Pieter van Oord, CEO Van Oord

‘Gemini is an important step to new projects’

Van Oord is the main contractor for Gemini, but also one of the shareholders. The successful family-run company has been building offshore wind parks for over ten years. The wind division is one of the company’s three core tasks. How does CEO Pieter van Oord look back at the project so far and what will he carry forward to the future?

The Gemini Wind Farm is two thirds complete. What have been your most significant experiences?

“We had a long preparation time, but that substantially contributed to a very efficient and short construction period and thus a successful implementation. Based on our Balance of Plant scope (Van Oord is constructing the complete park, excluding delivery of the turbines but including their installation, ed.), 2015 was the crucial year, with the laying of the foundations and cables. But it all went very well. And we’re now well on our way and we’ve installed more than 100 turbines.”


What makes Van Oord so suitable for a project like this?

“In 2002, we started with wind energy, in partnership with Mammoet.

In 2007, we decided to go it alone and since then we’ve constructed all the necessary parks.  In that sense, we are a real first mover, which means we now have an advantage over our competitors. An important step in the development was that we purchased a complete set of equipment to be able to do this work: our own transport and installation ship Aeolus in 2014 and the Nexus to help lay (export) cables in 2015. We also recruited lots of qualified people, who brought their knowledge and experience to both the preparation phase and the implementation phase, so that we can offer a complete package. Furthermore, specifically in the wind sector, it’s important for the main contractor to be able to manage the supply chain: the whole chain of companies that contribute to the project. This is another area where we’ve distinguished ourselves.”


How does Gemini relate to the projects that you’ve built before?

“It’s obviously by far the biggest project we’ve ever been involved in. In terms of technology, laying two export cables and burying them in the mudflats was the most difficult part of the whole project for us. That was a new dimension. In that respect, we also learned a lot. We can use that knowledge in subsequent projects. In Gemini, we trained a new generation of people, enabling us to extend our knowledge together. The challenge is to manage complex projects and risks as well as possible. For us, this makes Gemini an important step towards the future, and new jobs.”


How do you look back at your cooperation with the other shareholders?

“For us, NPI was a new company. This was a good and interesting introduction. A professional investor that has clearly played a leading role as the most important shareholder. We’d worked with Siemens before, but never as equity shareholder. Finally, our cooperation with HVC as Dutch shareholder went very well too. These companies are important to us: we hope that we can continue our cooperation on other projects.”