Troms Offshore

Making waves

Located in Tromsø, one of Norway’s most northern regions, Troms Offshore is a privately owned operator of 16 vessels, applicable to a number of areas in the offshore sector.

The modern fleet operated by the company began life as TFDS Offshore in 1985, and became Troms following a managerial buyout in 2005. The fleet consists of both owned vessels, and vessels on management from other ship owners, consisting of both AHTS (anchor handling tug supply vessels) and PSV (platform supply vessels).

“The key strength we have in the industry is our experience of operating vessels on a global scale,” comments Troms vice president Østen Mortvedt. “Presently, we operate in the North Sea, the Barent Sea, the Black Sea, and in African waters. We are situated in the northern part of Norway, and we are the only offshore ship operator located in this region. Tromsø is located very close to the sea, so seafaring is in the blood of the population. The region has a very strong and expansive history of operating in the fishing and whaling industry, and these skills are applicable to our company’s experience. Over the past few years, the majority of our crew has been employed from this region, and have learnt the trade through working in the Barent Sea on shipping vessels. All of our crew are very competent sailors, and Troms is well regarded within the industry through this factor.”

Since the inception of the business, Troms has worked with some of the major operators in the oil and gas industry, as Østen is keen to point out: “Over the years, we have worked with many of the big players in the offshore sector, like Norsk Hydro and Statoil, who used one of our vessels on a 20-year contract in the Gullfaks field. Equally, the Troms Falken vessel has been on contract with Total, located in Aberdeen, since it was delivered to us in February 2008. Troms has also co-operated with Russian shipping companies since 1992, and two of their vessels are on long-term contracts. The first vessel is the Aldoma, which is currently operating in Nigeria. The second vessel is the Kovambo, which is a diamond mining ship, operating at this time in Namibia. This close relationship that Troms has with Arktikmor Neftegaz Razcedka will be an advantage in the future as activity steadily increases.

“We are the northern-most vessel supplier in the industry, which is an advantage, as it puts us in pole position to respond to emerging projects located in the Barent Sea, on both the Norwegian and Russian sides of the border,” Østen explains. “However, even though our main area of focus is the Barent Sea, work in this region is becoming slightly limited. Therefore, we are beginning to concentrate on other regions across the world, as the offshore industry has many opportunities on a global scale. It is a benefit that the educated seafarers we employ have extensive knowledge of these seas, which gives us a significant advantage over competitors within the market.”

Østen outlines the scope of Troms’ fleet, and some of the new vessels that are set to become operational in the near future: “Troms’ fleet can be divided into three main categories, all of which are medium-sized anchor handlers: AHTSs, PSVs, and a range of special vessels. Within our range of PSVs are the selections of new builds that we have planned, most of which are scheduled to be delivered following the autumn of 2008. Troms Vision, available in the third quarter of 2009, has a combined diesel, electric, and mechanical propulsion system, which means it is very fuel-efficient. The low fuel consumption of the vessel will certainly make waves within the offshore market. The rest of the fleet consists of special purpose vessels, used in a wide scope of projects, such as diamond mining and research.

“All of our vessels are currently active, and in the North Sea, we have two PSVs working for Peterson Supply Link,” Østen states. “The Troms Falken has been with the company since it was constructed, and it had been contracted with Total for the past seven years – a significant operating period for us. We are directly involved in the new build projects that we are commissioning, the first of which is due to arrive in autumn 2008, with large PSV vessels arriving at intervals of six months after that. All of the new ships have the DNV class notation of clean design, which collates with our strategy to own and operate high-end vessels, aimed at meeting the needs of future demands within the industry.”

Troms is as concerned as any operator of vessels in the offshore market in regards to employee safety, and it has a large amount of health and safety schemes in place to maintain the company’s high standards onboard all of the vessels. Østen elaborates on the process: “Troms has training programmes designed specifically for each of the vessels that it operates, and our safety statistics over the past few years reflect the quality of our training methods throughout our entire staff. When we operate vessels on longterm contracts, we participate in the training programme to ensure safety on board the ship, and to reduce the potential for injury. Troms is a member of the Marine Safety Forum, which indicates our concerns within the area of health and safety.”

Østen has an optimistic outlook in respect to Troms’ opportunities within the oil and gas market: “The offshore sector is particularly strong at this time, and there are many new rigs being established across the globe. The requirement for modern, sophisticated vessels means that Troms will always be in demand asan operator. The older vessels that were built in the 1970s will start to disappear from the market very soon, which in turn will put increased emphasis on the new fleets, like the kind we manage. Our next goal is to have over 20 modern vessels operating on a global scale, and we are on track to achieve this. Over the coming years, we aim at replacing our older vessels to create a superior modern fleet.

“Getting the right kind of crew may be a challenge we have to face in the future, as there will always be a need for new seaman. However, at Troms, we are confident that we will overcome this challenge, and continue to succeed in the market,” Østen concludes.

Troms Offshore AS

Services: 16-vessel fleet