A year full of 

disruption

 

2017 offered radical changes in the Danish offshore industry, and Ramboll is looking forward to the new scenario offering further opportunities

 

The top of Ramboll’s new domicile is offering a spectacular view of Esbjerg, the harbour and large parts of Southwest Jutland. From here, too, there is an excellent overview of the Danish offshore industry having changed dramatically within just a year. Old hands like Maersk Oil and DONG have resigned and been replaced by Total and Ineos, and Hess – still one of the traditionally major operators - is planning to look elsewhere. Such changes cannot help shaking the food chain, and at Ramboll’s it naturally has made a profound impression, too.

 

”When looking at the Danish market, last year was a period of extreme disruption. When we presented our business plan for 2017 we considered it as an element of risk that perhaps one of the operators might be considering areas where the grass grew greener, but in no way did we envisage the Big Three to act that way. Now, a year later two of them have already been sold, and one is partly up for sale. We never anticipated such a situation,” explains John Sørensen, Executive Director, Ramboll Energy, who can see indications that the new scenario is changing the tranquility lately in many ways characterizing the Danish market.

 

”By now two of the three new operators have been named, and now we shall have to turn the new situation into the best possible direction. Obviously, selling of Maersk Oil presented a new element of risk as this company had such a dominant position, but they have been replaced by Total being one of the Oil Majors.  Here, fortunately we have our own reputation as a supplier, and that offers an extra opportunity for us to show how we can serve them. You may chose to consider the change as a risk or an opportunity, but it might be an opening for us to follow Total into new markets, so for that reason we consider it an opportunity,” states John Sørensen, who has already had a considerable amount of the company’s resources allocated to the new Tyra-project. For that reason it is not his assessment that 2018 will present a dramatic change from last year.

 

The alternative was reduction

Compared to the opportunity of more contracts to be awarded as a result of the large investment lying ahead only limited progress was traced in the Danish sector – a tendency John Sørensen expects to continue.

 

”We knew that 2017 would be a difficult year, but compared to 2016 we saw progress in some places. The Middle East and Norway were looking better as we have seen mounting activity causing a certain optimism. 2017 was the yead were we stopped reducing our staff, and we have used the critical years to getting sharper in order to improve our competitive edge. No doubt the consulting fees have decreased significantly – even to a level where we would not a few years ago have been able to make both ends meet. But  now we have developed methods helping us to accept the rates now being offered by the market,” concludes John Sørensen pointing out that cooperation between more of the offices of the concern and increased work within wind power as well as in other areas of growth have had a positive effect.

Faith in the North Sea is still intact, and as the last 18 months to a large degree has focused on preparing for the Tyra project, then more tangible agreements are now being placed in the slot – for Ramboll, too.

 

”First of all it means that the base for our future is now secured as the alternative was the start of closing down of the oil and gas activities here in Denmark.  If no agreement had been reached as to the Tyra there would be no future for a continuation of operations in the North Sea, but this new situation will create a lot of jobs. Esbjerg is ideally situated if we can get the right workforce, but we knew, too, that many of the major contracts could not be handled by Danish companies,” states John Sørensen, explaining:

 

”A lot of jobs will turn up requiring various skills, but to us it may not necessarily be giant projects. Many Danish companies will get contracts as sub-contractors, and we, ourselves, are involved in the most interesting contract placed at McDermott. Naturally, we shall try to assist them as much as possible, but we do not have to hire more staff for that reason. We were involved in another contract, too, requiring a totally different level of staff, but the contract we got was the second-best solution to us, and it requires a certain involvment, too,” explains John Sørensen who is still on the look-out for anything else happening in the Danish Sector.

 

”It will be most interesting to follow the plans developed by a new operator like Wintershall who has stated their interest in the 7th concession round being one of the few companies having committed themselves to drill a well in the not too far future. We are crossing our fingers hoping for them to discover something, and then we are keepíng an eye on what projects may pop up concerning the Hejre field. The content of the plans are still a bit uncertain, so we are just waiting, but we have to realize that nothing is like it was just a year ago,” concludes John Sørensen who in spite of all the changes still maintains a good overview of the Danish offshore industry.

 

 

 

Facts

 

/ 
Rambøll has united the two departments

Energy and Oil & Gas in a new organization, which will have the name Rambøll Energy. 

 

/ 
Thomas Rand will be CEO of the new unit.

 

/ 
John Sørensen is appointed executive director.

 

When looking at the Danish market, last year was a
period of extreme disruption

 

 
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