Sebastian AS in Ulsteinvik on the west coast of Norway is to provide DP training to the crew of the new super-rigs belonging to Songa Offshore. The first rig, the Songa Equinox, will arrive in Norway in mid-October, and Sebastian must have its delivery ready before rig operations for Statoil start on the Troll field.
- This training assignment is a strategically important contract for us, says Johannes Kristian Bjøringsøy, CEO of Sebastian. The four so-called super-rigs, or 'CAT-D units', are being built in South Korea for Songa Offshore, a company controlled by Fredrik Mohn. This company is registered in Cyprus but has a large operations organisation in Norway. Songa Offshore started to build the rigs when it won a total of four eight-year contracts with Statoil – two in 2011 and two in 2012. The first two rigs will operate on the Troll field, while the last two will operate further north on the Norwegian continental shelf.
-These are very advanced, sophisticated rigs that are specially designed to tackle the harsh weather in the North Sea. Songa Offshore has cooperated closely with Statoil during the project's design, construction and testing phases. Over the past six months, we've helped the rig owner to find an optimal operating philosophy. We've thus worked closely with Songa Offshore, Statoil, Kongsberg Maritime, Lloyds and DNV GL, says Bjøringsøy, who adds:
- Our task now is to create the content of a training programme for the crew on board. These rigs are so different from other rigs that, although the crews hired by Songa Offshore have a high level of expertise and operational experience of modern rigs, they will require training in how to use the CAT-D rigs. It is naturally the Dynamic Positioning (DP) part that is our responsibility. Here, we can demonstrate the unique cross-expertise we've developed, in which we combine our engineers' theoretical and practical technical knowledge with the operational expertise of the captains employed by Sebastian AS.
Strategically important Because this is Sebastian's first training contract, the agreement with Songa Offshore is strategically important to this Ulsteinvik company, which established a branch office in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil in March. This contract now has top priority in Sebastian since the training must be completed before the rig starts to operate in November. That entails a certain time pressure:
-We have to use a lot of our staff for this project in order to make the project deadline. The training is to be provided as e-learning via Songa Offshore's e-learning portal. Our task will be to deliver the content of the training. Our goal is to create a course that is interesting, good and effective, says Bjøringsøy.
The training is module-based and the use of e-learning makes it all more cost-effective for Songa Offshore.
The crews on all four rigs – a total of 12 shifts - will undergo the training.
Quote: - Sebastian AS's combination of technical and operational DP expertise is just what we need in this phase. We've hired a lot of people to man the new CAT-D rigs and we ordered this training package so that we can have safe DP operations from day one of the rigs' operations. Safety is the most important factor for us and we have forged links here with Sebastian AS, as the provider of the DP course content, because this company is particularly skilled in safe DP operations.
Leon Karl Strongman, Operations Manager of Songa Offshore
Sebastian AS har teikna ein langtidskontrakt med Østensjø Rederi AS i Haugesund. Kontrakten har ein rammeavtale på fem år, der Sebastian først og fremst skal levere DP-relaterte tenester til fartøy som reiarlaget driv.
– Marknaden innan olje og offshore er tung for tida, og der er vanskeleg å skaffe seg slike kontraktar både for store og små selskap. Derfor er vi stolte av at vi har klart å sikre oss ein femårsavtale. Vi kjenner Østensjø som eit veldrive og godt reiarlag og er glade for å vere ein av deira samarbeidspartnarar, kommenterer dagleg leiar Johannes Kr. Bjøringsøy i Sebastian.
Selskapet har spesialisert seg på teknisk og operasjonell kompetanse knytt til system på avanserte offshorefartøy og mobile offshoreinstallasjonar. Bjøringsøy meiner Sebastian har utvikla det beste verktøyet og samla den beste kunnskapen med tanke på å forhindre operasjonelle avbrot, nedetid, uhell og ulykker.
Østensjø Rederi AS er eit stort reiarlag som driv innan både offshore, taubåttenester og store hotellskip. Sidan starten i 1974 har reiarlaget bygd opp milliardverdiar og har i dag 28 skip samt 9 nybygg under produksjon. Selskapet har over 500 tilsette. Nyleg skreiv Østensjø kontrakt med eit anna Ulstein-selskap, nemleg Kleven Verft, om bygging av eit 150 meter langt avansert offshore konstruksjonsskip til 1,4 milliardar kroner.
Rammeavtalen inneber at Sebastian utfører teknisk analyse av fartøy, yte assistanse i samband med operasjonelle styringssystem – og syte for ei effektiv gjennomføring av FMEA-tenestene (Failure Modes an Effects Analysis). Med 20 års erfaring innan olje og maritim industri har Sebastian samla opp kunnskap og erfaring over ein brei skala. Teamet i selskapet har omfattande erfaring frå arbeid på verft, mobile offshoreinstallasjonar og om bord i skip.
Sitat: - I Østensjø er vi opptatt av å knytte til oss den aller beste ekspertise innen områder vi har definert som operasjonelt kritiske. Vi ønsker å benytte oss av Sebastian AS innen DP for å kunne møte kunders stadig mer utfordrende ønsker og krav. Vi er avhengig av være best når vi ute og konkurrerer om jobbene. Sveinung Zahl, Operations Manager.
Sebastian AS in Ulsteinvik, Norway, is to open a branch office in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil on 1 March. The man who will run the office is in place - Jarle Uri is a Norwegian but has lived in South America for a long time and speaks fluent Portuguese.
"We've considered opening an office abroad for a long time. Now we've decided on Brazil for two reasons," says president and CEO Johannes Kr. Bjøringsøy.
"In the first place, we've found the right person. Such people are difficult to find. We're very choosy because we want to offer our customers the best possible services at all times.
"In the second place, times are tough in the offshore industry right now – with one exception: Brazil. This country is now planning large, weighty developments in the oil sector. They will need vessels for use in advanced DP operations. This is a market that we want to get into, so it's important to be there. We've had operations in Brazil since 2003 but large travel costs have led to us not being very competitive in this area."
Major investment Bjøringsøy does not try to hide that this is a major investment for Sebastian but he is convinced that they are doing the right thing.
"Jarle Uri has the right background. He has worked as both an FMEA auditor and an electrical/automation engineer. In addition, he has experience of advanced DP operations on board ships.
"Uri also has managerial experience and has been a CEO for many years – in both Thailand and Norway. He moved to Rio de Janeiro in 1999 and has lived there permanently since 2007, so he knows the place well."
Great cultural differences
When asked what it is like to work in Brazil, Uri replies:
"It's nice, but naturally you have to get accustomed to it. The business culture is very different to ours. So we have to be aware that we are the ones who have to adapt. By that, I'm not thinking about corruption or anything like that discussed in the media recently, but about other aspects of the culture. Brazilians are quite 'laid back' as people, but a Brazilian friend is a friend for life. It's important to make friends because they act as door openers. That's especially important in Brazil."
"We wouldn't have been able to start up so quickly in Brazil if we hadn't found a man who already lives there. And it's a bonus that he speaks the language fluently," says Bjøringsøy about the man who will now be in charge of Sebastian do Brasil.
Increasing interest in Brazil The investment cuts in the Norwegian oil sector have led to increasing interest in establishing operations in Brazil. Statoil's investment in the country has been a success. However, the Brazilian oil story has probably only just started. New finds are creating wonderful prospects and may be a goldmine for Statoil, which has produced oil in Brazil since 2011.
After working in the oil and maritime industries for 20 years, Sebastian has a wide range of knowledge and experience. The company's team have extensive experience of working in shipyards, on mobile offshore installations and on board ships. The company can provide a combination of engineering knowledge and captain experience that guarantees reliable and efficient FMEA (Failure Modes and Effects Analysis) services, which are one of Sebastian's main areas.