One of the most hectic industries to compete in is the offshore access industry. This industry is characterized by growing markets and rapid innovations. Because of this, huge profits can be made by companies that have a patent on their system. However, it is also a complex environment to compete in, requiring millions of dollars investment. The purpose of this article, therefore, is to analyze the conditions of this industry and provide you with detailed information so you can make your own decision of investing in this industry.
The offshore access industry serves two market segments: The offshore oil & gas industry and the offshore wind industry. Both market segments experience enduring growth. The offshore wind industry mainly profits from the fact that many companies are shifting their attention to sustainable forms of energy generation. England, for example, has more than fort planned wind parks to be constructed in the near future. All of the wind turbines in these parks will need maintenance, so the demand for offshore access methods will increase.
The other sector, the lucrative offshore oil & gas industry is also thriving. This industry has profited from the recent oil discoveries near the coast of Brazil. More and more oil discoveries are made in the sea, and oil & gas fields are more and more exhausted. However, these companies need a third party that transfers their personnel from the vessel to the platform on sea. Therefore, it is expected that demand for offshore access methods will increase and maintain in this industry.
The biggest threat for companies operating in the offshore access industry is stricter regulations or government mandates, especially after the Deepwater Horizon accident. Stricter regulations will not only paralyze offshore oil & gas companies, but it could also hinder the providers of offshore access.
Another threat that could be catastrophic for the offshore access firms is an accident during the transport of personnel. If something happens during the process of transferring the employees, and people get injured or even die, this can lead to severe reputation damage. Since offshore safety is a top priority for all customers of this industry, it could put the specific company out of business.
The last threat is that of the environment. Conditions can be very rough offshore. Think of the salty North Sea or the harsh costs of Argentina. Conditions like this can gradually ruin a system. Since it is very expensive to build an offshore access system, this can lead to costs of millions of dollars.
There are multiple ways of providing offshore access. The cheapest and easiest one is the helicopter. The biggest advantage of the helicopter is the lead time. It can be transported very fast to the project where it is needed. However, it has more disadvantages; for example, it is very vulnerable to weather conditions. Moreover, there have been some accidents with helicopters in the past and because of this the method is seen as relatively unsafe.
The method of using Windcat workboats to transfer employees is especially popular in the offshore wind sector. The boats navigate to the platform of the wind turbine and go full throttle in order to ‘stick’ to the platform. In this way, personnel can safely transfer. This option is relatively expensive, but accidents occur seldom.
The newest offshore access method is the differentiated system. This is a machine with six hydraulic legs that can compensate wave motions. It is installed on a deck of a ship. Another component of this system is the gangway that enables workers to safely transfer. This machine is the most expensive to build, but is without doubt the safest and most efficient way of providing offshore transport. It is expected that the differentiated system will grow in popularity over the next years.
It is expected that both market segments the offshore access industry serves will grow in a rapid pace. There are some threats, but as long companies operate safely without accidents, it will not be a problem. If you want to invest in a particular method of offshore transport, your best guess is the differentiated system that grows in popularity and is expected to take over the market during the coming years.