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International vessel specialist targets Lowestoft hub as UK growth base

An international offshore transport and installation contractor with some of the world’s largest vessels has chosen Lowestoft’s offshore renewables hub as the location to strengthen its UK presence.
ORBIS ENERGY Jennie-Kevis-Stirling_Nikki-Beales-and-Stuart-Thornton-set-up-a-virtual-office-at-Orbis-Energy-alongside-a-cardboard-cut-out-of-Julian-Steward_lowres-scaled
Jennie Kevis Stirling, Nikki Beales and Stuart Thornton set up a virtual office at Orbis Energy alongside a cardboard cut out of Julian Steward. Picture: Orbis Energy

Rapidly expanding OHT is targeting the UK’s offshore wind farm pipeline from a base at OrbisEnergy, the four-storey iconic building in Lowestoft that overlooks the sea, and where it plans its vessels will install the next generations of wind turbines and foundations.

Norwegian-based OHT chose OrbisEnergy confident it would plug its growing UK team into “an established industry network,” with an excellent pool of talent and expertise and strong and growing supply chain, much of which is based in the east of England.

Stuart Thornton, OHT business development and tendering manager, said: "OrbisEnergy is ideally located for the local team and for many of our clients, and is also a great remote base for our colleagues elsewhere in the UK. A hub for the energy sector and offshore wind, there is a good pool of experienced people and supply chain companies to tap into.

"The UK market is key for OHT’s growth with its strong pipeline of projects."

OHT has been moving quickly into the offshore wind market since it announced its order of Alfa Lift, its first custom-build vessel, in 2018 and has won the contract to install foundations on Dogger Bank Offshore Wind Farm, to be the world’s largest development.

In addition to Alfa Lift, OHT also recently announced their entry into the turbine installation market with two bespoke jack-up vessels VIND 1 and 2, designed to install the next generations of turbines, the first to be delivered in 2023.

The partnership will also give OHT flexibility in its day-to-day operation.

Mr Thornton said: "OrbisEnergy is ideal for an international geographically diverse company with a small but growing UK team. It delivers highly professional and flexible space and services which enable us to work from home and travel while making use of the facilities at OrbisEnergy when needed.

"We can rely on the team at Orbis to respond to our clients and contacts with professional and meaningful responses when we are unavailable."

Mr Thornton and OHT marketing and communications manager Nikki Beales worked in OrbisEnergy in previous roles with another international tenant. They have recently been joined in East Anglia by business development and tendering manager, Jennie Kevis Stirling. The other team members live in the north and west of the UK. "OrbisEnergy offers a sense of local work community that can be missing when working in a satellite office," he said.

Angela Grey, OrbisEnergy building and tenant manager, said: "OHT brings an exciting new dimension to our tenant profile in terms of its ambitions for UK growth and its vessels.

"We’ve supported many businesses to grow and have seen businesses start here with only a small team and go on to employ more than 100 people locally."

OrbisEnergy was set up 11 years ago as a renewables hub. Its VIP programme – Virtual Innovation and Incubation Programme – supports new and growing businesses with access to professional offices and meeting rooms, business support, finance and more.

"Our tenant packages include innovation and technology acceleration with insights into industry and market intelligence to support innovation," said Angela, "as well as access to experts supporting innovation, research and development and technology acceleration, business support and funding, PR and marketing support, and professional and office services."

To find out more about an OrbisEnergy tenancy contact Angela Grey at orbisenergy@suffolk.gov.uk