Maintaining independence

Founded in the Netherlands by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Peter Kutemann in 1977, Dietsmann began life as a technical assistance company, dedicated to serving those oil and gas companies in the country that were about to commence production of their first discoveries off the Dutch coast.

At the time, the majority of these companies employed their own fulltime technical personnel for operations and maintenance, however as time passed, more and more of these same companies realised that by outsourcing they could increase flexibility and operate in a more cost effective manner.

With Peter Kutemann being credited as the first individual to create an adequate and competent proposition to outsource maintenance without losing control of one’s assets, it will have come as no surprise to see Dietsmann subsequently undergo rapid international growth in the decades that followed. Recognised by the late 1980s as the world’s first multidisciplinary maintenance service company in its particular sector, it wasn’t long before its integrated operation and maintenance (IOM) concept was introduced, becoming yet another industry leading innovation in maintenance contracting.

Still to this day an independent business owned by its founder, Dietsmann has become the largest independent services company to specialise in the operations and maintenance of oil and gas, LNG and power utility production plants: “In short, what Dietsmann has become an expert in, is the maintaining of its clients’ production facilities, allowing them to operate at the minimum possible cost,” Peter Kutemann states. “Operation and maintenance (O&M) is a very comprehensive activity, one that starts with gaining an understanding of the plant or facility and its processes, together with the individual objectives of its owner.

“What the client soon finds is that effective maintenance increases the up-time of the facility in question. In addition to increasing operating revenue, professional maintenance also extends the productive lifespan of the assets, resulting in a reduction in the clients’ capital expenditure. Working closely on all levels with its clients, the core management of Dietsmann has never once redirected its focus from improving on its primary business of delivering the safe and efficient operation and maintenance of oil, gas and power production installations.”

Over the last 35 years, the company has accumulated a wealth of experience in operating and maintaining hundreds of production installations around the world. In this time it has reached a point where it now maintains an installed base of tens of thousands of different pieces of equipment and parts, for all production facility components, in multiple configurations: “This equipment and these parts are designed to be suitable for the extremes of the environments in which the company works, from the Arctic to the tropics and arid deserts,” Peter Kutemann continues. “Similarly, Dietsmann has brought together a great deal of experience when it comes to the effects on the plant, equipment and parts from the variety of different end products that are processed, be it aggressive high-acid oil or sulphur gas. All of this information is continually analysed and applied to the O&M of the company’s clients’ valuable assets, and has enabled Dietsmann to develop an unrivalled understanding of how, when and where to apply the most effective operational methods and specialist maintenance technology.”

As one would imagine, maintenance in itself is a complex task, one that demands only the most experienced of experts available to analyse the requirements, engineering and maintenance, to carry out planning and the inspection of the operations and, finally, manage the overall activity. As well as being the largest independent provider of specialised operation and maintenance services, Dietsmann can also boast being the market leader in maintenance engineering and inspection (MEI) services.

“Asset owners universally find that they substantially improve the overall efficiency of their facilities when proper MEI is conducted,” Peter Kutemann says. “It usually starts during the engineering, procurement and construction phase of a new plant, during which time Dietsmann works hand-in-hand with the client to integrate their operational backgrounds, their specific knowledge of the installations and the geographical context. From there the company defines optimised MEI activities based on best practices. The clients will also find themselves benefitting greatly from having a dedicated, computerised maintenance management system (CMMS), defined and implemented for the start-up and updated continuously during the life cycle of the plant. Using the same partner for MEI and O&M guarantees the optimum transfer of know-how and a smooth transition to the operational phase.”

Providing support to the company’s worldwide operation and maintenance activities, Dietsmann Technologies is a group operating company providing a wide range of electrical and instrumentation engineering and construction services. The division’s services include the design, construction and testing of electrical switchboards, marshalling cabinets, control cabinets and industrial process automation systems. Furthermore, the HVAC and pressurisation services it provides include custom-designed and built industrial air conditioning, and climate control systems.

A substantial employer in the countries in which it operates, Dietsmann takes its social responsibilities extremely seriously: “The culture of the company emphasises dedication, pride and respect, qualities that are supported by its strong commitment to training and development,” Peter Kutemann enthuses. “The company has, for example, been present in Nigeria, Angola, Congo and Gabon for more than 25 years now and is extremely proud to have trained and worked alongside thousands of highly motivated and dedicated local staff, some of whom have gone on to be promoted to international senior management positions. Elsewhere, in Kazakhstan and Russia, where Dietsmann has been active since the early 1990s, the company strives for 100 per cent local employment at all levels of its maintenance organisation.

“Dietsmann’s commitment to maintaining the highest health, safety and environment (HSE) standards resonates through the entire organisation. What the company recognises most of all is the fact that the cost of effective, professional maintenance is a tiny fraction of the cost of incidents that are a result of postponements or poor execution, be it in terms of lost production, poor health, injuries, damaged equipment or harm to the environment. Dietsmann is focused on providing a safe and healthy workplace, both onshore and offshore, for its employees, all of whom are also encouraged to participate in the continuous improvement of HSE performance.

“Dietsmann is also a participant in the United Nations Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate citizenship and sustainability initiative. The UN Global Compact is both a corporate responsibility initiative and a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labor, the environment and anti-corruption.”

Despite the grim economic outlook in a number of European countries, the company maintains great optimism as it relates to its prospects for 2012 and beyond: “October 2011 saw Dietsmann become one of the first contractors to report back to duty in Libya, where it has resumed the maintenance of several strategic oil and gas facilities,” Peter Kutemann highlights. “Libya, Angola and Kazakhstan are just a few of the countries in which the company has recently been awarded with major new contracts. In Kazakhstan, it has placed itself in a strategic position as the principle maintenance contractor for the huge Kashagan oil project.”

With an expectation to achieve a sales target of one billion euros within the coming six-to-seven years, one would be forgiven for thinking that a company with such growth prospects may at times neglect the values and traits that first brought it to prominence. However, as Peter Kutemann concludes, for Dietsmann this couldn’t be further from the truth: “Although all options are open, one important principle will always be the same, and that is that the company will remain independent and free of conflict of interest with regard to construction companies or original equipment manufacturers. This has been a major reason in the past for the success of the company and its clients, and Dietsmann owes it to these clients that this is never allowed to change.”

Services: Operation and maintenance services