One of the most promising industries of the moment is the offshore access industry. Companies in this business make it possible for clients to move personnel from a boat to a stable platform offshore. This can be an offshore wind turbine or an offshore oil platform, depending on the industry the client is operating in. It might seem attractive to start a company in this industry, but the industry is very complex for outsiders to grasp, so the purpose of this article is to provide some basic information about what you need to make a profitable in this industry.
First of all it is important to know which offshore access method you want to employ for your business. Do you want to transfer personnel by helicopters? A jack-up platform? Or does the Windcat Workboat appeal the most to you? This is an important choice, because each method has its pros and cons, and some market segments prefer one method over another.
The helicopter has a huge advantage because of its fast lead time. This is an important criterion for clients, because time is literally money in the offshore industry. However, the helicopter has many flaws. For instance, it is relatively unsafe. Moreover, the helicopter is very vulnerable to external conditions such as the weather, causing lots of downtime.
The Windcat Workboat is the most popular option in the offshore wind sector. The Windcat Workboat can be described as a small vessel that is used to navigate to offshore wind turbines. When it approaches the turbine, it goes full throttle, in order to ‘stick’ to the platform. Finally, the personnel can cross safely. The Windcat Workboat is a bit of an all-rounder in this industry.
The jack-up platform is a rather expensive construction. As the name implies, it is a platform with three or four legs that rises out of the sea. In this way it is possible to transfer personnel. This method is very inflexible and expensive, but offers a relative high degree of safety, which is one of the most important requirements for clients.
The last method that I want to discuss is the offshore access system (OAS). This is a machine with hydraulic legs that are able to compensate wave motions. The system also contains a gangway that is used to connect to platforms. The personnel then walk over the gangway to the other side. The system is relatively new and therefore not well-known yet in the market.
The cheapest method of providing offshore access will be the helicopter, beginning at a price of 200,000 euro’s. However, it has to be noted that you will need a large fleet in order to handle all the orders in the industry, since the demand for offshore access solutions is rapidly rising. The most expensive option will be an offshore access solution. These will cost you one million euro’s for material expenses solely.
Moreover, you will need highly skilled personnel with specialized knowledge. The right personnel are crucial for two main reasons: First of all without skilled personnel you cannot construct an offshore access machine or other offshore transport methods. Secondly, personnel must assist in offshore transfers. Offshore accidents can lead to severe reputation damage, so it is really important to assist clients in their operations.
The offshore access industry is a costly business to enter. However, if you are established, huge profits can be reaped. The growth of the industry will remain for the coming decades, since the demand for offshore access solutions keeps rapidly growing, mainly due to large oil discoveries near the coast of Brazil and the focus of governments on offshore wind as form of energy generation.