It’s all about dialogue
At Semco Maritime expectations for 2016 call for holding on to a strong position in the present market and securing competitive solutions.
Several times during the recent years an adjustment of the workforce has been forced upon the company as a natural consequence of the dropping oil prices. Downscaling of the investments among the oil companies have resulted in a drop in activities in the North Sea having influencing the Esbjerg-based company, which from its new domicile at Esbjerg Beach has a clear view to the horizon behind which lies its most important market.
“We still believe the North Sea to be the home grounds for the majority of our activities, but – obviously – at a somewhat lower level than we saw last year. We have no idea where we shall land, but it is a situation which we are closely watching. Looking at the market just now we do not believe in a large number of new projects, but we are in the same boat as so many other companies.
Our ambition is to hold on to our strong position in the present market in order to ensure that we remain the preferred supplier for our clients to contract for new jobs,” declares Steen Brødbæk, CEO of Semco Maritime, who is preparing for another year in the shade of the declining oil prices.
“We expect 2016 to show a somewhat lower level of activities than 2015 despite the fact that we are a diversified company where the different sectors are influenced in different ways.
We expect the oil and gas industry to engage in less new building project for us to tender for, while maintenance seems to remain on status quo or a little less.
The present situation makes most oil companies hesitant, and it is quite difficult to read the Norwegian market where major organizational changes take place. That is why we do not quite know where we shall end up, and that makes us extra prudent.
In the UK sector we have a rather low turn-over, but here we expect a status quo, too,” explains Steen Brødbæk, who for that reason is looking at areas where Semco Maritime can make a difference. “In the years to come offshore wind will be of interest. This year, together with Bladt Industries we shall deliver 3 transformer stations, and during the period of 2017- 2018 we expect another 60 projects to be sent out for tendering.
” LOOKING AT LONG-TERM IMPROVEMENT To a high degree it is a question of acting in a way taking hand of the present market, but also – which is most important – to sense the development beyond the present horizon.
“My appeal is for us to look at long-term improvements as it is a problem to perform better in an industry which has already adjusted to a meager market. We have to look for perpetual and long-term sustainable solutions in order to avoid having to sit down next year, too, complaining about the oil prices.
Across the value chain of our industry we shall find new ways of lowering our costs from index 100 to perhaps 90 or 85 like all other industries, and make that our future target.
Of course we shall reduce our costs to make us competitive, but it is just as much a question of engaging in a dialogue so that together we can reduce costs to a sustainable level.
We may starve a bit for a period, but we shall all be able to live together in the future,” states Steen Brødbæk who in general has trust in a more innovative approach to future projects.
“There is no doubt that most branches are willing to look at things in another way than now, and that business models are being changed. In a rather conservative industry like ours it is necessary to come up with ideas for a continuous reduction of costs by for instance listening to experience from other segments of customers. How can we perform in a more efficient way considering the fact that our level of safety still has to remain very high?” asks Steen Brødbæk rhetorically of course having the answer ready at hand.
“We have to come up with concrete suggestions during our close dialogues, for only by cooperation and through dialogue is it possible for us to press down costs.” IMPROVED COMPETITIVENESS Talking together is extremely necessary as the market at present is most uncertain. Semco Maritime is accepting that this is the game for the years to come, so it is necessary to act without jeopardizing quality.
“The economic and political signals are pointing in all directions, but one thing is for certain: If consumption does not go up, we shall witness a low and perhaps dropping oil price.
Such are the conditions, but we do not weep. We focus at performing our jobs at a high quality level. It warms one’s heart to read the latest surveys from our customers. Once more they value the quality of our services highly, and at the same time they praise the competences of our staff and their dedication to their work,” explains Steen Brødbæk who is not expecting to go offensive for the next few years.
“I do not consider it likely for us to purchase other companies in 2016. What happened in 2015 was something we had prepared for a couple of years, and subsequently we could see that the market continued to drop. However, it was a fantastic opportunity for us, and we shall take full advantage of it, but we do not plan for more.
Saying that, luck of course may come our way with a perfectly suited gift, but that is a situation we are not proactively pursuing.” In spite of the gloomy prospects Steen Brødbæk obviously has maintained his faith in the North Sea – especially under the right framework of conditions. “There must be an incentive for continuous investments for both present as well as future operators in the Danish sector of the North Sea.
That is why it is important for us to remove any possible barriers in order to create increased interest for this area. Other countries have been quick to make corrections, and at the present level of the price of oil it is definitely a subject needing an even closer look at in the future.”
"Steen Brødbæk, CEO, Semco Maritime."