Monday, December 12, 2016
As has been widely reported, the offshore oil and gas sector has been flat for some time but, as 2016 draws to a close, there is finally some optimism about a slow recovery over the next 24 months.
When a market bounces back, it’s like a resurgent football team stringing a series of wins together to go top of the league. All of a sudden people start wearing the club’s shirt to the shops and tell stories about how they’ve supported them through thick and thin. They’re called fair weather supporters and they only show up to cheer their side on when things are going well.
It’s the same in boardrooms up and down the country. Business owners, CEOs and their directors are reflecting on the last 12 months and highlighting target markets for the next year. Many are pulling on the Team Offshore shirt, kissing the badge and pledging their commitment to the industry’s purchasing decision makers and influencers. Some might find it’s not quite as straightforward as that, however.
We’ve taken a more consultative approach to the offshore oil and gas market despite its flatness, and I’d suggest anyone who serves markets prone to cyclical rises and falls to support them regardless of the climate. It hasn’t been easy, and they’ve taken time to cultivate, but we’ve unearthed opportunities in Portugal, Cyprus, Nigeria, Egypt and Singapore recently by working with offshore contacts when others might have put all their eggs in the infrastructure or construction baskets.
Of course, we’ve capitalised on the buoyancy of those sectors too, but we never removed ourselves from the offshore market as we did so. Consider how much better we are equipped to serve the industry when demand for lifting equipment rises as next year gathers pace. We don’t expect favour or special treatment but our position is undoubtedly advantageous.
Calm before the storm
We have used market calmness to make sure we are even better equipped to seize opportunities than we were during the last boom. Early in the New Year we will circulate a press release to trade media about the company being certified with type approval DNV 2.7-1 for wire rope lifting sets. It’s a game-changing announcement.
DNV GL, formerly known as Det Norske Veritas AS, a global provider of knowledge for managing risk, ensures that suppliers of lifting sets are audited to give end users assurances that our UK-sourced and manufactured equipment complies with relevant standards and guidance, including DNV 2.7-1 Offshore Containers; EN 12079-2 Offshore containers and associated lifting sets – Part 2: Lifting sets Design, manufacture and marking; EN 13414-1 Wire rope slings; and IMO/MSC Circular 860. Our certificate is valid until November 2020.
DNV is an independent organisation with dedicated risk professionals in more than 100 countries, with the purpose of safeguarding life, property and the environment. Interestingly, DNV 2.7-1 contains an amendment in which the certification and type approval requirements for lifting sets has been revised in Sec.8 and in Annex 1. DNV will no longer sign certificates; instead, manufacturers of lifting sets will instead be audited at regular intervals.
This blog isn’t self-serving, as regular readers will testify, but I go into such detail about what we’ve achieved in gaining the certification to make my point. Reputation and quality of service is hugely important to demanding offshore professionals, who work every day in one of the most challenging environments on earth, and one can’t retain respect by only turning up every time the market improves. Becoming one of very few DNV 2.7-1-certified businesses in the UK is reward for loyalty and long-term commitment to industry best practice.
Don’t be the friend who only calls when they’ve heard someone has had a bit of luck on the horses. Such an attitude is definitely a non-starter in the offshore sector.
We’re going to carefully monitor the oil and gas market to leverage our new DNV status. Our Pyle (Wales) and Grangemouth (Scotland) depots both supply the sector but only at Pyle headquarters can we manufacture the wire rope lifting sets to DNV 2.7-1.
As purchasing decision makers more actively shop around to combine price with quality, we need to make sure we are responsive and deliver promptly—just as we have throughout the last couple of years. In that sense, while the cycle meanders on in the outside world, we operate on a relatively even keel.
From strong foundations, we’ll also look for new opportunities. Not only will DNV certification further raise our profile offshore, it will also break the surface of the subsea market, where an abundance of lifting equipment is applied on a daily basis. We will also make ourselves available to stock, supply and maintain offshore rigging lofts.
Do you see how the whole approach is different to returning to a market in which one has been invisible?
On reflection, what an interesting, challenging but uplifting year it’s been. Tata Steel has only recently forged a deal at Port Talbot and Brexit hit us with major uncertainty. Honestly, I was apprehensive as we turned the corner almost 12 months ago. But, while we can’t ignore the headlines, it’s important for any business to write its own. I’m more optimistic as we head into the New Year, but that’s more because of how we have been proactive in 2016 and not because next year is going to hand us anything on a plate.
Finally, I’ll take an opportunity to wish all my readers who celebrate it a very Happy Christmas and every success, health and prosperity in 2017.
Thank you for reading—and keep engaging with us on Twitter at @RopeandSling
Rope and Sling Specialists Ltd