Since its formation in 2003, Offshore Marine Management (OMM) has grown within the renewable energy, subsea telecoms and oil and gas sectors, expanding from providing personnel for offshore projects to taking on turnkey cable installation contracts. Indeed, OMM’s ability to adapt to ever changing market conditions has allowed it to flourish even in times of economic uncertainty.
“Since we last spoke several years ago, we have evolved further as a company to the point where we went through a full restructuring of the business at the beginning of 2013,” explains Chief Operating Officer, Eckhard Bruckschen. “Since then we picked up a number of key contracts, one of particular note being a maintenance contract in the Middle East secured by our joint venture company CAOMM.”
Within this three year maintenance contract CAOMM is responsible for maintaining the submarine power cables running between a network of platforms. Understandably there were a large number of players vying for this contract, however the perfect choice was CAOMM. This is one of the largest submarine power cable maintenance agreements in the world to date.
“One thing we have always taken great pride in is the fact that we are different from those contractors who appear on site to provide a specific service and then disappear as soon as the work is done,” Bruckschen continues. “What we endeavour to do is allow the client to be more involved and hands on in such a way that ultimately we are helping them build their own capabilities. Our own strategy in recent years has involved developing further into operations and maintenance, and it is with the type of contract that we have secured in the Middle East that we open ourselves up to this area of the market and the contract secured in the Middle East by CAOMM is an indication that our investment and strategy is valued and required by the clients.”
OMM’s recent experience has led Bruckschen to highlight that the Middle East is indeed a buoyant market, especially when it comes to power cables and the services required to connect these from offshore platforms to shore. This is not strictly limited to this part of the world however.
“We have also witnessed a similar trend gaining momentum in Mexico, where the government has recently opened up deep water zones to international investment,” Bruckschen says. “Currently there is one project underway off the Mexican coast that involves the use of interconnected power cables.”
Latin America has been the source of other recent successes for the company, one of the more recent being the awarding of a multi-million dollar Engineering Procure Install and Commission (EPIC) project, in this instance by Chilean electrical company Grupo Saesa. This particular contract is unique to Chile in that it will see OMM and its partner companies installing a submarine cable, the first of its kind in the country, which will join the island of Huar in the Los Lagos region to Chile’s Central Interconnected System.
“Being an EPIC contract this project will see us providing a full assortment of management and engineering services including cable route design, marine surveys, installation and the provision of marine resources,” Bruckschen states. “This is very much a ground-breaking project and again represents the type of work that we hope to concentrate more on in the future.”
Once again, the awarding of this contract saw OMM and its partner companies overcome a highly competitive international tender process, where the group was up against a considerable number of other organisations. The process itself demanded that prospective companies adhere to strict regulations and provide detailed case studies and examples of management procedures. OMM’s partnership with local companies is important to OMM, and contributed to its ability to deliver this important project to its client.
The completion of the project is expected to generate massive benefits to the 520 families living on the island including huge savings on the cost of electricity, which will encourage further local investment. Additionally the island can expect to see considerable environmental benefits as the new supply will reduce its use of fossil fuels.
With Latin America proving itself to be a hotbed of activity and increasing exploration making the Middle East an epicentre for oil and gas development OMM has every right to feel confident about its own growth opportunities, and that is before taking into account other possibilities the market has to offer.
“In Europe we are witnessing oil and gas growth mainly coming from activity within Russia’s Barents Sea, and we believe that has the potential to create more work in the region,” Bruckschen says. “Elsewhere, all along the Norwegian coast to be exact, there are a number of existing platforms that will eventually be connected, meaning there will be a big demand for submarine cables once that work is commissioned. Decommissioning activities will continue to grow at a steady pace, while any further growth across key regions will of course be determined by future exploration.”
While being optimistic about the future, Bruckschen remains aware of OMM’s need to remain on a steady course that will allow it to avoid the pitfalls of growing too rapidly that it stretches beyond its means. “Of course we remain open to investment in the future, however it needs to be the right match for us,” he concludes. “In the meantime we will continue to spread ourselves across various disciplines and geographic regions, all the while remaining on top of market fluctuations, focusing on our established client base and working diligently to attract new business.”
Written by Will Daynes, research by Peter Rowlston