Wind turbine vessels to be built in Dubai

Danish wind turbines. Courtesy of Wikimedia

The UAE may not be the most promising place to build a wind farm, but that has not stopped a local firm from cashing in on the growing global market for wind-related energy services.

Last week,

, an oil services firm listed on the London Stock Exchange, won

worth US$320.4 million (Dh1.18 billion) from the Norwegian firm

to design, build and deliver two wind turbine installation vessels.

mainly from a construction yard at the port of

, in the emirate of  Dubai, and from two other facilities in the neighbouring emirate of Sharjah. In this case, both ships are to be built at Jebel Ali.

For a picture of what the vessels should look like when finished, click

and scroll down.

Investors were clearly impressed by the deals, because they sent Lamprell's stock

last Tuesday, when they were announced.

The company has made its name as a provider of specialist engineering services to the shallow-water sector of the offshore oil industry, especially in the Gulf. With the Fred Olsen contracts, it is branching out into a promising new green energy services business, at the same time proving that local firms with the right skills can develop global reach.

There will probably not be many offshore wind turbines installed in the Gulf in the foreseeable future, as wind speeds in its relatively sheltered waters are insufficient to justify their cost. These are exactly the conditions, however, in which shipbuilders can flourish, as they have done in this region for centuries.

Fred Olsen Windcarrier's operational bases in Norway and Denmark are perfectly located to serve the growing number of offshore wind farm projects in the blustery North Sea.

Just last month, the British government awarded

£100 bn (Dh593bn) for the construction of nine offshore wind farms off the UK coast. It would not be surprising if the Dubai-built Windcarrier vessels installed some of those turbines.

Even if, as some believe, the petroleum age is drawing to a close, firms such as Lamprell are paving the way for the Gulf region's many skilled energy services providers to prosper in a world powered by low-carbon energy.