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Reef Subsea ploughs its way to wind farm success.

A TEESSIDE subsea company has successfully completed work on one of the largest off-shore wind farms in the world.

Reef Subsea's contract to install and bury inter-array power cables on the Gwynt y Mor Offshore Wind Farm is the Thornaby-based company's largest to date.

The wind farm, which lies 13 kilometres off the North Wales coast in Liverpool Bay, is owned by RWE Innogy and partners and is considered a landmark achievement for the UK's renewables industry.

Reef's workscope included project management, engineering and installation of 124 interarray cables over 20 months. Gwynt y Mor will be used as a benchmark against forthcoming offshore wind farm projects, according to bosses. The key project triggered a PS5m investment in specialised subsea equipment by the company, including the designing and building of a HDIA (Heavy Duty Inter Array) plough.

A spokesperson for the company said: "As a burial method, ploughing has often been overlooked in favour of other solutions but by using the HDIA plough and trusting in the technology, Reef Subsea has demonstrated that ploughing is an efficient and effective method of cable burial."

The delivery of the project also saw Reef Subsea award 'significant' services to a number of companies including the provision of crew transfer vessels, diving and cable installation support and supply of cable protection.

Duncan MacPherson, chief executive at Reef Subsea, said: "When we were awarded the contract for Gwynt y Mor back in 2012, we knew that the project would test us and it didn't disappoint.

"We utilised our experience, skilled team and bespoke asset to plough through the challenging soil conditions of the Irish Sea and lay the cables to the satisfaction of the client - all in a safe manner and whilst setting our own Reef Subsea record of installing the final four cables in three days in order to beat the adverse weather.

"To complete a project of this size was a great way to end the year and gives us inspiration for the projects ahead."

RWE Innogy UK's project director for Gwynt y Mor, Toby Edmonds, said: "Completing the installation of all 161 array cables at Gwynt y Mor was a tremendous success for the RWE and Reef Subsea project teams, who worked closely together throughout.

"At the height of installation, Reef Subsea brought in a second vessel, The Polar King, which dramatically increased installation progress enabling them to complete installation before the winter period."

The wind farm is due to be fully operational in early 2015 and will supply power for up to 400,000 homes.

Meanwhile, Reef has also recently signed a deal with the Port of Blyth to establish a service and mobilisation facility. The 1800m2 facility will comprise internal and external storage space for asset maintenance and storage, combined with office facilities.

It will allow for quick mobilisation and demobilisation of equipment which is used for installing and trenching flexible products, such as submarine power cables, umbilicals and pipelines.

Reef Subsea has grown its workforce to more than 100 since its formation in 2012.


Cable-laying vessel The Polar King working on the Gwynt y Mor Offshore Wind Farm

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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 8, 2015
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