Posted on January 2, 2023
With 2023 on the horizon, Ampelmann reflects on a year passed and looks forward to a new year of collaboration and innovation. 2022 was characterised by sustained global growth as well as many firsts. As a committed proponent of Walk to Work (W2W), the year saw a steady increase in the total number of safe and efficient offshore operations throughout the world. The company explored new markets and territories and introduced new sustainable gangways to the global offshore energy sector.
Ampelmann’s CEO, Jan van der Tempel said: “Energy has taken centre stage this year and will stay there for the foreseeable future: security of supply, explosive growth of offshore wind and the offshore production of hydrogen just beyond the horizon. An offshore energy world in motion that requires global players to bring stability and continued innovation like Ampelmann.”
Shifting Winds: W2W in the offshore wind sector
Offshore wind was a leading activity over several months this year, both in project days and earnings – a first since more than a decade in Ampelmann’s offshore activities. In Europe, America and Asia, the company’s motion compensated gangways are increasingly used to facilitate the increasing need to, safely and efficiently, construct and maintain a growing number of wind turbines.
In Europe, business skewed heavily towards Wind, where 17 out of 26 projects involved the construction and maintenance of windfarms in the North Sea. The company started its first project in France in the second half of the year, where the E5000 – the only system in its class that can transfer both passengers and lift up to 4.8 tonnes of cargo in rough sea states – was successfully deployed to Saint-Brieuc windfarm for two cabling and commissioning operations.
The year also saw a major increase in the total number of projects in the Taiwanese renewable sector, where the use of Ampelmann’s systems has risen sharply since the company’s first contract in 2020. By early next year, the company will have completed eight different construction, cabling, commissioning, and hook-up scopes on five out of seven windfarms in the Formosa Strait. For the first time ever, an E1000 was used in Taiwan’s territorial waters, and custom, locally built pedestals were used to increase the maximum height of the system.
Ampelmann also introduced W2W to the nascent renewable energy sector in the USA. Two E1000s were provided to its longstanding American client, Otto Candies, to facilitate the construction of three of the first commercial wind farms in the north-western Atlantic.
Throughout the year, successful sea trials were conducted to explore the capabilities of Ampelmann’s systems for use on floating windfarm construction projects. The first gangway was recently fitted to a vessel for a commercial operation on a floating windfarm off the coast of Norway.
Global growth: new markets, projects and milestones
Outside the offshore renewable energy sector, in Oil & Gas (O&G), Ampelmann’s motion compensated systems gained considerable traction. New regions and clients were introduced to W2W, as familiar ones continued to rely on Ampelmann’s systems and services.
Over the course of the year, major contracts were won throughout the world. An L-type was mobilised for the first time in Abu Dhabi, and a two- to four-year contract with Solstad Offshore ASA was signed to provide an A-type for a W2W campaign for a key Brazilian O&G player. Sea trials in Canada were held in the beginning of the year and our first A-type was deployed in Romania.
In western Africa, business continued to be particularly strong in Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria, and the first active motion compensated systems were introduced to Ghana, and more recently, Gabon.
To top it all off, a new milestone was reached in Brunei, where Ampelmann’s long-standing collaboration with BSP resulted in the 2.5 millionth personnel transfer in the country.
Electrification: A new dawn for offshore access
2022 also saw an intensification of Ampelmann’s commitment to improve its environmental footprint. The introduction of new sustainable access solutions together with the electrification of the existing fleet has already contributed to the reduction of energy consumption and carbon emissions.
The company’s goal to replace all A-types with their electric counterparts began in full swing, reaching a key milestone in early 2022 when the first electric A-type was successfully deployed on a commercial work scope. As this system uses electric regenerative technology, it is 90% more efficient than its hydraulic counterpart and requires no HPUs to operate.
The success of the electric A-type was echoed by the permanent fixture of another electric gangway system, the S-type, onto Damen’s prizewinning vessel, the Aqua Helix. This lightweight vessel can reach up to 40 knots and together with the similarly lightweight gangway provides safe, comfortable and easy access to offshore installations. The Aqua Helix is operated by OceanXpress, a joint venture between Ampelmann and Damen, and introduced on-demand access to the offshore world.
A diversified portfolio: innovations and services
Alongside the success of the new electric systems, new sustainable access solutions were developed and brought to market to complement Ampelmann’s global portfolio.
The W-type is Ampelmann’s first tower system that is specifically designed to suit the growing needs for efficiency and safety in the SOV/CSOV market. As the first electric system within its class, it is energy efficient and has a low environmental footprint. The widened gangway enables trolley access, is height adjustable and can convert into a crane with a lifting capacity of 2 tonnes. Three W-types were sold over the course of the year, and Ampelmann will continue to provide its well-known service package to its buying clients. This includes operator training, workability forecasts and data services through Ampelmann Insights as well as 24/7 support offered by the company’s Operation Control Centre (OCC), The first W-type is set to become operational in late 2023.
Alongside the W-type, Ampelmann also introduced the A300, a new gangway that combines the consistency and high workability of the Ampelmann’s flagship system, the A-type, with the E1000’s and E5000’s hoisting capabilities. Able to lift up to 300kg in sea states up to 3.5m Hs, this gangway is perfectly suited to assist with construction projects that need to both safely transfer personnel, tools, equipment and cargo.
To wrap up, 2022 saw the growth of Ampelmann’s global commitments as well as the continuation of its signature innovative spirit.
Van der Tempel looks forward to what the new year will bring. “The modular design approach and electrification propels Ampelmann into the new future: significant energy savings and the ability to scale quickly. 2022 helped us prepare for growth into 2023 and beyond.”