The Magazine for Underwater Professionals

Jan/Feb 2018


Funding boost for ROVOP

Aberdeen, UK-headquartered ROVOP has announced it has increased its ROV fleet by 50% to meet ongoing customer demand following a funding boost of £56 million.

Blue Water Energy, UK, and BGF, UK, have jointly committed to the funding which underpins ROVOP’s future growth plans including the creation of potentially up to 80 jobs.

ROVOP, which has bases in Aberdeen and Houston, USA, employs more than 180 people in onshore and offshore roles, and had operated 16 ROVs.

The funding has enabled the company to increase its fleet to 24 ROVs with the new assets mainly acquired from Tidewater in Houston. Tidewater owns and operates one of the largest fleets of offshore support vessels globally.

ROVOP was co-founded in 2011 by Steven Gray and Mark Vorenkamp. Gray said: “The past few years have seen customers recognise the difference in our quality of service. This latest investment allows us to continue to deliver this service to more customers, especially in the US where much of the new fleet has been acquired from Tidewater. The combination of the latest ROVs with our current assets means that we will have the highest quality ROV fleet globally.

“With BGF’s support, we have already established ourselves as a leading specialist in our field. The new partnership with Blue Water Energy will cement this further and accelerate our ambitious growth plans to become the leading independent ROV company. We look forward to working with Graeme Sword and the team from Blue Water Energy.”

He added: “As part of this new company chapter, Mark Vorenkamp is taking the opportunity to retire from the company and I’d like to thank him for his enormous contribution to ROVOP over the past six years. Mark has been an exceptional asset and mentor to the business at many levels. He will be hugely missed by the team and we wish him all the very best for the future.”

BGF first invested £10.6 million in ROVOP in April 2015, and has since supported the company twice more with additional funding to grow the fleet.

Mike Sibson of BGF said the investment represented an exciting phase in the development and growth of ROVOP. “BGF’s strategy is to continue to invest in our most successful businesses, and we are delighted to welcome the Blue Water team on board,” he said. “ROVOP has weathered the storm caused by the oil industry downturn by providing the best equipment, the best people and the best service to customers who need high reliability and efficiency. This partnership makes a step change in our ability to meet those customers’ demands.”

Graeme Sword, partner at BWE, said: “We look forward to the opportunity to work with an entrepreneur like Steven to drive further growth at ROVOP. Over the past six years, ROVOP has established itself as a high-quality provider of ROV services to many of the leading oil and gas companies globally. As the energy market continues to grow for this specialist service, we see Steven and his team as the best placed to capitalise on this.”

Ashtead and Forum finalise joint venture

Ashtead Technology, UK, reports it has completed its joint venture with Forum Energy Technologies, USA.

As part of the transaction, Forum contributed its subsea rentals business, which traded as Forum Subsea Rentals, “creating the industry’s leading, independent provider of subsea survey and ROV equipment rental services,” according to Ashtead. 

Allan Pirie, CEO of the combined business, trading as Ashtead Technology, said: “With a fleet of 19,000 assets valued in excess of US$139 million (£101 million), we become a business of significant scale and enhanced capability.”

MV 'Kobi Ruegg' joins Fugro's vessel fleet

The newly named MV Kobi Ruegg has joined Fugro’s vessel fleet and is set to begin her first project in the Egyptian sector of the Mediterranean Sea. Working on behalf of Saipem, Italy, Fugro, the Netherlands, will deploy its large diameter piston core system to collect soil samples in the Zohr gas field; geophysical surveys for Pico, Egypt, and Shell, the Netherlands, will follow.

The three-year-old vessel has been renamed Kobi Ruegg in honour of a former member of the Board of Management at Fugro and previously operated in the Gulf of Mexico for Fugro. She replaces the Fugro Navigator which has been permanently retired as part of Fugro’s ongoing vessel rationalisation process.

Permanently mobilised with a full range of geophysical survey and geotechnical sampling equipment, as well as a Saab Seaeye, UK, Panther remotely operated vehicle, the purpose-built, 58-metre, multi-role survey vessel is based in Alexandria, Egypt. From her new home port of Abu Qir, she will deliver Fugro’s marine site characterisation services to clients in the Eastern Mediterranean and Red Sea.

Köbi (Jakob) Rüegg passed away in March 2017. He worked for Fugro for almost 20 years, and from 2009 until he retired in 2013 was a member of the Board of Management with responsibility for the Offshore Survey Division.

At the formal naming ceremony held in Egypt, Mike Dravitzki, Fugro’s regional director, said the new vessel sent a strong signal of Fugro’s commitment not only to Egypt, but also to the wider Middle East region. “We are honoured to name this vessel in Köbi’s memory,” he added. “He visited Egypt regularly during his long career and inspired all of us to work hard, in a professional and safe manner, to deliver high quality results to our clients.”

  • Fugro's 58-metre survey vessel 'Kobi Ruegg' is named after a former member of the Board of Management at Fugro, who passed away in March 2017





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