The global offshore geoscience and geotechnical engineering consultancy supporting Sofia in the North East.

Cathie delivers geological, geospatial, geophysical and geotechnical engineering solutions for a wide range of offshore and near shore industries including wind, marine energy and subsea cables. Working on projects at all stages, from feasibility studies through to decommissioning, offering innovative, cost-effective solutions to clients all over the world, the company's innovative solutions enable cost effective project delivery by managing seabed risk and solving technical challenges.

Cathie has over 75GW experience in offshore wind, more than 17,000km of subsea power cable projects and a total of over 1,100 projects completed globally. The firm's Newcastle upon Tyne team, located in North East England directly west of the Sofia Offshore Wind Farm, led this exciting project.

Scope of work: Over two years Cathie carried out cable burial risk assessments (CBRA) for the proposed submarine cable system – both the array cables linking the turbines to the substation within Sofia site and the export cables bringing power to shore. The CBRA helped the Sofia team to understand the seabed environments across the site and the export cable route, and how these local conditions might pose risks to the cables once they have been installed. 

The work also included a preliminary burial assessment in this study to indicate the cable burial techniques best suited to the different geological areas of the route. In the summer/autumn 2020, Cathie will be looking at new survey data as it arrives to gain an even better insight into cable risk and potential installation techniques, again with a focus on the submarine cables and their landfall.

Economic and employment Impact: The project secured employment for Cathie's existing team and involved seven staff, including project engineers, GIS and CAD support predominantly based out of the Newcastle office with support from the London office. It also formed a key part of business growth, enabling Cathie to further recruit and sustain a double-digit growth rate.

The work performed on Sofia is a cornerstone of the firm's offshore wind subsea cable experience. The proactive and informed approach from Sofia allowed enabled the delivery of bespoke approaches and solutions for this project which will be valuable for future works in the UK, and globally.

Training and development: Cathie takes a proactive approach to training and development. All new engineers, many of which come from universities in the North East and Scotland including Newcastle and Dundee University, are encouraged to join the Graduate Training Scheme which is supported by senior members of the team. Staff are encouraged to become chartered engineers and supported throughout the process.

Regular training courses are held across the company, hosted by senior engineers to help upskill staff in key areas. Graduate engineers at Cathie helped the senior team deliver on this exciting project and remain engaged as the organisation's role in the project continues to develop.

Please find more details about the work Cathie has done with Sofia in the company's own case study here.

This type of work is invaluable to Cathie in terms of track record with major developers, and it goes a long way to expanding our knowledge base to improve our product and deliverables in the future. In addition, our input at an early stage is advantageous to all clients as we continue to grow the company into areas of the industry such as construction support, where installation issues can be foreseen by Cathie and recommendations and advice can be offered. Cathie are now able to provide an end-to-end solution for developers and contractors alike, and contracts like the work undertaken on Sofia are vital to that approach.”

- Gareth Ellis, Senior Engineer and Cables Lead

June 2020