New Norwegian collaboration on offshore aquaculture

Lovundlaks-owned Utror joins with offshore engineering specialist Aibel to develop offshore salmon farming in northern Norway.
Illustration of an offshore aquaculture facility by Aibel.

Illustration of an offshore aquaculture facility by Aibel.

Image: Aibel.

A new Norwegian industry collaboration has been announced this week, aimed at advancing offshore aquaculture development in the Helgeland region of northern Norway.

Utror, an offshore aquaculture company owned by Helgeland-based salmon farmer Lovundlaks, has signed a framework agreement with offshore engineering company Aibel, to develop plans for future offshore aquaculture facilities.

According to the joint announcement, the companies "see great potential in leveraging each other's expertise to establish offshore salmon farming".

"With future generations in mind, Lovundlaks aims to be a significant contributor to a healthy and vibrant coastal community. Through our focus on aquaculture at sea, we aim to position the Helgeland coast so that the ripple effects of the future aquaculture industry can be maximized for our region. The agreement with Aibel marks an important step in this context," said Lovundlaks CEO, Jacob Palmer Meland, in a press release.

Combining Norway's salmon farming expertise with offshore know-how

“In Norway, we hold leading position within salmon farming as well as offshore operations in demanding waters. If we can combine these skills, we have great potential to significantly increase salmon production and at the same time create a whole new industry with many jobs and major ripple effects,” said Utror CEO Olav-Andreas Ervik.

The collaboration will begin with a feasibility study, with Aibel focusing on designing a pilot plant consisting of large floating steel structures of up to several thousand tonnes.

The agreement may lead to a future contract for detailed engineering and construction of the pilot plant, the companies said.

However, Utror noted, continued progress in the collaboration depends on the Norwegian authorities developing the regulatory framework for aquaculture at sea.

Aquaculture a new market for offshore engineering

For Aibel, the agreement is seen as "an important milestone" in its strategic focus on new markets.

“At Aibel, we were early to bring our experience and expertise from oil and gas into the offshore wind industry. Part of our strategy is still to look towards new markets where we can apply our expertise. Among these are hydrogen, carbon capture, biofuel, and offshore aquaculture. This is an area with large potential, and Utror is an exciting and visionary partner with a solid background from traditional fish farming and exposed aquaculture,” says Erlend Mjanger, SVP Business development at Aibel.

"If this work in the long-term leads to production of several offshore aquaculture facilities, it could create a significant number of jobs for Aibel, both within engineering and not least at the yard in Haugesund, as well as contribute to ripple effects in other parts of the country," the company stated in its announcement.

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