Smoothing the process
VENKO Group prides itself on providing high quality coating work for projects in a wide range of shapes and sizes, and in all kinds of locations.
Undaunted by a challenge, VENKO has carried out assignments on board offshore platforms, on high-tension pylons, power plants, substations, transmission masts, (railway) bridges, pipe spools, sluice gates, and many other areas.
It offers these services through three main divisions – Outdoor, Offshore, and Indoor, and its dedicated team of professionals can supervise a project from beginning to end by providing the right advice, the right materials and the right people.
This wide variety of services means VENKO Group has an equally diverse portfolio of assignments and clients. The Group therefore has long-term business relationships in the following sectors: energy; railway; chemical, oil and gas industry; commercial and industrial buildings; civil works; innovative maintenance; stationary blasting and coatings, among others.
Looking specifically at the offshore sector, this division specialises in carrying out fabric maintenance work on production platforms, drilling platforms and measuring platforms. Andre Hofman, VENKO group managing director, and Tom Herok, the division’s business unit manager, highlighted the typical client that would undertake a contract with VENKO Offshore. Said Andre: “Our main customers are the oil and gas producing companies working on the Dutch Continental Shelf and the UK Continental Shelf.” Andre illustrated how VENKO Offshore operates by describing the current work it is undertaking with Shell: “We have actually been awarded contracts from Shell for 35 locations,” he said. “Most recently on the NAM L13FE1 platform, we painted it from top to bottom, and this means every area was blasted and painted, the sheeting was re-done, plus the helideck netting and the helideck marking were replaced.
“We have completed four locations for Shell and are now working on the fifth in NL, all on schedule. The next locations are in the UK and further afield, so they cross borders, and we work on them 365 days a year.”
Andre added: “If we look at the whole VENKO Group, there are some other significant projects that are being worked on. We are specialists at working at height, so for example we work on pylons and we are moving into the maintenance of wind turbines. We also have experience in large and complex projects, with an example being the high-speed water locks here in Holland. VENKO used an innovative painting system and alternative access on this. By doing so, we have reduced the overall project costs and duration for our client.
“We also carry out the submarine painting for the Dutch Navy, which requires specialist skills,” said Andre. “That is performed at the Royal Navy Base in Den Helder were VENKO has its own facility.”
These blue-chip clients are drawn to use VENKO Offshore’s services because of its reputation for high quality and a flexible approach: “VENKO has been known for several years as being a company big enough to support oil and gas clients but flexible enough to react to the clients’ exact needs,” agreed Andre. “We can generally incorporate all the clients’ needs into our way of working so we are adaptable to their wishes. But we also challenge our clients to add value. Furthermore, we have a lot of experienced employees who have worked for us for a number of years and their commitment is also one of our major strengths. Combined with our stocks of equipment, our ability to react quickly to customers’ demands is superb.”
Andre continued with some more details about what makes his team stand out from the competition. “What we have at VENKO is a large group of qualified, highly accomplished painters. They bring with them extensive experience on metal work, and their skill enables us to offer a unique five year guarantee on offshore metal work. That is not commonly done in the industry.”
Tom added: “We also offer a unique contract in the offshore industry – the standard is an hourly based contract but we offer fixed prices. This gives us a better relationship between VENKO and the client, which we see as another strength of VENKO Offshore.”
As Andre already noted, VENKO Offshore will start work in the UK market shortly, via a barge vessel that moves from platform to platform. “This means that supply boats travel from the UK and personnel is mobilising from Norwich to the barge, and we’d like to have an office on land to support the businesses’ requirements, so we have opened our office in Great Yarmouth,” he said.
“The main reason we are setting up a presence onshore in the UK is to support our activities on the Shell contract for 35 platforms,” he added. “But of course we also want to expand our business in the UK and that is a step planned for 2014. In 2013 our focus is purely on the successful start of the barge campaign work in the UK waters.”
With expansion on the agenda and a raft of new contracts to complete, the next few years look busy for VENKO Offshore. But as Andre noted, the company has no intention of resting on its laurels: “We want to make more customers aware of our approach, so we can sell our philosophy on product maintenance activities. We feel that our unit-based contracts are the future, as this will change the execution focus for both VENKO and our client, which results in overall cost saving. In addition we include the five-year guarantee and an expectation of between ten and 15 years, and we want to raise awareness in the market of this.”
Andre concluded: “We like to add value to our clients’ projects, and our experience in the market is invaluable here. We started the company in 1975 and today in the Netherlands we are one of the key players in metal preservation. So, we are not only executing work for our customers but also we are setting the standards and developing innovation programmes. That is the added value for us to be not only a supplier, but a partner in the entire process.”
VENKO Offshore BV
Services: Blasting/painting/protecting metal and concrete