Maritime performance

Norfield is an international ship owner, specialising in vessels for the offshore oil and gas, and energy sectors.

As a shipping company, it owns and operates ships for the oil and gas industry. Its core fleet is made up of seismic vessels and ships specialising in subsea activities. The company was established in 2008, and now operates a seven-strong fleet, which operates on long-term charter agreements with international geophysical companies. In this way the length of the charter party reflects the contracting strategy of the company.

Operating from its head office in Austevoll, the company has an integrated approach to its business. It provides services to customers worldwide, and aims to further build on managerial and working experience. All the while it aims to operate according to the traditions of the ship management company, Shipman AS, which was one of the companies from which Norfield was formed. The organisation’s aim is to become a fully integrated ship owner offering services and vessels to the maritime offshore and energy sector. To realise this vision, Norfield’s strategy is to increase revenues and enhance shareholder values through controlled and profitable growth, based on long-term relations with recognised clients. It aims to achieve growth organically, as well as through mergers and acquisitions. The business will then be able to take advantage of the increased efficiency a larger ship operator can obtain compared with smaller operators.

Arne Lier, managing director of Norfield, describes the formation of the company: “The business was established in September 2008, based on a group of other single-purpose companies, which were then structured into Norfield. We have a strong track record as a ship owner. The management company, Shipman, which we acquired as part of Norfield’s formation, was established in 1993 and already had a long history in the sector, operating offshore vessels and collaborating with clients on demanding projects.”

He goes on to outline the main areas of the business: “We define ourselves as a ship-owner, providing vessels for oil service companies, as well as the major oil companies. The business is basically broken down into two segments. These are the towed seismic business, and the ocean cable seismic business. Within the towed seismic area, our key client is CGG Veritas. Our main working client within the ocean cable seismic segment is RXTS Exploration. Besides this, our main client basis will be the regular offshore customers as well as all the major oil companies.”

In terms of health and safety, and standards, Norfield aims to be recognised for its high levels of quality in its maritime performance. This involves adhering to the highest industry standards, placing a high importance on quality, health, safety and environmental performance in all aspects of its operations. In this way, Norfield has established a safety and quality management system, which incorporates a dynamic approach to improving quality and safety standards, including procedures for all standard operations. Through regular internal and external audits, as well as system reviews onboard and onshore, transfer of experience, and near miss and follow up reports, Norfield systematically works towards an improved maritime performance.

As the oil and gas industry endures the global recession, Arne believes that Norfield retains a positive position in the marketplace: “The company was established in the middle of the financial crisis. We see that this has generated some challenges but opportunities have also arisen. The challenges that we’ve experienced relate mostly to the low levels of activity at present, with vessels used less frequently, as projects are postponed or cancelled. However, we believe that the timing for the formation of the company was beneficial, as vessels are being re-valued, there are acquisition prospects, and we have a strategy to grow and to expand into other segments of the offshore industry within two years. The industry is expected to enter another growth period hopefully in 2010, and so as Norfield is in a good position, we hope to be able to take advantage of this. Aside from these opportunities, we are also confident that the market will strengthen in the future, although we are aware that obviously the industry still faces a number of challenges in the current climate. We still believe very strongly in the long-term fundamentals of the oil and gas industry.”

With this in mind, Arne goes on to describe the company’s plans for the future: “With regards to financing we expect that there will be opportunities to finance the company’s future growth. We will review any opportunity that is out there at the moment, which we anticipate will be within the areas we are working on at present, but also within the other more traditional vessel segments. Our future aim is to see Norfield as a recognised offshore company, with a basis in the distribution of vessels into various industry segments. We also want to be recognised by clients for our maritime performance, whilst retaining our reputation as a traditional company. As we look for restructuring opportunities within the offshore marine sector, the company will also aim at attaining a listing at the stock exchange in Norway within the next couple of years.”


Services: Vessel services