An article about the profitability of the offshore access industry.
One of the fastest-growing industries of the last decade must be the offshore access industry. Both market segments this industry serves are growing at a rapid pace. Because of this, companies operating in the offshore access industry receive more and more orders. Clients of the offshore access providers can generally be divided into two categories:
The offshore oil & gas industry and the offshore wind industry.
Both industries have money to spend, so huge revenues are made. However, the offshore access industry can also be a bit complex for outsiders to understand because of the high-tech machinery used. The purpose of this article, therefore, is to describe the real attractiveness of this industry.
The offshore access industry is a very expensive industry to operate in. The cheapest provider of offshore access is the helicopter. A good helicopter will cost you at least 250,000 US dollars. A differentiated offshore access system like the Ampelmann will cost around 1,250,000 US dollars. It has to be said that the helicopter is an outdated offshore access solution, and it is likely that in the future the conservative oil & gas industry will definitely change over to the differentiated system.
Moreover, in order to operate these systems and to guarantee safe transport, experienced personnel are needed. All in all, this makes it very hard to start up a company in this industry.
The biggest problem for the providers of differentiated systems in this industry is the conservatism of clients acting in the oil & gas industry. The offshore access system is much safer, reliable, and cheaper in operation than old-fashioned solutions such as the helicopter, jack-up platform, and Windcat boat. Nonetheless, the offshore oil & gas industry still sticks to the use of these outdated solutions. Therefore, it is very hard to compete in this part of the market. The offshore wind industry is a different story. In this industry, the differentiated system is embraced and used for most operations.
Power of clients
Safety is priority number one for clients. They would rather have an expensive and 99% safe solution than a cheaper but less safe alternative. Safety is a very important issue because there are lots of offshore risks when transporting personnel. In the past, some accidents have occurred during the transport. Some people became injured or even died. This has led to huge reputation damage for the companies.
Power of suppliers
Suppliers of high-quality components are scarce in this industry. Especially if you are planning to fabricate a differentiated system, you will need highly specialized materials. Companies operating in the offshore access industry are highly dependent on their suppliers; a broken component can cause injuries or even casualties when transporting personnel. Vertical integration with suppliers is often not desired by the suppliers themselves, since the offshore access industry is one of the many clients they have.
The offshore access industry can be called an oligopoly. Since everything has to be specialized in this industry, it is hard to step out of it; the exit barriers are very high. The market has much potential and grows at a rapid speed each year. Therefore, it is very easy to gain market share in this industry.
It is expected that countries all over the world will build many wind farms, and all these wind turbines must be maintained. In order to do this properly, offshore access solutions are required. Furthermore, the recent oil discoveries in Brazil increased the demand for offshore transport solutions even further.
The offshore access industry is one of the fastest-growing businesses in the last few years. It is hard to get a foot in the door, but if you succeed, huge revenues can be made. The main priority is offshore safety. If your offshore transport solution is not safe enough, you will receive no orders from the market. Fortunately, competition is relatively low due to the fast-growing markets.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Romano Groenewoud is an IBA student interested in offshore access solutions and business in general.