The Netherlands Moves Into Offshore Exploration
The Netherlands is a small country with a world-class offshore exploration sector. EnergyBoardroom’s recent report on the Dutch oil and gas sector caught the industry at a moment when some companies are preparing for better conditions in the market. This article forms part of EnergyBoardrooms’ 2015 Netherlands Report – click here to download the whole report.
The Netherlands’ continental shelf may be less active than that of its Norwegian neighbor, but offshore expertise developed locally serves the global industry. Although this market segment has been hit by a lower oil price, many Dutch companies are making lemon into lemonade and seizing the moment to increase their offshore footprint for the inevitable market upturn.
Volker Staal and Foundations (VSF), a civil contractor specializing in heavy and complex foundation work, traditionally focused on the onshore industry and stands today as a clear example of the move many have undertaken towards a dual onshore and offshore focus. Managing director Pieter Arie Kraaijeveld has steered the company’s course into the offshore, which he cites as “an extremely dynamic and interesting market due to the different types of contracts and different ways of cooperating with clients.”
“Compared to ten years ago, we’re getting more and more into offshore. Although we’re relatively small in scale as a company, we’ve started to invest in more fixed assets. For instance, we just recently rented a spot in Vlissingen to build the test jacket for the Pioneering Spirit. From our perspective, there are limitless possibilities to cooperate with other service providers in the offshore industry— further strengthening our interest,” he explains.
“Compared to ten years ago, we’re getting more and more into offshore. Although we’re relatively small in scale as a company, we’ve started to invest in more fixed assets.” – Pieter Arie Kraaijeveld, MD of Volker Staal and Foundations.
Onshore pipeline specialist Selmers has built a solid reputation for its extensive in-house R&D initiatives and expansive portfolio of pipe blasting systems, handling equipment, and coating solutions. Since his arrival as CEO in 2012, Roderik van Seumeren, has decided “to diversify the portfolio and shift towards offshore work, striving to structure a substantial percentage of our business to this particular sector by 2017.”
Meanwhile, De Regt Marine Cables joined CGG’s equip- ment-focused subsidiary Sercel in 2012, strong on over 90 years of experience in cable design. Now a leading designer and manufacturer of custom-engineered, dynamic cable solutions for subsea applications, De Regt has also deci- ded to shift towards offshore, but from a seismic rather than onshore positioning. Managing director Claude Pelzer aims “to grow the com- pany within the oil and gas and energy markets given the plethora of opportunities for innovative, value-adding companies like De Regt Marine Cables. In oil and gas and energy, our cables offer ideal solutions for remotely opera- ted vehicles (ROVs), blowout preventers (BOPs), and large trenchers, among other applications.”
“De Regt Marine Cables is focused on building long term relationships and furthering its reputation as reliable company committed to delivering the products clients actually need, especially at a time when quality and efficiency are at the top of energy companies’ agendas,” Pelzer adds.
Designer and manufacturer of specialized machinery Kreber has a long-standing presence in offshore, but new management is actively strengthening its market penetration. Director Paul Dits decided that “given the strengths of Kreber from its large manufacturing plant to its strategic location, and in-house engineering team, there was more potential for us in the offshore market.”
Kreber’s unique customer-centric offering is based upon collaborating with clients for tailored seawork ma- chinery. “Without giving away our NDAs, we continually receive inquiries from clients on how they can improve their activities and efficiencies offshore thanks to a Kreber machine that has such or such capabilities. Most of the products we develop are the result of a specific client request for which we undertake a feasibility study, develop, and market the product. We focus 100 percent of our efforts on such tailor-made solutions. In essence, every machine we build is an innovation because it is a tailor-made product and is used by clients to solve a problem that has not been solved before” affirms Dits.
In terms of pushing the limits beyond simple offshore activities, sub- sea is another horizon for the Dutch. Home grown N-Sea Group hopes to become a leading subsea IRM company after acquiring Stork’s subsea division in 2014, while equipment provider, PFF Group, one of the four companies around the globe that has an enterprise framework agreement with Shell, is now looking more into subsea. “In preparation for huge growth in the subsea business, our parent company has recently set up a subsea division within the GALPerti Group. To effectively capitalize on forecasted demand, we’re working on mo- difying or enhancing our sales activities in the region to appeal to the type of clients found in subsea,” claims CEO Richard Cornelissen.
Cornelissen also looks to international expansion to complement PFF’s growing portfolio. “We started our first non-Dutch venture in Germany about six years ago. Now, another six years down the road, we’ve ended up with 15 different branches, further fuelling our worldwide diversification initiatives across market segments and product lines,” he concludes.