Oceanteam Power & Umbilical ASA

Making connections

Oceanteam Power & Umbilical ASA is Norway’s fastest growing installer of subsea flexible products, offering support and services for a variety of industries.

The company grew out of an inspection, maintenance, and repair service that focused on markets in Mexico after merging with Geolab Survey in 2004, becoming Oceanteam Power and Umbilical. In 2005, the company received a flagship contract for an offshore wind farm in Holland, yet is also recognised for its projects in the oil and gas industry. Floating the business on the Oslo stock exchange in February 2007 under the name of Oceanteam Power & Umbilical ASA has allowed Oceanteam to invest in four new vessels, the first of which will be delivered in September 2007. These specially constructed ships are designed and equipped to provide the customer base with a state-of-the-art capability for a range of subsea installation and maintenance activities. The company is making substantial further investment in trenching, installation and burial services. Expanding into the burgeoning markets in northwest Europe has seen revenues of 23 million euros in 2006 for Oceanteam.

COO Jon Mears explains the company’s market position: “Oceanteam has analysed the requirements for flexible product installation, burial and protection across three market areas: offshore renewable energy, power distribution, and oil and gas. Within the oil and gas industry, the company is focusing on the installation of control umbilical and power cable requirements for infield assets and also from onshore sites to platforms. Strengthening its services it has signed a five-year deal with ABB, a major cable manufacturer, with the primary objective of being able to offer a supply and installation service substantially reducing the amount of interfacing on behalf of the client between cable suppliers and installation contractors.”

This partnership is indicative of Oceanteam’s growing presence within the offshore flexible product laying industry. The venture with ABB has been created to reduce cost and risk for the customer. This allows customers to draw up one contract for cable purchase, installation, stabilisation, and protection. Oceanteam has also formed a similar five year agreement with Tideway, a specialist dredging and rock dump contractor, and also Fabricom BV a specialist in IMR services and offshore access systems. In June 2007, the company acquired the marine cable installation assets of Submarine Cable and Pipe GmbH, which included the cable barge ‘Bodo Installer’, cable burial equipment and a rock cutter crawler.

Jon is keen to comment on the company’s success in a market that can be underestimated: “Oceanteam has witnessed other companies that are under-funded, taking on projects that were too large for their financial capacity, with a market only too willing to exploit the aggressive competitiveness of such contractors – substantially contributing to the demise of several. When OPU was formed, it made sure it was correctly funded, with sufficient financialresources within the business to complete the contracts it was entering into.”

Oceanteam has a number of contracts within the oil and gas industry, as Jon elaborates: “The company has predominantly concentrated on contracts across the North West European Continental Shelf, but it is also expanding into other areas such as the African West Coast, contracting its first vessel with its partner ‘Bourbon’ to BP Angola for three-years focusing on servicing subsea production equipment in the Plutonia Field, Angola. Oceanteam is also contracted to the BritNed connection, which is a 243 kilometres line between the Netherlands and the UK, to be installed between 2009 and 2010. The ABB contract is a very large installation, requiring over 20,000 tonnes of cable, with at least four segments requiring in line splicing offshore, presenting technically complex challenges. The company and ABB also have a contract with Statoil for the Gjøa project, installing a 98- kilometre power cable connecting the offshore facility to the Norwegian power grid.”

A typical installation project begins with the pre-engineering, where all significant obstacles to the installation are addressed. Offshore work is generally commenced by completing a route pre-lay survey and grapnel run to clear debris, ascertaining the immediate condition of the route. Crossings over existing assets – pipelines and cables are marked and prepared need to be installed. Then the installation, and burial if required, can commence. Jon examines some of the difficulties of working with flexibles in the target markets: “The prime concern when installing offshore assets is the safety of the personnel, and the reduction of risk through the project engineering process. The products being installed have strict installation parameters to be adhered to, to avoid compromising the product, environmental parameters must be accurately set before commencing installation. It is mainly environmental, geographic and climatic conditions that cause problems in installing flexible products. The size and weight of cables are also increasing, as is the demand for the inclusion of more conductors within umbilicals.

Oceanteam is aiming to build on past success, as Jon acknowledges: “The company is focusing on a market area upon which it has expertise and knowledge, and other than increasing depths of installation, I don’t perceive many difficulties or any challenges that Oceanteam has yet to experience over the last 25 years. The oil and gas sector has many opportunities at the moment, and the company has unique products and experience within the industry.”

With the current order book and the NorthOcean 101 vessel coming into operation imminently, the potential for development within the market is strong. Jon concludes: “I believe that Oceanteam has a very attractive future, as it is a dynamic company that has progressed at high speed. It has a dedicated team who enjoy their work, and their role in addressing technical challenges and making intelligent investments will be fundamental to the future progress of the company.”

Oceanteam Power & Umbilical ASA

Industry: Flexible cables and umbilicals for oil and gas industry