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Interview

Jean-Michel Berud – CEO, JIFMAR Offshore Services – France

27.07.2015 / Energyboardroom

Marseilles-based JIFMAR celebrates 10 years of track record for the supply of integrated marine services. With a fleet of 15 vessels, JIFMAR’s CEO discusses the recent acquisition of the very innovative Roxane Z vessel, a very first of its kind.

In 2015, JIFMAR will be celebrating 10 years of its existence. Could you please introduce your company to our audience?

JIFMAR delivers integrated marine services to various industries, including the defense market and marine renewable energies. We enjoy a 10 years track record of successfully conducting business.

Our oil & gas activity represents approximately 50% of our turnover. JIFMAR was initially founded as a logistics company, which provided innovative solutions to French oil & gas companies. We have always focused on exploiting versatile vessels. Our vessels can be employed towards every sector we are involved in, which warrants great flexibility during periods of economic slowdowns.

Your activity comprises three main streams: IMR for Oil & Gas terminals, marine works and project management. Which segment constitutes your most significant asset?  

JIFMAR indeed provides long term IMR service contracts for offshore oil and gas terminal operators and owners, providing maintenance above and below water on CALMs and SPMs, floating and subsea hose, cable, moorings and PLEMS.

Our fleet composed of 15 vessels, constitutes our greatest asset. We recently took the initiative of acquiring a very innovative vessel that is the very first of its kind.

Being DP 2 and 4 points anchoring, Roxane Z is a highly versatile vessel incorporating two cranes (340 TM & 230 TM) and 4 winches (125T, 50T and 2 times 125T), amongst other assets.

Roxane Z is able to undertake a large range of missions such as assistance to cabling and piping, anchor handling, platform supply, diving and ROV support etc.

We are confident this new vessel will contribute to the success of our client’s long-term, in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

Did your company’s performance in 2014 reflect your excellent results earned between 2010 and 2013? What is the outlook for 2015, knowing crumbling crude prices are prompting oil and gas majors to cut spending and defer contracts?

2014 was a transition year for JIFMAR. We previously achieved the remarkable feat of doubling our revenues between 2010 and 2013. Last year, we decided to concentrate on strengthening and consolidating our ongoing projects. We have also been hiring a considerable number of professionals; from 70 to 120 in less than two years. It was important for JIFMAR to reflect upon its success and take the time to evaluate our projects and products in order to implement the suitable strategy and necessary readjustments for the future. In 2014, we also received the GEP-AFTP award, which was matched with a financial compensation.

For 2015, we are proud to announce that we were recently contracted for two very noteworthy projects. The first one is for Perenco, which we unveiled last February, for the maintenance support of their rigs offshore Congo. The vessels in use are Jifworker and Jifspider. The second contract is in the defense sector and will employ two of our new vessels. Both projects are 6-year contracts and represent EUR 11 million (approximately USD 11.84 million) in revenue between now and 2021. Our ability to secure new contracts is of course, very reassuring for our investors and financial partners.  

You are currently contracted by prestigious E&P players like Total, BP, and as you mentioned, Perenco. How are you coping with the majors’ intensifying demands, expectations and spending cuts?

The management team’s previous experience in the cable and oil industry has proven to be invaluable when dealing with clients. When JIFMAR was created, every associate subscribed to the philosophy of winning calls for tender, signing new contracts and pitching our services to convince clients. I would also like to highlight that our young company was capable of becoming ISO-certified in less than two years. JIFMAR is continuously trying to address issues related to the quality and safety of our services. Within this context, we recently hired a pool of very talented engineers who have the utmost qualifications to address these matters.

JIFMAR Offshore Services has subsidiaries in the UK, Algeria and the Ivory Coast. You recently inaugurated a new office in Congo. How are these subsidiaries performing?  

I believe that at our current stage of development, we can safely expand internationally. We currently have a subsidiary in the UK, which is focused on renewables and displaying encouraging signs of development, and we now also have an office in Houston. Our British and American affiliates handle our projects in Malta and Nigeria, which are maturing at a robust pace.

Our largest subsidiary at the moment is located in Pointe Noire-Congo where we dispatched three vessels and currently employ more than thirty people. Two years ago, we were actively looking into Malaysia, before we decided to emphasize instead on our promising prospects in Mozambique. For the time being, we are going through a partner that is actually based in Dubai, but with a good understand of the Eastern African market. We also set up an office in Mayotte, an overseas department and region of France off the coast of the northern Mozambique Channel, for obvious strategic reasons.

We have however decided to put our activities in Algeria and in the Ivory Coast on hold, while fully retracting from Libya in light of the ongoing political unrest.

Our main objective is to achieve 55% of our turnover abroad, and things are well under process. We can do complicated and complex jobs in safe conditions, and that is our key message.

JIFMAR Offshore services has partnered with the French Public Investment bank since the creation of the company. What role has the BPI played in helping your company grow?

We are very grateful to the French Public Investment bank for the substantial amount of help they have provided us with ever since our establishment. The BPI has acted as guarantor on several loans, which we took out and has granted us a few million euros in funding. It is a very efficient institution, which is surprisingly aware of recent technological developments and profoundly supportive of innovative SME’s. Overall the French banking system is tremendously involved in the oil and gas industry and devoted to offer financial support.

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