Aker sees growth potential through Far East deepwater shift

The Australian oil and gas market is one of the key areas on which Aker Maritime is targeting its ambitions for international expansion. From established bases in northwest Europe and the Gulf of Mexico, the group has identified Australia as a priority area for future growth alongside West Africa, Brazil, and the Caspian Sea. Mainly through acquisition, Aker Maritime already provides a range of services in Australia, according to Knut Borgen, Senior Vice President for Business Development.

The Australian oil and gas market is one of the key areas on which Aker Maritime is targeting its ambitions for international expansion. From established bases in northwest Europe and the Gulf of Mexico, the group has identified Australia as a priority area for future growth alongside West Africa, Brazil, and the Caspian Sea.

Mainly through acquisition, Aker Maritime already provides a range of services in Australia, according to Knut Borgen, Senior Vice President for Business Development.

  • Aker Unirig Pty, the company set up following the acquisition of local company Unirig by Aker Marine Contractors Inc of the US, specializes in the sale and lease of mooring equipment, and services relating to preset moorings.
  • Aker Oil and Gas Pty provides engineering and project management services for greenfield developments, and is now close to finalizing a joint venture with a local company to provide similar services in the brownfield arena.
  • Maritime Well Services is becoming more active in Australia in the supply of downhole services and equipment following its acquisition of Catco Supply and Services Pty.
  • Aker Maritime's recent acquisition of Genesis Engineering Consultants brought with it the UK company's Perth-based subsidiary, which offers expertise in process engineering and consultancy.

"We don't have all the elements of our value chain in Australia, but we have a substantial part of it," says Borgen. "I think we can look forward to further expansion in that market through acquisitions, joint ventures and other partnership arrangements."

"Australia and the Far East region is interesting for us in that activities are moving into deeper waters where our floating production technology is well to the fore. Despite the region's current problems it represents a promising market which we are sure will revive."

Bayu-Undan is one of several upcoming field developments in Australia on which Aker Maritime hopes to bring its project skills to bear. The company has done studies of a novel floating LNG plant which is the solution proposed for the gas reserves by BHP. However, in view of the current slowdown in the Far Eastern gas market, it looks as though the first stage of development will involve condensate production only.

Here Aker Maritime is preparing to bid for detailed engineering of the production facilities - two steel platforms plus a production ship - with Fluor and Worley, the two partners with which it performed pre-engineering.

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