Experiences from building Ulstein designs at external yards


A well-known and recognized design, involvement from the designers in the planning phase and Ulstein’s knowledge of the market demands and optimal solutions in all aspects of the vessel were important when the shipowner Golden Energy Offshore decided to build two newbuilds in China with assistance from Ulstein.

This article is an extract from the Webinar: Building at external yards with assistance from Ulstein

Ulstein is a group of companies, with its own yard in Norway. Many vessels have been built at the Ulstein yard, but the group also has broad experience from shipbuilding at shipyards all over the world, including South America, Europe and Asia. The newbuilding experience includes vessels in offshore Renewables, RoPax, Yachting, Cruise and offshore oil and gas.

Shipowner experiences

Golden Energy Offshore is a well-established, fully integrated ship owning, shipping and offshore service company with experience from building Ulstein designed vessels at a Chinese yard. Their CEO Per Ivar Fagervoll at Golden Energy Offshore comments on their experiences:

“Golden Energy Offshore contracted two platform supply vessels of Ulstein design at the ROC yard in Qidong. The delivery from Ulstein included basic design, engineering, main equipment, site follow up and commissioning. With a head office in Norway, we saw the value of the geographical closeness to the Ulstein design project team in Norway and we kept close contact with them throughout the projects. Also, the team provided by Ulstein at the yard in China took care of our interests locally”.

“For us, it was important to focus on a well-known and recognized design, involvement from the designers in the planning phase and to utilize our inhouse and Ulstein’s knowledge of the market demands and optimal solutions in all aspects of the vessel. This goes for planning on the specifications and the makers, quoting yards and the subsequent plan and approval phase. Delivery of the main equipment from well-known suppliers includes commissioning. The design and engineering specification is also a matter of managing risk and the cost control, and we value the option to cherry-pick from the makers’ list.”

“All of this has been tied in together with the Integrated Automation System and the Power Management System, the IAS and the PMS, from Ulstein. The local team at the yard, the support and follow-up on all these activities and the management of risk locally, together with the shipyard and our onboard site team, were valuable assets to us. All the pre-commissioning which was done by Ulstein also gives good predictability on the project and helps to manage risk.”

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Working closely with the shipowner in the shipbuilding process

“We need to address the customers’ needs and then match these needs with our experience and way of working, and to look for what we think will be the best option for the owner,” says Lars Ståle Skoge, Commercial Director at Ulstein Design & Solutions, adding:

“There are some elements that we find important to improve performance and quality in a project and how this supports reaching the agreed delivery time of the vessel”.

“Firstly, Ulstein takes on responsibility for all design, engineering and integration of equipment. The main equipment has already been negotiated when the shipbuilding contract is signed. Therefore we are able to order the main equipment immediately after the shipbuilding contract has been placed to avoid any delay in the engineering documentation needed. Experience from cooperation with 30 different shipyards worldwide has proven that documentation is needed early to safeguard the delivery time of the vessel”.

“Considering the quality, our customers appreciate that we use proven main equipment from well-known suppliers and focus on standards and material choice that can be maintained in the area where the vessels will operate”.

“Every project depends on good cooperation between all parties involved; the ship designer, owner, interior architects, suppliers, classification societies and the yard. We also believe that our local presence with the project team and site team until vessel delivery is very good support for the different yards, assisting in problem-solving, pre-commissioning and keeping schedule”.

Complete delivery – the ‘Ulstein package’

Skoge continues:

“As part of the Ulstein concept development process, we have developed a set of Fast Track analysing tools. These tools assist us in targeting the acceptable cost level for the vessel and the business case. It also supports the process of “compromises to be made” during a concept design development. And finally, we target and suggest to the owner which shipyards we believe can manage to deliver within budget, together with Ulstein”.

“The complete delivery is often referred to as an ‘Ulstein Package’. With an Ulstein Package, the owner can compare apples to apples when receiving quotes from different yards. This, as all yards will base their offer on the same design & engineering and support from Ulstein at the yard, the same Specification, equipment makes, functionality and standards. This allows the owner to compare each yard’s impact on the yard’s own value creation and scope in the project, such as Workmanship, Quality, Delivery time and naturally, the Price”.

“Another element in the Ulstein Package is that we allow the owners to involve in which makers they want and then open for competition between suppliers to select the most suited equipment at a competitive price”.

“Overall, this has resulted in typical savings between 15% and 25% building at Asian yards compared to construction at European yards”.

Reducing risk for the owner

“A good business case is always interesting, and we believe Ulstein can impact in reducing the risk for the owner. Since 2000, Ulstein has cooperated with approximately 30 different shipyards worldwide and sold approximately 150 Ulstein ship designs. Out of these, 75 per cent are designed with the patented X-BOW. The very first X-BOW cruise vessel, the ‘Greg Mortimer’, was built at the CMHI yard in China, one of the many yards in China we have worked with over the years”, concludes Skoge.

Why did Golden Energy Offshore choose Ulstein?

“The delivery time has always been a concern and focus for the Owner,” replies Per Ivar Fagervoll.

“This is one of the important considerations for us working together with Ulstein. There are also a few more aspects that I would like to share:

Firstly, for us it was an assurance that Ulstein purchased the main equipment, the Ulstein Package. We don’t have the resources or the capabilities to contact various suppliers to get the best offers, so being presented a total deal and a total equipment package negotiated by Ulstein, followed by a makers’ list which we had the options to choose from, is the optimal solution for us. This way of doing it saved time and helped to secure the fixed cost of the project. It also secured the delivery time, as Ulstein followed up the suppliers to make sure the equipment was delivered on schedule”.

“Ulstein’s ability to deliver engineering documentation in time is also important. This can be a bottleneck if the yard must wait, and it affects the total and overall progress in the project. Consequently, Ulstein will also be in charge to secure the correct system integration”.

“In general, there is less time spent on discussing details and this makes the project more effective and organized, already from the early phase of the project”.

“Can save six months on the delivery time”

Ulstein Marine Systems represents Ulstein in China, and Sales and Marketing Director Lucy Lu comments:

“The delivery of engineering documents, the responsibility for main equipment and the integration are very important. We have learnt from our projects that the Asian yards are competent at steelwork, but often request support and guidance when it comes to electrical work and integration. These are probably the most important aspects when a shipowner is evaluating a yard’s building capability. I would also like to add that our site team at the yard supports and coordinates different parties from contract to delivery. This, together with the early purchase of main equipment and focus on system integration can save six months on the delivery time. We have over the years seen that this is a very effective way of working in a project”.

For a full version of this article, please watch the webinar ‘Building at external yards with assistance from Ulstein.”

The top photo shows from left Commercial director at Ulstein Design & Solutions AS, Lars Ståle Skoge, CEO Per Ivar Fagervoll at Golden Energy Offshore, and sales and marketing director Lucy Lu at Ulstein Marine Systems.

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