Maritime CEO 300: Offshore

Maritime CEO 300: Offshore

Singapore: Roughly one in ten of Maritime CEO’s archive of 300 interviews are with top management of offshore vessel owners. As shipping hit the doldrums six years back, offshore has grown and grown – witness the latest mid-term business plans of Japan’s Big Three owners, MOL, NYK and K Line, all of whom state that offshore is a key investment going forward, offering long term, stable returns.

While there are many ‘Johnny-Come-Latelys’ to the offshore sector few can claim a heritage as rich as Rony Sudjaka’s. The chairman and md of Singapore-based OSV specialist Pacific Richfield Marine has been in the offshore game for more than half a century, building and owning OSVs.

Also tracing a long line in the offshore business is the Canega group in Mexico. Alfonso Negroe, a desecvendant of the founder of the company, now runs the 81-year-old firm, which has a fleet of more than 20 vessels and plans to head further afield than its traditional Mexican, US and Caribbean stronghold.

Elsewhere, making a strong impact in Southeast Asia has been Marco Polo Marine whose ceo, Sean Lee, outlined plans to become a “significant” group in offshore oil and gas marine logistics and support in the region when interviewed by Maritime CEO last year.

Another Singapore offshore operator, Pacific Radiance, has come a long way in a short time. Tracing its roots back to 2002 Pacific Radiance, when including its joint ventures, owns and operates a total of 138 vessels, a mixture of tugs, barges, AHTSs, PSVs and saturation dive support vessels.

There’s 14 new vessels set to join the Pacific Radiance fleet this year, another seven penned in for 2015, and according to managing director James Pang more are set to be signed soon.

In terms of spreading its geographical reach, Pang told Maritime CEO he is “very excited” by prospects in Mexico, and West Africa, specifically Nigeria, Congo and Angola have good potential. Pacific Radiance has been operating in East Africa for the past three years.

Chellsea, one of Singapore’s newer entrants into the offshore support vessel (OSV) scene, is undergoing a period of significant expansion too. Part of the Kishinchand Chellaram (KC Group) of shipping companies, Chellsea was set up by Gautam Chellaram two years ago as part of the group’s strategic diversification, with, he said, modestly, “a blank piece of paper”. Said blank piece of paper has since transformed into a fleet on a rapid rise. “Our focus is on building the infrastructure,” said Chellaram.

Romania’s GSP Offshore, meanwhile, has ambitions to head into deepwater operatations. Gabriel Comanecu, ceo and president of the company, told Maritime CEO: “We’re heading towards deepwater operations and the fleet development focuses mainly into that.”

Nordic Maritime, a Scandinavian outfit based in Singapore, has seismic vessels and survey/chase support vessels in its fleet.

Kjell Gauksheim, Nordic Maritime’s ceo, was confident his two chosen sectors have good supply/demand ratios, something that he was not so sure about in other offshore support divisions when interviewed last year.

“For certain OSV vessels the market is already facing an overcapacity and supply,” he said. “However, we are very focused on our two segments and have strong belief in these.”

An up and coming Dubai offshore player, Arina Offshore, disputed this overcapacity claim. Managing director Captain Charles Verghese said: “Oilfield work with requisite experience of operators is still in demand, and with the sanctioning of new projects in MENA, demand remains for the established owners and operators.”

As well as OSV players Maritime CEO interviewed a number of rig owners such as Dutch offshore operator Workfox which has plans to grow its area of business well beyond its North Sea origins.

Managing director Keesjan Cordia said he was looking for more rigs, but was aware prices are heading northwards.

“Newbuildings are getting more expensive,” he said, “but the margins of profitability are still making sense to invest.” He adds: “More advanced and innovative equipment are more expensive but also more efficient.”

Finally, Dynamic Drilling Holdco is all set to move beyond Indian waters as it expands its fleet of jack-ups. Founded three years ago, Dynamic Group has three jack-ups and a drillship on charter to India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC). On top of that, there’s a rig plus three options on order at Cosco Dalian Shipyard in northern China. The options are likely to be declared soon, Manav Kumar, a director at Dynamic revealed when interviewed two weeks ago, and all the orders may well go on charter to parties beyond India.

Dynamic was founded, said Kumar, because it was clear that oil companies needed quality rigs and drilling services with oil prices remaining comfortably high.

Dynamic is not alone in clocking that perceived rig shortage and a vast amount of orders have flooded the sector, something Kumar acknowledged, but without too much concern.

“A short term drop in rates is likely next year,” he said, “as a lot of newbuilds come onstream, but the long term forecast remains good for serious drilling contractors.”

Concluding our Maritime CEO 300 week tomorrow we see what our core audience, the shipowners, have to say for themselves.  [10/04/14]

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