The last couple of years have seen fairly lean pickings for offshore fabricators in the Netherlands and on the UK east coast. But for one Dutch yard, paradoxically, things could scarcely have gone better.
HSM in Schiedam, already sitting on a 2010/11 workload that will carry it through virtually to next summer, looks back on 2008 and 2009 as the best years in its long history both in terms of turnover and profitability. ‘No bad thing in a recession,' observes procurement manager Edwin Prinse. ‘We did extremely well because we always had some offshore job going on and the shed was never empty.'
But Prinse remains cautious, knowing how easily feast can turn to famine in the North Sea construction business.
‘We've done well but a fair measure of success for HSM is if we have two offshore jobs of some size running at the same time. If there's just one we worry,' he explains.
When OE called on the yard it was adding the finishing touches to the 850t topsides, 670t jacket and 500t of piles for Total's K5-CU platform, due to sail for the Dutch sector by summer ending. That's been a successful EPC contract for HSM, maintaining an impressive run of North Sea platform work in its preferred range up to 3000t.
Now the yard has started construction activities on another Dutch North Sea platform, consisting of a topsides weighing 1000t, a 1050t jacket plus 500ft of skirt piles, for The Hague-based Chevron Transportation's B13 platform. The scope here is EPCI, with HSM scheduled to complete construction by March 2011 and T&I subcontractor Seaway Heavy Lifting due to install it the following April or May using Stanislav Yudin.
On the renewable energy side, a growing part of HSM's business these days, the yard has been selected by C-Power's main contractor ABB to fabricate the 2200t transformer station to be installed as part of the Thornton Bank wind farm development offshore Belgium. Pending financial sanctioning, the contract does not officially kick off until end September. But to relieve some of the pressure in an ultra-tight construction schedule – installation is slated for March 2012 – ABB agreed to lift engineering out of the workscope and let HSM run that as a separate exercise ahead of the main contract.
‘So that puts us already into 2012,' says Prinse. ‘The future's looking bright but ideally we would like to have one more job in the bag – be it oil & gas or renewables – when B13 leaves the yard next spring.'
A recent spate of new or repeat tendering opportunities has encouraged Prinse that this goal is achievable while also putting the HSM calculations team under severe pressure over the summer months. Among the current bid opportunities are two platforms in the Danish sector, various UK projects, and two jackets for RWE's Gwynt Y Mor windfarm in the Irish Sea. OE