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Offshore Support Journal

Offshore Support Journal

How the OSV industry is fundamentally changing

Tue 12 Feb 2019 by Edwin Lampert

How the OSV industry is fundamentally changing
René Kofod-Olsen (Topaz): “The days of buying a vessel and putting it on a day rate are numbered”

Oil companies’ more disciplined approached to capital expenditure marks a seismic shift for the sector, Topaz Energy and Marine chief executive René Kofod-Olsen told delegates at this year’s Annual Offshore Support Journal Conference.

Mr Kofod-Olsen said the aftershocks would include the demise of the day rate; the end of statutory drydockings; a new financial ecosystem and the rise-and-rise of the internet of things.

“The days of buying a vessel and putting it on a day rate are numbered,” he said. “In future, service providers will enter into service contracts linked to a portfolio of services – there will be less focus on the type of vessel and more on the type of service the customer seeks.”

Also heading for obsolescence according to Mr Kofod-Olsen is statutory drydocking. Maritime digitalisation will strengthen communication between operator and classification society and allow for a vessel’s condition to be monitored in real-time. On this basis the parties can agree on when a vessel actually needs a drydocking versus scheduled intervals. 

“We need to reinvent our businesses. It has to be easier to do business with us. For the equipment suppliers they have to be able to make a living, but they have to be able to make it by creating that value for us.”

Topaz is working with General Electric on monitoring its vessels fleetwide. Typically, 15-20 sensors are installed in the fuel and lube oil tanks of the vessel. Topaz is also collaborating with Caterpillar on fuel tracking. “The internet of things is something that is not a future element for us, it is something that the entire organisation embraces.”

Also destined to be ‘reset forever’ is the industry’s financial ecosystem. “In future, vessel financing will be a lot more collaborative and there will need to be a heathier dose of realism when it comes to margins.

“My plea to the industry is that they ensure that the CFO is sitting at the table when these decisions are made – not just the people who have the sailor’s heart.”

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