Norwegian energy giant Equinor has moved to secure platform supply vessels (PSVs) via charters worth more than NOK 2.5bn ($236m) including options.

The company said term contracts for six ships in the North Sea have been awarded to five domestic shipowners in total.

Simon Mokster Shipping owns two of these — the 5,300-dwt Stril Luna (built 2014) and Stril Mar (built 2016).

Island Offshore Management controls the 4,750-dwt Island Crusader (built 2012), while Eidesvik Offshore is contributing the 2,500-dwt Viking Avant (built 2004) and Remoy Shipping has chartered out the 4,400-dwt Rem Hrist (built 2011).

The final ship is Skansi Offshore’s 4,500-dwt Kongsborg (built 2013).

The contracts will take effect before the end of 2022.

There is a firm period of three years, with three options of 12 months each.

The vessels will support Equinor’s activities on the Norwegian continental shelf.

Mette Ottoy, Equinor’s chief procurement officer, said: “We are pleased to secure contracts with suppliers which have a solid safety culture, and the necessary capabilities to ensure safe and efficient operations for Equinor.

“Long-term commitments are mutually beneficial to Equinor and our suppliers. They ensure predictability and form the foundation for innovative solutions to improve on all aspects of our collaboration, including reduction of emissions from our operations.”

In addition to the new deals, Equinor has extended a contract with Island Offshore for the 5,300-dwt Island Clipper (built 2015) for four years.

The vessel is a combined PSV/walk-to-work unit.

Ammonia ambitions

The Island Clipper has supported the Oseberg field in the past and is scheduled to also work on the Hywind Tampen offshore wind farm.

As part of the agreement, there is a joint commitment to pursue possibilities to modify the Island Crusader and the Kongsborg to be powered by ammonia fuel.

Equinor said this will be carried out in two separate projects involving a number of sub-suppliers throughout the maritime industry.

The overall goal is to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 90%. All six newly chartered vessels either have, or will get, a battery installed for hybrid operations.

The agreements also include a requirement for one cadet or ordinary seaman to work on each shift, which Equinor views as “a recruitment contribution” to the maritime industry.

Orjan Kvelvane, senior vice president for joint operations support at Equinor, said: “We are dependent on supply vessels like these to support our more than 40 fields in operation on the Norwegian continental shelf, and we look forward to collaborating with the shipowners and crews for many years to come.”

Big charterer

At any one time, around 30 supply vessels from a large number of shipowners are in service with Equinor.

Standby vessels and anchor-handling tug supply ships are also chartered in.

About 900 seafarers work on the PSVs.

In 2021, the vessels transported almost 2m tonnes of cargo to and from Equinor’s platforms.

Most of the vessels are on longer-term contracts of three or more years, but there are also several vessels on shorter-term contracts and some are from the spot market.

Norwegian shipbroker Westshore assesses current North Sea spot rates for PSVs at £15,000 ($16,900) per day.