MPV Pohjanmeri; Source: Arctia Meritaito

Seabed survey of potential offshore wind area in North Sea goes to Finnish firm

Arctia Meritaito, a subsidiary of Finland’s icebreaking, fairway maintenance, and hydrographic surveying player Arctia, has been tasked with carrying out a hydrographic seabed survey of a potential offshore wind farm area in the Norwegian waters.

MPV Pohjanmeri; Source: Arctia Meritaito

Thanks to a contract with the Norwegian Mapping Authority, Hydrographic Service (NHS), Arctia Meritaito will undertake a hydrographic seabed surveying of approximately 1,900 km2, as part of the Mareano program, which maps depth and topography, sediment composition, biotopes, and habitats in Norwegian waters. This marks the third time the firm has participated in the program, which is financed by Norway’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, and the Ministry of Climate and Environment.

Commenting on the contract award, Lauri Pöyhönen, SVP of Arctia’s Marine Survey Services, highlighted: “The Norwegian Mapping Authority quality requirements are one the highest in the world and being awarded another contract is a demonstration of trust in Finnish expertise in this field. Each year of collaboration also presents a great opportunity to develop this expertise in an international environment.”

According to NHS, the Finish company will use a multibeam echosounder and sub-bottom profiler to survey the Sørvest F potential offshore wind area in the North Sea. This survey will be conducted by the 1979-built Pohjanmeri multipurpose research vessel (MPV), which was upgraded in 1997 and 2016.

While the departure to the Norwegian waters is expected as soon as the ice has cleared, the vessel is slated to return to Finland near the end of the summer. With a length of 78,3 meters, a beam of 11,6 meters, and an operational draught of 3,2 meters, the MPV Pohjanmeri has a speed of 18 knots.

As Norway sees offshore wind development on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) as a way to step up access to renewable energy, the country’s government has plans to allocate acreage for 30 GW of offshore wind power by 2040. The NCS doors were first opened for offshore renewable energy generation in 2020.

The Ministry of Energy put the Norwegian Offshore Directorate (NOD) in charge of planning and implementing a tender process two years ago for pilot surveys on Sørlige Nordsjø II (Southern North Sea II) and Utsira Nord (Utsira North), with possible start-up in 2022. The first survey phase in Sørlige Nordsjø II began in autumn 2022 and was wrapped up in 2023.

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After the first project areas for offshore wind at Utsira Nord off the coast of Rogaland County and Sørlige Nordsjø II were announced in 2023, the Norwegian authorities conducted an auction in March 2024 to award a project area for offshore wind in Sørlige Nordsjø II, which is located in relatively shallow waters off the southern coast of Norway.

The country is harnessing offshore wind to supply electricity to oil and gas platforms on the NCS to curb greenhouse gas emissions with electrification. The Equinor-operated Hywind Tampen wind farm, which is said to be Norway’s first and the world’s largest floating wind farm, came online in 2022, when the power from the first turbine was delivered to the Gullfaks A platform in the North Sea on November 13.

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Several months later, the floating offshore wind farm also began delivering electricity to the Snorre oil and gas field in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea.