind, Shell technical experts and EAGLE-ACCESS performed a feasibility study to trial the access system. A significant effort has gone into assessing what it would take to deploy the EAGLE-ACCESS system at OWEZ. The feasibility study concluded the EAGLE-ACCESS system fit for a field trial at Shell NoordzeeWind. The involved parties showed that the right people, in a constructive dialogue, can achieve a lot in a very short time. This effort is recognised by Shell and it thanks EAGLE-ACCESS for the work done.
After investigation, the repair issue with the turbines could be solved using a less invasive solution. This meant for the joint project team, cancelling the need for an extensive operation and cause to demonstrate the capability of the EAGLE-ACCESS system. However, as the feasibility study proved EAGLE-ACCESS, is mature enough to be demonstrated in the field, and can be considered as an alternate method for mobilising technicians and cargo to the field. Longer term, Shell recognised that EAGLE-ACCESS could be a suitable solution for extending the maintenance seasons into winter months, where access to Offshore Windfarms is often hampered.
In the end, the exercise created a solid base for continued corporation at a later stage, at OWEZ or in another part of the Shell group, based on experiences so far and EAGLE-ACCESS’ unique value proposition. Both parties look forward on collaborating on a future opportunity.