with Michael Kristensen, Vice President, Lauritzen Offshore Services Brazil
You worked for Lauritzen in Brazil at the beginning of the year 2001 and now after a few years working around the world you are back. In your opinion, what has changed in the Brazilian oil and gas industry?
Everything has become bigger! When I first arrived in Brazil with Lauritzen we were on the premises of the oil and gas industry in the country. The sector had been restructured three years before and the country’s relevance to international players had already begun to develop. Today this has multiplied dramatically and Brazil is at the heart of the international oil and gas industry; everyone is talking about the country and most companies that you will find around the world are present here in Rio de Janeiro. The importance of the oil and gas industry to the country and to the state has grown, as has the number of oil and gas and related companies that you can find here. What is even better is that there does not appear to be an end to this huge rate of growth; indeed we are now at a point where regardless what happens in the upcoming elections, there will continue to be an increasing demand for services in Brazil.
Lauritzen Offshore Services as it is today was created in 2007. How can such a young company prove its credibility in the large and challenging market that is Brazil and secure contracts, while competing with giants such as its Maersk?
You are right to say that Lauritzen Offshore Services is a young company, however we can rely on the years of experience of our group – created at the end of the nineteenth century – its international network and reputation, which also gives us access to an invaluable knowledge base. We can always leverage on our history as a shipping company.
Today our competitive edge relies on the training of our human resources both on and offshore. We have a very low turnover and I believe that our employees are proud to be part of Lauritzen Offshore Services. Training is absolutely fundamental to us. For example we have started a training program for Dynamic Positioning (DP) officers. All the current seafarers who will be involved with DP have to go through a series of in-house courses. These training programs have been running for the past couple of years. We partner with several service providers in order that we can procure the most qualified employees, as well as provide our clients with the highly trained workforce that they may not otherwise be able to find on their own.
Moreover I must say that one of our greatest strengths is that Lauritzen Offshore Services has since its creation always been focused on Brazil. Since the beginning, we established that this was to be our market; this has given us a considerable advantage, since our efforts have been focused in one direction.
One of your first contracts was with Statoil in the Peregrino field, but you have since secured many contracts with Petrobras. How important is your relationship with Petrobras today in comparison to that with the other operators in the country?
I must stress that we do not have one client that is necessarily more important than another. It goes without saying that Petrobras and its subsidiaries are an important part of our market, but there are many others who are also significant.
The Dan Swift has been nominated for Lloyd’s ship of the year 2010 award. What would such recognition mean for you?
Obviously it is an honor to be recognized and getting such an award would demonstrate our commitment to providing high quality vessels using cutting edge technology. However we do not work for prizes and recognitions and we are above all focused on supporting our clients and the Brazilian industry in general.
Dan Swift is the first DP offshore accommodation and support vessel available in the sector; it can accommodate 250 offshore workers, plus the crew and catering staff, which is altogether quite impressive. Thanks to the DP technology it can now operate in any waters regardless of the depth.
What do you intend to bring to the Brazilian market?
First of all, we offer a technology that is quite particular and not widely available around the country. We want to take part in the development of the offshore resources, and I am willing to show that we are willing to take this leap for the sector’s continued development. We started Lauritzen Offshore Services with focus mainly on Brazil, and the fact is, although we have strong roots in Denmark, we truly feel today that Lauritzen Offshore Services has become a fully Brazilian company.
Where do you want the company to stand by 2015, and how important a role do you foresee Brazil playing to the group as a whole?
Ultimately we want to become a fully fledged Brazilian offshore shipping company. We want to increase our cooperation with our current customers and be able to provide them with more services of the same high quality tailored to their specific needs. As I mentioned before, Brazil is the area of focus for Lauritzen Offshore Services and it will be an integral part of our business in the years to come.