Issue 08 2011
Hands on approach
“Suretank is a manufacturer of quality transport containers, which are used for transporting all manner of equipment and goods to operational offshore platforms,” explains Martin Laverty, sales director of Suretank.
“The containers the company produces are designed to be transported on supply boats that operate back-and-forth between ports, platforms and FPSOs.”
Founded by Patrick Joy, Pat O’Hare and Niall Lund in Ireland in 1995, Suretank has grown over the subsequent years to become a leading international supplier, possessing manufacturing facilities and sales offices in seven different countries, including China, Thailand, Poland and the UK. With its products sold in 50+ countries around the world, Suretank has a product range that includes offshore chemical and acid transport tanks, helifuel tanks, offshore containers, baskets, mudskips, refrigerated containers, offshore workshops and cryogenic tanks. Each product the company creates is expertly designed, manufactured and certified to the most up-to-date industry standards.
“When setting up the company, Patrick recognised there was an opportunity in the market to develop and manufacture offshore equipment to the standards required for use in the North Sea, and sell it all over the globe,” Martin continues. “Beginning with the building of tanks for the transportation of helifuel, chemicals and acids, Patrick also saw there was a market for non-liquid transport for items like pipes, valves, components and goods that needed to be transported out to oil rigs. What was quickly identified was that these markets were evolving rapidly on other continents, and as the market grew further afield the company realised it needed to move into manufacturing products in regions such as the Far East and South East Asia.
“An offshore platform is essentially an island and as such everything that goes out there, from million dollar downhole inspection tools to basic essentials like toilet paper, has to go into a container in order to reach its destination. Everything has to be serviced remotely, from supplying goods, providing maintenance services and removing all of the waste materials from the platform and bringing it back to shore. To facilitate such needs Suretank also manufactures items including cardboard box compactors and waste oil and chemical tanks.”
To get an idea of the international reach of the company, one needs only to look at the various regions Suretank supplies its products too. From the harsh icy waters off the Russian coast to the hot and humid shores of West Africa and markets in and around Brazil, Australia, Canada and the Gulf of Mexico, Suretank encounters multiple challenges in its day to day operations: “Different regulations come into play in different countries and Suretank always works to ensure it complies with these,” Martin highlights. “One regulation the company consistently works to however is DNV 2.7-1, which is a requirement within the North Sea and has benefits that are recognised by most of the major oil companies. Meeting the DNV specification highlights the strength and durability of Suretank’s products, which leads to reduced maintenance costs and limits the amount of stoppages.”
Not only is the company responsible for the development of its own designs, it also works closely with its customers to manufacture their own unique designs: “Suretank offers full turnkey services, from initial design conception to finished manufacture and series production,” says Martin. “In many cases Suretank is given design drawings by oil service companies and tasked with taking these early concepts and making them more suitable for their specific market.”
Offering this bespoke service isn’t the only strength of the company that has helped distinguish it from the competition: “Interaction with the customer is massively important to the success of Suretank,” Martin enthuses. “The company’s employees actively go out and visit the customers to see first hand how the products are being used in the market. It is a very hands-on approach that helps the company learn more and explore different ideas and concepts that can then be taken into development.”
In order to stay at the forefront of the industry, Suretank is constantly investing in research and development whilst also seeking out opportunities to move into new, expanding markets: “In the last 18 months, the company has taken on six new design engineers that are today based in Ireland,” Martin states. “Alongside this investment in personnel, Suretank has also poured a considerable amount of money into new computer systems, 3D drafting, finite element and programme analysis. At the same time it continues to invest in methods to reduce its carbon footprint, through lower emissions and noise levels coming from its factories.
“When it comes to new markets, Suretank always looks to keep a close eye on industry developments and right now West Africa and Brazil are the most interesting. Both are renowned for being difficult markets in terms of both the environments they have and how hard it can be to establish a business there by bringing equipment in. However these are challenges that Suretank continues to face head on and has a proven track record of overcoming all over the world.”
Core to Suretank’s future success is the continued improvement of its equipment through better designs, higher quality materials and more efficient methods of manufacture: “As a company Suretank is always looking five-to-ten years ahead and by perfecting the right techniques, delivering the best products and having the right people working for it, it can continue to give its customers in the field the best service possible,” Martin concludes.
Products: Cargo carrying units