Having designed the piles to contend with complex and varied seabed geology, this stage of the project required DEME Offshore's specialist installation vessel Apollo to carefully drive each of the 309 piles into place within strict positional and vertical tolerances.
This highly precise operation was achieved through the use of innovative pile engineering and the development of a patented piling template, designed to integrate with the jack-up legs of Apollo.
As well as this, DEME Offshore developed a special underwater drilling tool to cope with hard and rocky layers and relief drilling to install the piles in the challenging conditions.
DEME Offshore was supported by the services of a number of specialist UK companies and particularly notes those which conducted heavy fabrication works at Arnish and Methil, and those that provided onshore logistical services via facilities at Invergordon.
The second stage of offshore works will be undertaken by DEME Offshore's newly built, next-generation offshore installation vessel Orion, which will integrate 103 jacket foundation structures and three topside modules with the pin piles now in place.
Bart De Poorter, GM DEME Offshore, said: "This major project milestone highlights our technical expertise whereby we are delivering innovative solutions for the most challenging projects in the offshore wind industry. We would like to thank our partners and stakeholders in this project for the successful collaboration. Our teams will now fully focus on the preparation of the installation of the foundations, which will be the very first project for our giant new offshore installation vessel Orion."
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