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Interview

Peter Uitbeijerse – CEO, Global Maritime Vryhof – Netherlands

28.07.2015 / Energyboardroom

The CEO of Global Maritime Vryhof highlights the rich history of the company that recently delivered its 10,000th anchor, Vryhof’s entry into the Global Maritime Group and how Vryhof’’s anchor solutions are predictable, sustainable and lower risk, all the while being cost effective and suitable for increasingly complex offshore projects.

Please give an overview of where Global Maritime Vryhof stands today and describe what direction you would like to take the company now as CEO.

Vryhof has a long history and provides a wide scope of drag embedded anchors, related mooring components and equipment for the offshore energy industry, floating structures, and offshore civil structures. Since the foundation of the company in the early seventies, Vryhof’s proven and trusted anchor designs have become the industry standard and are recognised as being best in predictability, performance and handling. With focus on customer satisfaction, Vryhof is the preferred partner for mooring systems in all water depths and conditions. Proud to be market leader and industry benchmark, Vryhof will continue to drive technology forward, with the highest focus on customer satisfaction.

One of my key objectives as CEO is to develop Vryhof to a broader foundation expert by developing new anchor types, containing innovative technology, and diversify into other mooring solutions.

In line with the company’s own longstanding history, the Netherlands also boasts a historical presence within the oil and gas industry, exhibiting a multitude of capabilities across the sector. What is the importance of your Dutch heritage?

Vryhof was born in the 1970 as part of the Dutch dredging industry ecosystem, when the oil and gas industry started operation offshore the initial technology was borrowed from the dredges, Vryhof quickly developed high holding power anchors to meet the growing need within the offshore industry.

Thanks to our Dutch entrepreneurial and engineering-prone attitude, we were able to spread these quality products over the world. By listening to our clients we increased the predictability, performance and handling of our products. In the past years, we have continued spreading our innovation globally, while also adding local content and local flavour to our operations. As a Dutch company with offices in all the major oil and gas hubs from Houston to Rotterdam, and Singapore, as well as France and Brazil, we mix our Dutch DNA with the skills and cultures of the countries in which we operate.

What is the current breakdown of your product portfolio?

At the moment, the majority of our revenue comes from existing drag embedded anchor and related services.

In 2014 Vryhof acquired Swedish leader connector company MoorLink, with this acquisition we have expanded our “engineered products scope” to include mooring line components of high spec. In addition to increasing not only our portfolio of anchors and our range of products, we want to partner with our clients to deliver an entire mooring service.

The current downturn in oil prices has created a challenging operating environment for all players across the oil and gas value chain. How can companies unlock more value by partnering with Global Maritime Vryhof, as opposed to some of your peers in the market?

If you are looking to offshore mooring and foundation, one of the highest costs is a failure in operations. Vryhof’s long-standing knowledge and ability to predict anchor behaviour in the soil allows us to help our clients to reduce the risk of a failure, which of course reduces the overall cost of installation. Thanks to Vryhof’s solutions, our geotechnical expertise, and our long history of delivering more than 10,000 anchors, we are able to truly partner with clients. Not only do we offer the highest quality product, but also a wealth of invaluable industry knowledge derived from our professionals and the database of all our installed anchors in the world. We can thus advise clients on which anchor will fit them best and share with them the behaviour of the anchor, thus significantly reducing risk and increasing predictability. All our products are class certified, showing an independent vote of confidence as to our predictable and stable products. Last but not least, Vryhof Drag embedment Anchors offers cost-efficient solutions. Compared with other mooring solutions, an anchor is the least expensive and most reliable method. Our total package – from reliability to knowledge and costs savings- reduces risks and garners continued business with clients around the globe.

How has Vryhof’s flagship drag embedment anchors evolved since the original Stevin® anchor design?

Our portfolio has evolved to become stronger, more stable, and more predictable, in line with industry needs. The Stevin® anchor boasted an impressive holding capacity of 25 times its own weight, while our new Stevpris® anchor design has a holding capacity of over 100 times its own weight. The safety features of the anchors have also improved. From the Stevpris® MK5 anchor with a very tight top angle, we have now moved to a broader top angle with the Stevpris® MK6 anchor. An anchor can flip more easily with a tighter angle, so our broadening of the top angle represents a big improvement in terms of handling and safety. A major emphasis over the years has also been placed on health, safety and environment, these improvements has helped our client manage anchors in more challenging weather conditions.

We work to ensure that our portfolio is ever more easy to handle and easy to operate. Consistently aligning with clients is one of the pillars in our commitment to improving our products in terms of handling and safety and have made our anchor the best of handle in the offshore industry.

Since the company’s inception, Vryhof’s portfolio has not only expanded beyond different market segments, but also in the breadth of offerings, now with tensioning equipment, mooring lines, and specialized engineering. What R&D projects does the company have in its pipeline to further enhance its set of value-added products and services?

One of Vryhof’s strongest points is our focus on R&D and continued innovation. All the anchors we make are tailor-made for the specific location, platform, and soil. Our R&D efforts not only respond to client wishes, but we also work in-house to design new anchors with such features as higher holding capacities, stability and predictability. We also respond to industry trends and, for example, have developed vertical loading anchors (VLA) for ultra deep waters. This plate anchor can withstand extreme depths and offers a cost-effective solution for deep water mooring, with the same benefits as High Holding Power anchors. Recent developments include an anchor for hard soil, and new tensioning equipment to lower installation time. Furthermore since the acquisition of MoorLink, and we have proceeded now to integrating the mooring components, including swivels and clamps, with Vryhof’s product suite. Our collaborations with top universities to develop anchors and mooring solutions for the marine renewable energy sector offer another innovation element pushing the company forward. Nonetheless, we have to always strive to be more creative to clients and more open to help clients with novel solutions based on our knowledge and understanding of geotechnical side of the business.

Global Maritime Vryhof recently become a part of a consolidated collective comprising of four other companies to produce the Global Maritime Group. How will this newly established group enhance the company’s competencies and further enable its growth ambitions?

The Global Maritime Group, formed in 2015, brings together four quality independent divisions into one strong maritime group, with over 650 employees in 26 countries. Being part of a larger group, we can pull upon this talent and reach more markets, while also bringing the strengths of a combined collective.

Through the merger we’re ramping up and positioning the new divisions for further growth. We’ve already noticed and experienced that markets for this type of specialist expertise are growing sharply. In the current market conditions the large contractors are re-organizing their outsourcing strategies and we, as a group are able to anticipate in order to present them an all-in service package as EPCI contractor in niches and in the marine renewables industry. The group is organized in such a manner that our clients can benefit from this unique blend of capabilities. It has been and will always be our policy to provide customers with quality products and services at a fair price and not let other motives influence our strategy.

As a result of the government’s energy agreement for sustainable growth has constituted extensive investments in marine renewable energies—a trend that Global Maritime Vryhof has managed to capitalized on. How much of the company’s portfolio is composed of marine renewable projects?

We are the world market leader for anchored floating renewable energy devices with an approximately 90% market share. These projects, based in Europe, Asia, and the USA, however, have all been “demonstration projects”. ‘Farm scale” projects are still to come, and we look forward to commercialization in the next three to ten years, as this will have a significant impact on Vryhof as a group. In general, we offer services like engineering and consultancy and in the execution stage of providing anchors and other components.

When we met Hugo Heerema of Bluewater, he depicted the country’s commitment towards developing clean and sustainability energy through the consortium of Dutch companies that participated in the Texel Tidal Energy Project. Can you elaborate on Global Maritime Vryhof’s role in furthering the ingenuity of Bluewater’s BlueTEC modular tidal energy device?

Vryhof helps everyone working on Floating renewables concepts. We have contributed to at least 100 projects. We are happy to partner at early stages of projects and contribute our expertise on the mooring side.

Our cost-effective, predictable, and stable solution lowered the uncertainty of the BlueTEC modular tidal energy device, thus decreasing the risk of failure and improved the return on investment. Our knowledge and design were our strong contribution to this collaborative effort. We strongly believe in the future of offshore renewables projects. With projects like BlueTEC and beyond, our 40 years of history in the offshore energy sector can be directly applied to offshore renewables. When a question arises on mooring a floater, be it for oil and gas or renewables, we know the best solution. During installation of the BlueTEC modular tidal energy device

What are your personal leadership philosophies on chartering success for a company like Global Maritime Vryhof?

I believe in innovation and finding innovative solutions. Develop new and smarter and solutions based on clients needs. The industry is moving, and we have to move as well, not simply following industry trends but actually leading in the industry with more innovative technology. I want to help our clients to lower their risks and cost of installation with quality products and services at a fair price.

 

Click here to read more articles and interviews from the Netherlands, and to download the latest free oil and gas report on the country.

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