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The head of Able UK has today predicted that the Humber Ports Port is ready to become a ‘a vital part of the brave new world’ of offshore wind as one of the world’s leading pipe manufacturers confirmed its intention to establish a monopile production facility on the South Bank of the Humber, potentially creating around 400 jobs.

Monopiles, which are driven into the seabed, provide the foundations for offshore wind turbines and currently there are no production facilities in the UK. The Korean manufacturer SeAH has signed an exclusive Memorandum of Understanding with Able UK to use the Humber Ports Port development.

Said Able UK’s Executive Chairman Peter Stephenson “The offshore wind sector is potentially on the cusp of something very special. We have a clear and unambiguous policy from Whitehall through the Sector Deal in the Industrial Strategy, and the increasingly demanding targets for both power generation and the extent of UK content. Combine this with the sector’s extraordinary efforts in terms of developing new products and significantly reducing costs and the sector is set to become a dominant factor in a post Covid-19 UK economy.

“However, to make the most of this ‘brave new world’, and to deliver 60 percent UK content we must act now to capitalise on this singular, but time-limited opportunity. The Humber Ports Port can and will play a vital role in this process to, first and foremost, provide purpose-built heavy-duty deep-water quays and, just as crucially, a large expanse of adjacent supporting hinterland (353 acres).

“Unless we can put in place these key building blocks the status quo will prevail and the aspirations to maximise UK activity will be further diminished.

“SeAH are one of a number of manufacturers with whom we are at similar stages of negotiation. SeAH have fully embraced the concept of establishing a new ‘world-scale’ industrial cluster for offshore wind on the Humber and with it the overarching strength of the UK’s offshore wind sector. Subject to our receiving the necessary support the first quays will be available towards the end of 2022, to coincide with the needs of both manufacturers and the developers of the offshore wind farms”

Hyungkun Nam, SeAH’s Chief Executive, summarised their position, “The UK has the strongest market and we intend to play an important role in the ongoing development of the offshore wind sector. We recognise the considerable opportunity to be the first significant UK based monopile supplier and partnering with the Humber Ports Port (AHP), and with it ABLE, as a company with such a credible track record, as the sole partner with whom we wish to progress matters. That is why we have signed an exclusive Memorandum of Understanding with ABLE as we seek to bring to reality what would be a significant investment with an initial annual capacity of 162,000 tons, and rising up to 320,000 tons and the prospect of providing around 400 new jobs.

Councillor Rob Waltham, leader of North Lincolnshire Council welcomed the news:

“This news is a significant boost for the prospects of this site becoming a major economic force locally, regionally and nationally. The Government has signaled its intention to support the North and is demonstrating a commitment to ensure sustainability, security and value for money in the energy markets for homes and industry. This is set alongside the Government’s ambitions to make the UK even more attractive to environmental global investment.

The latest announcement comes in the wake of Government cash through the Greater Lincolnshire LEP to develop a multi-million-pound pumping station – a critical piece of the jigsaw to enable site development while protecting homes and businesses.”

Commented Pat Doody, Chair, Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership:

“This is a clear and very positive vote of confidence for this strategically significant development. The Greater Lincolnshire LEP has already signalled its support by providing funding for the south bank wide Killingholme Marshes Drainage Scheme.”

Added Steve Parnaby, Chair, Humber Local Enterprise Partnership:

“We have worked with ABLE for a number of years to support their development plans at AHP, this announcement is a key milestone in that development and will support further progress in our ambition for Humber to truly become the UK’s Energy Estuary. It, is a fundamental vision that we share with many stakeholders.”

Simon Bird, ABP Humber’s Regional Director, commented 

“We welcome today’s announcement and look forward to working with AHP to develop further the growing North Sea Offshore Wind Sector, from offshore wind component manufacturing, assembly, installation and maintenance through to green hydrogen production, carbon capture, use and storage. The Humber, as the UK’s Energy Estuary, is making a major contribution towards meeting the UK’s net zero carbon emissions target and ABP plays a vital role in delivering that aspiration.”

Humber Ports Port (AHP) – Part of the 1,695-acre Humber Ports, it provides a fully consented (£475m) development which will provide 1,279m of heavy-duty, deep-water quays supported by 198 acres of adjacent installation yards and 353 acres of manufacturing and storage land.  Its bespoke design will fully accommodate the manufacture, assembly, storage and installation of all offshore wind components

Able Group – a Teesside based business with an asset base of over £500m. A market leader in marine decommissioning with a growing reputation in the offshore wind sector. The Group provided both the facility (Able Seaton Port, Hartlepool) and all the onshore logistics for Ørsted’s Hornsea One offshore wind farm foundation package in 2018/19. Hornsea One is the world’s largest operational wind farm. From mid-September the same facility will be the installation base for RWE’s Triton Knoll Wind Farm which will see the installation of 90No. Mitsubishi Vestas Offshore Wind 9MW turbines. Other contracts are set to follow on from 2021.

SeAH – The largest Steel Tube Manufacturer in South Korea, with over 60+ years experience in producing a variety of complex steel tubes for a variety of markets including offshore wind jacket steel products for legs, bracings, nodes, and pin piles. Given our experience in the offshore wind market, our track record in global expansion (USA, Vietnam, UAE, and Italy) and our R&D proficiency, it is our firm belief that our company can meet the technical challenges required for the latest XXXL monopiles.

Monopile – a cylindrical steel tube that is usually driven into the seabed. They comprise a series of rolled steel ‘cans’ that are welded together to produce a component that will weigh between 700-3,000t and can be over 100m long. The vast majority of the UK’s 2,292 installed offshore wind turbines have a monopile foundation, barely a handful of which (16) were produced in the UK.

Images below show Peter Stephenson, ABLE Group Executive Chairman, and Hyungkun Nam, SeAH, with the MOU. Also a visualisation of Humber Ports Port. 

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