Jippes Huibregtse – Commercial Manager, Conquest Offshore – Netherlands
The commercial manager of Conquest Offshore talks about how company partnerships have led to significant growth, the diversification of their services portfolio, future market growth, and how Conquest Offshore’s heavy lift crane helped salvage the Costa Concordia Cruise Ship.
Can you please introduce Conquest Offshore to our international readers and explain your brief history?
Conquest Offshore was founded in 2012 and operates a 1400 ton cranebarge internationally. Conquests mission is to be an internationally recognised, resourceful and reliable heavy lift partner providing the tools for marine construction, offshore wind installation, salvage and decommissioning. Conquest Offshore is a Dutch joint venture between Paul van Es Holding and Zwagerman Offshore Services.
What is the added value in having Conquest Offshore in a joint venture?
We believe in a Dutch sayings that “if we cannot divide or share then we cannot multiply” and “one plus one equals three.” Consequently, management of the joint venture Conquest Offshore strongly believes that through our common objectives we posses the capabilities to leverage our companies’ strengths to grow and take on larger projects.
The Van Es Holding group compliments our offering as it supplies, maintains and services heavy equipment anywhere in the world, while Zwagerman is a third generation family-run company with extensive expertise in the heavy lift crane business. This partnership makes our service portfolio more dynamic and more readily available to different markets, and, as we are able to offer potential clients new services stemming from these partnerships. Our growing portfolio also makes, former competitors become clients.
We believe that with the right tool every job is possible by taking the best people, innovation and proven methods in preparing our floating equipment for multiple applications. The crane barge Conquest MB1 is a big floating crane specialized in lifting heavy loads that can be used for offshore construction. Overall, Conquest Offshore is thrilled to be part of such an exciting collaboration of companies because it allows us to us to showcase the capabilities of our heavy lift vessels for Construction and installation, decommissioning, and heavy lifting. Conquest’s slogan is “From Challenge to Conquest!”.
Conquest Offshore participated in the salvage of the Costa Concordia Cruise Ship. Please explain what technologies you used to raise this massive ship?
The young and dynamic Conquest Offshore assisted, the Italian based MICOPERI SRL, and the American based Titan Salvage in this project. We contributed both with our massive MB1 heavy lift crane and our crew. This cranebarge provided an intricate element of the salvage, as it provided the installation of sponsoons. We were able to lift and connect these large up till 850 ton “ boxes” to the ship. When the water was pumped out bouncy was created allowing the ship to ultimately be raised from the seabed and float back to Genua for demolition. In the end, we were able to lend a hand in this tragedy, which resulted in a lot of exposure.
What technologies and innovations are you currently developing relating to energy, oil and gas?
Currently, there is a need for less expensive methods to offshore installation. For instance in offshore wind farms for energy use. In order to lower the costs, innovative new technologies are necessary. Conquest Offshore is providing floating installing of the foundations of the windmills, which help lower costs. Our innovative contribution is the implementation of motion compensated technologies that cancel between 90-95% of all motions caused by the ocean. I firmly believe that this is the future of offshore energy sources, and I am very keen to see Conquest Offshore play a part in this change.
What market niches does Conquest Offshore currently see as the most viable in the North Sea?
The North Sea has fewer projects relating to oil and gas as a result of the challenging oil prices and the lower level of remaining oil reserves in many basins. However, the North Sea and surrounding areas is rapidly developing offshore windmill energy farms, and our large crane vessels can contribute to this growing sector via the floating installation of foundations like monopiles and transition pieces. With the large deck space with innovative skidding systems, monopiles upending system, and Motion Compensated Pile Installation all of which bring down the prices of windmill energy costs.
What projects are you working on surrounding decommissioning?
The issue many oil and gas companies have with decommissioning is that it comes at after the production of revenue, and with a very steep price presents a negative investment. In some cases environmental damaging oil spills have set removal in a faster pace. Clear examples are disasters like in the Gulf of Mexico. In the North Sea and surrounding areas there are platforms to be removed, but it is a work in progress and large vessels, like the recent completed Pioneering Spirit will allow for large topsides and jackets to be removed in one haul.
How does Conquest Offshore seek to expand its offering internationally?
Outside the North Sea, we hope to expand our work into other markets niches, such as Western Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East. As we possess the capacity to act independently, we are entering these new markets independently. In parallel, by acquiring a 500-floating-ton crane we are expanding our assets to widen our service offering, and, in the coming years, we will acquire larger floating cranes.
Where do you see Conquest Offshore in five years?
Considering the healthy growth we have seen since inception in 2012, we have high hopes for the company. Specifically, as said before we will acquire two or three more crane barges, which will allow us to conquer the offshore wind, oil and gas, installation, salvage and construction markets more competitively. All in all, our company motto “from challenge to conquest” is coming into fruition more and more every day.