George Stroud, Chief Executive Officer, Marin Group, UK
George Stroud, Executive Director of Marin Groups, UK, discusses his company’s values, its unique offering recovering dropped assets—including blow out preventers in deep sea environments—and the company’s unique and innovative range of subsea excavation tools.
What are the key services that lead to the majority of Marin contracts?
Ninety percent of the time our client is looking for a fast, practical and cost-effective approach in resolving his/her challenge or issue. We try to be as cost-effective as possible but will not sacrifice quality to achieve this goal. Additionally, Marin holds an exclusive position within the marketplace. Our product line, which includes 98 percent of high volume and mass flow excavation tools, is second to none and for this reason, globally, we provide the largest selection of mass flow excavation tools. Whether it is troubleshooting a blowout preventer (BOP) in a mile and a half deep-water or hurricane hardening of pipelines, we are offer business due to the fact that we are adept at solving problems.
You said you were tech-led; what is the driving force behind that technology development?
Marin has been developing entirely novel technology since it began, our line of tools started with the original remote underwater excavator, then moved to utilize jet prop technology, and now features our up to date ‘Evo-tools’ range. So we have reached a point where the evolution tools are entering the market and from this point we have plans to develop the innovation tools (EVO-I tools). These are ultra-deep water tools with greater performances and will become representative of what we offer on a daily basis.
What opportunities did you see in the market that encouraged you to create and develop Marin?
Seeing an increasing shift from shallow to deepwater operations, we were in a position to deliver technological tools and services that met these new challenges. Marin’s endless journey in improving and developing technologies has created a global demand for our products.
As a company that works with dropped BOPs and lost assets, how did you enter this field and why is no one else doing it?
My background is in the oil and gas drilling industry and I was involved in the growth of trail-blazing companies in the North Sea that supported the oil and gas operators. I started at the bottom of this industry and worked all the way to my current role. During my time, we were seeing more and more clients who were at risk of losing assets during subsea operations. One quickly understands that drilling equipment and assets are of extremely high value. One of the main subsea challenges is when a blowout preventer, for example, goes into the mud. It has to be dug out. Marin is the only company that has developed technology and excavation equipment to recover the assets.
In 2013, you acquired AGR. How has this acquisition affected Marine Group?
This deal saw Marin buy back the technology and assets it originally developed for seabed intervention, which were sold to AGR when it bought Marin’s old company SeaVation in 2006.
In terms of these market trends, many assets operating in the North Sea have been there for a long time. Is this affecting your business operations?
One has to look at the aging assets and infrastructure in the North Sea. There are significant aging assets like the Shell units soon to be renewed, which will be treated again more as a greenfield site rather than a brownfield one. Marin had the foresight to look at the requirements of the marketplace and can offer much more than just excavation services. For instance we are able to cut pipelines, excavate and recover dropped assets. We are promoting ourselves to be the first choice for any operator that wants to utilize our services and tools on a global front.
How do you retain high quality staff?
Marin is a ‘one of a kind’ business. No other Company offers our services as an international asset recovery organization. Many of our employees use the opportunities we provide as a stepping-stone and gateway into the oil and gas industry, and employees who work for us gain an advantage across the industry by working with our diverse scope of services. Our employees gain experience in a multi-disciplined role. Because of all these benefits, we have employees who have been with us for a long time.
How would you describe your management style and how does this affect your personnel decisions?
I think it is important to encourage people to be the best they can be by allowing every individual to have a say and put forward their own ideas. Creating a personal and friendly working environment within Marin is hugely important to me. My door is always open to my employees and I like to think our company culture is one similar to that of a close family.
What is your international strategy and what are the key prospects for growth?
We have a truly global presence and recently opened a new subsea facility in Louisiana to support the growing demands of our customers.
Expanding overseas has been a primary focus over the last few months. The Gulf Coast represents an important market for supporting our Americas deepwater operations. Our new base shows our commitment to this region and will enable us to continue to provide strategic and effective support for our customers.
Marin is driven by excellence and honesty, especially as we try to offer high quality, cost effective solutions. In the future, we expect potential partners to approach us to install our operations onboard their own vessels.
Where do you see this business growing in the next five years?
I expect Marin to enjoy continued growth, to remain a business of significant value, and a place where employees can become world experts. I also hope to increase our service portfolio for our clients, as the services we provide are a key staple of our reputation.