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Offshore production

SeAH Steel to build biggest offshore wind turbine monopile facility in UK

Aug 21, 2020 (Gmt+09:00)

SeAH Steel Holdings Corporation is gearing up to construct the world's biggest monopile facility for offshore wind turbines following a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed with the UK government on August 19.

As part of the UK's offshore wind power project, SeAH Steel will build a UK-based facility that handles 160,000 tons of monopile production annually. No investment details have been disclosed, but industry sources expect about 300 billion won ($253 million) to be injected into the facility.

The UK government selected SeAH Steel as its partner given the South Korean steel company's track record of supplying foundation structures to projects in numerous regions, including Taiwan.

“We will provide full support such as arranging contracts with offshore wind businesses, selecting the most optimal site for facilities, and providing R&D business opportunities,” said Lord Grimstone of Boscobel, minister of the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

seahsteel_mou
UK Ambassador Simon Smith (left) and SeAH Steel Holdings CEO Nam Hyung-kun in Seoul Aug. 19


 

SeAH Steel will kick off commercial monopile production during the first quarter of 2023. The company aims to sell over 100 monopiles every year -- almost half of UK's monopile demand -- to raise 500 billion won in annual revenue.

A monopile is a steel tube that serves as a fixed foundation for an offshore wind turbine. Durability and corrosion-resistance are crucial for monopiles, production of which requires advanced welding techniques.

seah_monopile
Monopiles are the foundation structures on these wind turbines, seen here in yellow


 

The global offshore wind power market is developing rapidly riding on the worldwide expansion of renewable energy. According to a market research agency RCG, the market is growing at an annual average of 13% and is expected to expand to the trillion-dollar mark by 2040.

SeAH Steel plans to become the leading business in the market by fostering its offshore wind power business, starting with the UK monopile production facility.

In 2019, offshore wind-related revenue accounted for only 4% (approximately 100 billion won) of the company's 2.64 trillion won revenue. The company is expecting to boost its offshore wind business to account for about 30% of revenue in the mid to long term.

“We will strive to become a top player in the global market by specializing in the offshore wind power business,” said Lee Joo-sung, the vice president of SeAH Steel during the MOU ceremony.

The SeAH-UK monopile project was led by Lee, who pinpointed the new renewable energy market as a promising business area. There is buzz in financial circles that the project may be a stepping stone for Lee to move to the forefront of SeAH Group management.

In 1960, SeAH Group was founded by brothers Lee Woon-hyung (former chairman) and Lee Soon-hyung (current chairman). In 2018, the group transitioned into a holding company by separating into two entities: SeAH Steel Holdings and SeAH Holdings Corp. The before-mentioned Lee Joo-sung, son of the current chairman, currently oversees SeAH Steel; while Lee Tae-sung, son of the former chairman, runs SeAH Holdings.

By Man-su Choe

bebop@hankyung.com

Danbee Lee edited this article

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