Van Oord is a leading global contractor in dredging, offshore oil and gas and offshore wind, and is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. The company has a long and varied history in marine engineering, an industry that has its origins in the Netherlands. Over the past 150 years Van Oord, a family-owned business, has grown into one of the largest marine engineering companies in the world.
The origins of Dutch marine engineering lie in the Netherlands’ unique location on the North Sea and its centuries-long battle against the water. Van Oord’s work is rooted in that battle. The history of the company is intertwined with the country’s biggest marine engineering projects, including the Nieuwe Waterweg Canal, the Delta Works, and the Port of Rotterdam’s Maasvlakte II expansion. These were projects that fuelled economic growth and kept the Dutch population safe from flooding.
Since the late nineteenth century, the company has also applied its expertise abroad. Van Oord extended the port of Surabaya, constructed the Palm Islands in Dubai, dredged the Suez Canal, and installed the Gemini offshore wind park. They have gained a great deal of knowledge and experience over the years, and the company has grown to become one of the biggest marine engineering companies in the world. With its origins in a small country, Van Oord has matured into a world player that’s taking on ever-larger maritime projects, both in scale and in scope.
Many of Van Oord’s projects have become true landmarks. At present, one of the big themes is the energy transition. Supplying the increasing world population with energy is a huge challenge. Accelerating the transition to more sustainable energy is necessary so as to meet demand and to become less dependent on fossil fuels. Wind energy has an increasing share in the supply of power in Europe and offshore wind, in particular, is developing rapidly. In August 2016 Van Oord proudly completed installation of one of the largest offshore wind projects in the world, namely Gemini. With its 150 turbines, the Gemini Wind Park supplies 600 megawatts of sustainable energy to 785,000 households in the Netherlands.
Van Oord has been active in offshore wind for over a decade now and furnishes all-round solutions, often as turnkey projects including engineering, procurement, and construction so as to assume full responsibility for entire projects on behalf of its clients. The company focuses on Balance of Plant contracts (BOP, meaning all the supporting components and auxiliary systems other than the wind turbines themselves) and on Transport and Installation (T&I) projects. Today, it is one of the two world leaders in offshore wind contracting and have been involved in the construction of about 35 offshore wind farms, totalling more than 6 GW. That means they have been involved in over half of the total installed capacity in Europe.
In order to be successful in this industry, Van Oord owns and operates specialised offshore wind equipment. Offshore installation vessel Aeolus, which was designed in-house, is purpose built to transport and install foundations and wind turbines. The heavy lift installation vessel Svanen is the largest crane vessel in the world, with a lifting capacity of 8000 tonnes. The Nexus, the first cable-laying vessel, is equipped with a deck layout that was designed and developed in-house to anticipate future market requirements for challenging cable installation work. In May of this year Bravenes joined the fleet, a subsea rock installation vessel used for the installation of scour protection along with a new cable trencher, the Dig-It.