Singapore: Southeast Asia remains one of the fastest growing places for offshore operators. Stock exchange announcements are testament to the booming oil and gas scene in the region, with not a day going by without some big new deal signed or local offshore players celebrating record results.
The region is one of the hottest for offshore developments in the world.
Thailand and Malaysia are deemed especially scorching areas for the booming offshore support vessel (OSV) market, says one of the region’s top brokers. Mike Meade, ceo of Asia’s largest independent offshore brokerage, M3 Marine, reckons the capital expenditure for exploration and production (E&P) in Asia will grow by 53% between 2013 and 2017, with an “above average spend” in India, Malaysia and Indonesia.
“We are seeing an increase in activity across the board,” he says, “with notably jack up utilisation – and rates – increasing and the subsea sector described by many as hot.”
Setting his sights high, Marco Polo Marine’s ceo has outlined plans to become a “significant” group in offshore oil and gas marine logistics and support in the region.
What’s more, Sean Lee says he has “plans and the wherewithal” to be one of the larger offshore support vessel (OSV) owner-operators in Indonesia, specifically in the mid-sized anchor handling tug supply vessel (AHTS) segment where he says his company has the “early-mover advantage”.
Marco Polo Marine has 11 sets of tugs and barges and four OSVs while its Indonesian subsidiary, PT Pelayaran Nasional Bina Buana Raya Tbk (PT BBR) has 35 tugs, 32 barges, one self-propelled barge and three OSVs. PT BBR listed on January 9 this year.
With regard to ship chartering, the ceo says Marco Polo Marine will still be active in Asian and Australasian waters including Thailand and Australia – “our bread and butter” – as well as exploring new projects in Malaysia, Vietnam and Myanmar.
Chellsea, one of Singapore’s newer entrants into the offshore support vessel (OSV) scene, is undergoing a period of significant expansion. 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 says, 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,” says Chellaram.
The Chellarams traditionally have focused on dry bulk via Hong Kong’s KC Maritime, but saw the coming offshore explosion and bought a platform supply vessel in 2011, kicking off new firm Chellsea. A sister ship was added last year. Both ships are “high quality”, stresses Chellaram, and aimed at the North Sea market.
“The strategy for Chellsea in ordering these vessels,” says Chellaram, “is to order high spec and build quality vessels, with a focus on winning long-term business. There is no compromise in quality, which is what will win us long-term business with oil majors.”
The Chellarams would do well to take heed of the thoughts of Indonesian national Rony Sudjaka, the chairman and md of Singapore-based OSV specialist Pacific Richfield Marine and arguably the man with the longest and broadest OSV experience in the world.
Wearing a trademark cap Sudjarka says of the firm that he founded in 1989 that while there is plenty more competition in his sector all of a sudden he is not worried as the ships he builds and owns are “higher class” with big engines and more back up systems. Sudjaka has a long history of building OSVs, but had quit the practice for a number of years before returning to it in 2008, when he found he was unable to get ships built at other yards because they were so busy. He made the decision to rent a yard in Singapore and started churning out high spec ships.
Sudjaka now owns 55 ships. His shipyard has one dock and is able to build eight ships every 18 months.
Sudjaka’s father worked in Hong Kong at the old Taikoo Shipyard from 1926, before moving back to Indonesia to do contracting work. Sudjaka himself, now 77, has been in the OSV business now for more than half a century.
In the news morevthan most this year has been Singapore’s offshore contractor Otto Marine, for better and for worse. Garrick Stanley has been in the role of group ceo for just over four months now trying to continue the process of making the firm more profitable with an eye to increasing the company’s fleet of offshore support vessels.
Stanley joined Otto subsidiary Go Marine Group back in 2007 as managing director and has over 18 years experience in the industry.
The shipyard has been through a “cost cutting and efficiency consolidation stage whereby fats are trimmed and resources redeployed,” Garrick says. Nevertheless, the upshot is that the yard is now ready to take on new projects, it bagged its first orders for two years towards the beginning of the year, for instance, and has received further deals since.
Garrick is keen to portray the group’s full range of offerings beyond just the shipyard.
“The company has definitely developed into a marine services company with a shipyard,” he stresses.
“Our shipping business has now refocused to renew, expand and upgrade our own fleet whilst the shipyard increases our offshore fabrication capabilities and ship repair,” Garrick explains.
Group revenues are currently dominated from Otto Marine’s fleet of 63 vessels operating around the world.
“We are seeing an increase in demand for our fleet and increasing day rates and utilization,” says the new ceo.
Finally, in our offshore roundup we come to Nordic Maritime, one of a myriad of Scandinavian shipping companies that call Singapore home. The offshore specialist is increasingly carving a niche out of Indonesia to cement its strong Southeast
Founded in 1999, Nordic Maritime now operates seven vessels – both owned and under third party management. The fleet is made up of five seismic vessels and two survey/chase support vessels.
There’s also a DP2 multipurpose supply vessel under construction for delivery late this year plus two DP2 400-men accommodation/construction vessels coming into the market next year.
Also of interest being built is a catamaran hybrid design under construction for seismic support operations which is due out in the third quarter of next year.
“This is an exciting project which can be very interesting for the Southeast Asian market with a low fuel consumption and high functionality to support the seismic survey vessels,” claims Kjell Gauksheim, Nordic Maritime’s ceo.
Gauksheim, who joined Nordic Maritime in 2006, says the plan going forward is to grow the company’s seismic and DP accommodation fleets.
“For certain OSV vessels the market is already facing an overcapacity and supply,” he says, concluding: “However, we are very focused on our two segments and have strong belief in these.”