Led by discovery
Located on the coast of the city municipality of Kristiansund in Norway, Vestbase AS is a company that runs a harbour and supply base for oil and gas companies operating in the Norwegian Sea region.
With a very long coastline, Norway has a thriving offshore industry at this time, with drilling exploration revealing a large amount of potential in the future.
“National statistics indicate that one third of Norway’s undiscovered oil and gas is located in the Norwegian sea (mid-Norway),” states Vestbase marketing manager Ture Haugen. “There are a lot of opportunities still available in this region before a peak level is reached. The site is anticipating the arrival of Total in July, which is looking into the largest, undeveloped discovery in Norway called Victoria. Drilling will begin over the summer of 2008, and we are excited in regards to the opportunities this development will provide.”
Vestbase acts as a private harbour, supporting around 60 oil and gas companies within its premises, spread over an area of 410 acres. Ture explains how the facility has developed, and the services it provides: “Over 2007, we expanded the site by 25 per cent, and we are growing at the same rate as the offshore industry. Our main focus is on managing the harbour, including 50,000 square metres of warehouses and offices that are rented out to various suppliers – such as Halliburton, Baker, FMC Technologies, StatoilHydro, Shell – mainly the biggest players in the industry. We run the harbour so that they can concentrate on supporting their supply service.
“Our facilities, with relevant personnelcategories, quays and range of equipment (forklifts, flatbeds, cranes) provides high quality and efficient service to our clients,” Ture continues. “This factor is a significant contribution to the running of major service companies, like Acergy, Subsea 7, and Technip, and it is a convenience for them to use a site like Vestbase that has everything in one place, as opposed to other sites. We deal with six fixed platform production units operated by Shell and Statoil Hydro. In addition to these platforms, we are supporting their drilling rigs. Vestbase also supports an array of ad-hoc drilling campaigns, being performed by other drilling companies periodically working in the area, such as Chevron, BP and ENI.”
Beyond traditional harbour services, Vestbase is meeting the changing needs of the industry by providing a wider scope of activity at its site. As Ture explains: “Employing 180 people, we offer service companies the facilities they require to operate in the region. Our traditional business is related to harbour activities, such as loading and offloading vessels and lorries. We can also provide tubular handling, casing, and drill part services. Equally, Vestbase has around 40 people working inside at its terminal department, which concentrates on warehouse activity.
“We run warehouses on behalf of oil companies, managing spares and consumables, as well as packing and storage of outsourced items. This key area of support is also applied to rig companies, as well as a number of drilling operators. It can be expensive for a client to establish itself in a new region, so often the process is to work with a locally-based partner that has a knowledge of the area, and can promote, handle, and take care of their products. Therefore, when parts are sold, we deliver them to the end customer. Effectively, Vestbase provides all of the indoor and outdoor services that an oil and gas operator could – we are keen to work with anyone looking to establish a presence in Kristiansund and the Norwegian Sea,” he elaborates.
The expansion of Vestbase over 2007 was a strategic move to meet the growth seen within Norway’s offshore industry. Ture describes the progress: “We are investing a lot of money into new equipment and infrastructure such as a new deep water quay (21.4 m depth), so we remain optimistic towards the future.”
As drilling and rig installations are a relatively stable market area at this time, the company is keen to develop its facilities to meet increasing activity in the development of subsea structures. Ture comments: “Our strategy is to focus on being the leading subsea centre for the middle region of Norway, meaning we must work with relevant companies in supporting this industry, as well as concentrating on being a tubular centre. Vestbase is keen to utilise its new facilities, inspection halls, and machine shops in the handling of pipes.
“Finally, we must promote the attractive projects that are taking place at our harbour, with the aim of attracting further business. This is linked to our work with the mobilisation and demobilisation of maintenance and installation vessels, such as our projects with Acergy, Technip and Subsea 7. For instance, we have a large crawler crane that is capable of lifting a maximum of 400 tonnes, and this is a major advantage we have over other sites,” he concludes.
Services: Harbour and supply base