Boskalis Offshore Subsea Services, part of Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V., was formed out of the merging of two histories, when in 2010 Boskalis acquired the maritime service provider SMIT.
At that time Boskalis was mainly a traditional dredging company, involved in activities such as land reclamation and port development, although already with a separate offshore department, it regularly undertook works in the field of seabed preparation, rock installation and landfalls. With the addition of SMIT to the Boskalis portfolio of towage, salvage, heavy lift, transport, terminals and subsea it was able to establish a larger offshore energy division, undertaking the greater level of activities in line with the merger.
The combination of having available diving support vessels (DSV), anchor handlers, tugs, transport and heavy lift equipment such as floating sheerlegs and barges, further encompasses a range of services much greater than either business was able to undertake four years ago. “Boskalis is active in 75 countries worldwide, and we benefit from a strong financial backbone and structure. The combined experience encourages opportunities of larger and higher added value projects utilising our broad knowledge and delivery of turnkey solutions. For example, we have a well developed hydrodynamics department within the company that processes workability statistics assisting the offshore division, calculating risk and workability analysis for specific offshore works, on specific locations at specific times of the year,” says Bert van der Velden, commercial director Boskalis Offshore Subsea Services.
Alongside Subsea Services’ regional offices in Dubai, Singapore and Cape Town the business utilises a department in the Netherlands for its global operations from which it centralises functions such as project management, engineering, procurement and tendering. “Commercially we are active in regions close to clients but centralisation ensures that knowledge can be shared across multiple regions with the most up-to-date knowledge for tenders and operations. We operate across the North Sea with two dedicated DSV’s, currently one in West Africa, and we are executing a project in Brazil with the vessel Smit Kamara, working for Petrobras. We have another vessel (Smit Komodo) in the Middle East in Dubai, performing air and saturation diving and ROV operations, as well as being active in the Far East from our Singapore base.”
The latest acquisitions of Dockwise and Fairmount Marine into the Offshore Energy group structure further contribute to the growth in offshore, particularly with turnkey transport and installation packages. “Within our market we have seen growing demand, both with long-term and spot agreements for our diving support vessels,” points out Bert. Boskalis has enjoyed progress within dredging, towage, salvage, infrastructure and the offshore division, which has contributed to a greater amount of growth. The addition of Dockwise has also contributed greatly to its performance. “Our clients appreciate our service, delivering a reliable and safe performance, but we are also conceived as being flexible, something that the market today demands,” he adds.
The Subsea Services business has recently completed a project within the North Sea focusing on the lifetime extension of a jacket for Maersk Oil in Denmark. The two year programme, involving more than 300 vessel days for its DSV’s saw the complete execution and subsea refurbishment of the Dan steel jacket involving Subsea 3D photogrammetric modelling to support the design and fabrication of new steel structures. Commenting on the project, Bert says: “Utilising two of our DSV’s and incorporating air diving and saturation diving we have successfully installed all of the structures, including a new conductor guide level and several reinforced clamp around the jacket structure. This provides the jacket with a 40-year lifetime extension, and is one of the first significant lifetime extensions of a platform in the North Sea.”
Comparing the age of the assets in the North Sea with the amount of gas available for extraction, Boskalis recognises the future opportunities available with the experience that it has captured. “We are active on the Danish, Dutch and UK sectors of the Southern North Sea and with the addition of our saturation diving DSV, the Constructor, we have been able to enter the diving market in the Central North Sea sector of the North Sea as well. We believe that the Southern and Central North Sea holds a good market share for us to tackle,” highlights Bert. The market in West Africa further provides an alternate location for activity, and the single bell saturation diving vessel it operates has proved to be appreciated for capabilities it offers to the market.
Through its dedicated HR and recruitment department, Boskalis operates a large in-house training and development programme for staff and fleet personnel, offering an offshore professional programme to further develop skills and integrate new talent into the business. “We also have a ‘young professional’ programme for graduates and those beginning their career. We run two trainee programmes each year, in which graduates work across business units to gain a well rounded experience within the company. Foreseeing possibilities of expansion offshore, Boskalis has developed a three-year strategy that addresses focus, expansion and strengthening. Through focusing on the market, we target regional focus as well as value added assets. We also want to expand, and see that our most attractive growth potential is in offshore energy, and to tackle this, we must strengthen both the fleet and the workforce,” concludes Bert.
Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V. is a leading global services provider operating in the dredging, maritime infrastructure and maritime services sectors. The company provides creative and innovative all-round solutions to infrastructural challenges in the maritime, coastal and delta regions of the world with the construction and maintenance of ports and waterways, land reclamation, coastal defense and riverbank protection. In addition, Boskalis offers a wide variety of marine services and contracting for the offshore energy sector including subsea, heavy transport, lifting and installation (through Boskalis Offshore and Dockwise) and towage and salvage (through SMIT). It also has a strategic partnership in terminal services (Smit Lamnalco). With a versatile fleet of over 1100 units Boskalis operates in around 75 countries across six continents. Including its share in partnerships, Boskalis has more than 11,000 employees.
Boskalis Offshore Subsea Services
Services: Full range of subsea services