• Norway Reports

Semco Maritime Norway - Modifications and upgrading on demand

Updated: Sep 10, 2019

Lars Skov, Senior Vice-President Rig Projects at Semco Maritime

Q: Can you briefly tell us about the history of Semco Maritime and its involvement with the oil and gas sector and an about an example of a success story of the company in Norway?

A: Semco Maritime comes from a company called Semler and Co. It was a small electrical shop, which started in the beginning of the 1900s. From there, it grew into a larger company and back in mid-1990s, we were acquired by a Danish family group. Since then, we have been growing within the electricity field and further into offshore, from offshore into cruise ships and big power stations on land. In mid-2000s, we started selling out parts of our company, which were not directly related to offshore. Our maritime division was sold to an oil company and we cut down on our land operations; currently, we are an offshore company. We have been acquiring companies since mid-1990s, also in Norway, to strengthen our position in the offshore business and to have bigger in-house capabilities.

The acquisition of a large yard in Hanøytangen was our biggest achievement in the Norwegian Continental Shelf. This was done in 2015, and it is the largest dry dock in the Northern part of Europe for rig repair, upgrade, and modification jobs. We have had a number of projects during that time, but this one is the biggest, showing that we are well established in Norway.

Q: What are Semco Maritime’s current priorities and where do you see the main opportunities to capitalize on?

A: In order to understand this, we have to understand what Semco Maritime is today. We are currently working in three main areas. One area is Oil and Gas, the second is Wind, and thirdly we have Renewables. The Oil and Gas sector is a mature market, which we use as a base to grow from, while both Wind and Renewables are new and emerging markets. Within the Oil and Gas segment, we have a division in Kristiansand who deals with product and technologies, which include multiple solutions for fire and gas, telecommunication and a variety of other products. In the Norwegian market, rig jobs in the yard in Hanøytangen, Bergen provide the biggest opportunities and create solid foothold for the future. In Stavanger, we have Oil and Gas operations, who delivers personnel resources to offshore installations on both fixed and time limited rotations. We also prefabricate minor jobs for fixed and movable platforms. This is Semco Maritime Norway.

Q: How important is the Norwegian market for the company’s activities, and what are the differences between performing operations in Norway and other oil and gas regions?

A: When talking about Norway, we have to consider our strategy and the North Sea Triangle where we incorporate our activities in Denmark, the UK and Norway. The UK and Norway are quite similar in size in terms of activities. Norway has more fixed platform activities than the UK; however, rig activities are more significant in the UK. Norway is a very appealing area and it is very important to get a strong foothold here, to be present when the market picks up again. These are the reasons why we have offices in Stavanger, Kristiansand and Hanøytangen. Furthermore, we also cooperate with Tromsø and Hammerfest, so, location wise, we cover the whole of Norway in order to be ready to adapt to its growth, especially in the Northern part of Norway.

Q: What are the opportunities to keep costs of a project under control when the oil prices are low?

A: Often, the oil companies control the rig owners and suppliers like ourselves. The oil companies want to be innovative in trying new techniques and solutions; however, some of the solutions that they consider new have already been seen or tested by Semco Maritime. For instance, predictive maintenance. Predictive maintenance and digitization, which is a part of it, are some of the current popular key terms. When drilling in harsh environments such as the Barents Sea, winterization is of extreme importance. Oil companies are trying to find ways to work smarter and more cost-effective. Semco Maritime is adapting to this environment. In these areas, we have been innovative and many times even ahead of the situation. Because of the crisis, we had to cut almost half of our employees and revenues decreased accordingly, but low oil prices have sparked many great ideas for the future that will keep operating costs for both our clients and us at decent and more realistic levels.

Q: Semco Maritime delivers solutions throughout the entire lifecycle of a project. What is the key that leads to a successful executed project?

A: When we talk about the whole lifecycle of a project, Semco Maritime is mostly involved in the modification, maintenance, and service areas. We are not involved in platform development, but we take over when the platform is finished. One of our main strengths are Project Management, which we see as an essential key to a successful execution of a project. With Project Management, we provide qualified welders, electricians and other trades, people that perform pre-fabrication while controlling the whole flow of complicated modification- or upgrade jobs. Sometimes, companies see project management as unnecessary expenditure however, at the end of the day; it reduces costs, provides efficiency and meets the customers’ expectations.

Q: What is Semco Maritime’s value proposition to increase profitability and its attitude towards digitization?

A: Digitization helps get access to vast data. Today, oil companies or manufacturers of on-board equipment mainly control this data. We are trying to get access to the industry data, but, as mentioned, most of this is controlled by oil companies and they willingness to grant us access. As comparison, for example, today’s helicopters have around 170 types of sensors installed. After each flight, the measurements of the sensors are reviewed. The data show measured temperature, vibrations and have small sensors that show how much steel fragments there is in the hydraulics etc. By using this data after a flight, it is easy to analyse all the measurements and see if the helicopter is either ready for another flight, needs repairs shortly or cannot fly at all. These are the kind of options involved in predictive maintenance, which we see as a potential growth area for our industry.

The challenge in relation to handling and managing “Big Data”is getting access to these data. These data are normally spilt between the owners of the equipment and the manufacturers. The buzzword in relation to getting access to these data is “cooperation”. The data owners, who can be either equipment owners and/or equipment manufacturers, need to be willing to share these data in order to start the evaluation process with focus on making the maintenance more lean or in other words be more predictive. Presently we are trying to gain access to these data and we are eager to see how these evaluations compare to our knowledge of the business. Hopefully, this will be a starting point to more openness between companies and suppliers but also for discussions on how to evolve because reviewing and evaluating vast data will allow you to see where people fail, and unfortunately, this is not a preferred subject.

Q: What are Semco Maritime’s main competitive advantages as a service provider?

A: As I have mentioned, Project Management is one advantage and so are our strategic locations. We have positioned ourselves strategically throughout Norway in areas such as Bergen, and when it comes to rig upgrades, we have access to Tromsø and Hammerfest. As activities are executed further and further north, the need for a quayside increases. If we enter an area we are not controlling, we use a concept called “shipyard in a box”, where we build yard facilities with bespoke containers. Although it is not a dry dock, we establish a solid facility where we can work. This concept is not limited to a quayside. Using “shipyard in a box” we can also set up shipyard facilities on a rig or a platform, and the flexibility to adapt to the clients’ needs and the locations is one of our core competencies, which gives us an ‘edge’ in our very challenged market.

Q: Which of the company’s competences allow taking advantage of opportunities in the Barents Sea and the Arctic, and what are the challenges in these regions?

A: The Arctic zone is, of course, extremely cold. We are highly skilled at winterisation. We cooperate closely with a company in the US that produces advanced mat systems which allows us to winterise a whole platform. We can perform heat tracing both under water and above it. We can cover everything with heated mats, making it possible to work under extreme conditions at minus 40-50 degrees Celsius. This is one of our core businesses. However, controlling these systems and installing all the heattracing pads with heating panels has one challenge. We have to be certain of the electricity capacity demands in order to ensure that the platform is able to provide a sufficient amount of power.

Q: What are the company’s ambitions and expectations for the future?

A: Strengthening our position in the North Sea Triangle is one of our goals. Growing in Renewable energy and Wind markets is another. We are using a part of our Oil and Gas resources to establish our position in emerging markets in order to diversify and to be prepared for the changing market.

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