The Magazine for Underwater Professionals

Nov/Dec 2017


Global Marine Group to acquire Fugro's trenching and cable laying business

The MV 'Symphony' is part of the acquisition

UK-based offshore engineering services company Global Marine Group (GMG) has announced a multi-million pound deal to acquire the trenching and cable laying arm of Fugro, the Netherlands.

The deal will see GMG acquire Fugro’s trenching and cable laying business in exchange for an equity stake of around 24% in the combined business valued at US$65 million (£49 million), and a one-year secured vendor loan of US$7.5 million (£5.6 million).

The arrangement will involve the transfer to GMG of 23 Fugro employees located in Aberdeen, UK, as well as one vessel (MV Symphony), two Q1400 trenchers and two work-class remotely operated vehicles. Built in 2011, the MV Symphony, a multi-purpose vessel with an extensive 1400-square-metre deck space, will join GMG’s cable installation and maintenance fleet.

GMG, which provides engineering, underwater and cabling services to the oil and gas, telecoms and offshore renewables sectors, said the acquisition will “significantly enhance” its portfolio of service offerings to the market and will provide it with “highly capable, proven assets with a history of delivering complex engineering projects to customers around the world”.

Fugro is a provider of geo-intelligence and asset integrity solutions, which involves the gathering and analysis of data on topography, soil composition and meteorological and environmental conditions.

Since the founding of Fugro’s trenching and cable lay services business in 2012, the company has established a strong presence in the renewables market, working with offshore wind farms including Lincs Wind Farm, Humber Gateway, Gwynt y Môr and Rampion.

The business has also conducted multiple operations in oil and gas for major oil companies such as Shell and BP.

“This acquisition is another deliberate step in our strategic plan, adding extensive capabilities of the Fugro trenching and cable lay team to the Global Marine Group and further equipping us with proven assets to support our growth plans,” said Ian Douglas, chief executive officer of GMG. “I am delighted that Fugro identified us as the right partner to advance their trenching and cable lay business and I am looking forward to welcoming the Aberdeen-based trenching team to our corporate family. We are committed to our vision of engineering a clean and connected future.”

IMCA appoints additional diving technical adviser

Tim Helsdon has joined the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) as a technical adviser – diving, working with Bryan McGlinchy, the senior diving technical adviser, and fellow adviser Peter Sieniewicz. 

“Tim will be a great addition to our busy technical team,” said Richard Benzie, IMCA’s technical director. “He has a lifetime’s experience in the diving industry and possesses in-depth engineering knowledge of life support and dive systems. He has worked as a life support supervisor, dive technician supervisor and dive system consultant, and has an extensive network of contacts.”

New website to support marine technology firms in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly

Marine-i, the EU-funded scheme that provides support for the UK marine sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, has launched a new website for businesses requiring help in developing marine technology projects.

The new website maps out the available support through the scheme, details the types of businesses which are eligible for support, and allows businesses to get in touch with the Marine-i project team.

Part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Marine-i is a £9.3 million collaboration between the University of Exeter, Plymouth University, The Cornwall College Group, Cornwall Marine Network, Cornwall Development Company and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult. It aims to bring together the industry expertise and key infrastructure needed to support a new generation of products and services in the marine sector. This is an area identified by the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership as having high growth potential for the county and the ability to create high paid, skilled jobs.

A key objective is to help at least 100 small and medium sized businesses over the life of the project, which runs until December 2019. The project team will also advise any businesses which want to apply for grant support through the £3.2 million Marine Challenge Fund.

Matt Hodson, operations director at Cornwall Development Company, said: “Marine-i offers the most comprehensive package of support ever provided to help boost marine technology in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.”

M2 Subsea unveils purpose-built test tank in Aberdeen

M2 Subsea, the Aberdeen, UK-based independent provider of ROV services, has unveiled a recently commissioned, purpose-built test tank.  

The indoor fresh water tank, which can hold 73,600 litres of water, has been created for the primary purpose of testing ROVs and ancillary equipment. The company said the facility will allow it to be in total control from the planning to completion of asset testing, ensuring the quality and rapid turnaround of results before they are deployed for both domestic and international projects.  

The tank, which is commercially available for subsea manufacturers and service providers to rent, measures eight metres by four metres by 2.3 metres and can accommodate both work-class and observation-class ROVs. It also features a gantry crane which has a safe working load of 15 tonnes and an independent 415-volt three-phase 200-amp power supply to accommodate testing equipment. Two-tonne and 16-tonne forklifts are also onsite at all times for any unloading and loading requirements.  

Chief executive officer Mike Arnold said: “The commissioning of the test tank offering at our Aberdeen base is a great benefit to M2 Subsea. The facility provides us and the local subsea market with a high-quality area for the wet testing of new equipment and will allow for us to test assets more quickly and effectively. 

Fugro to open centre of excellance

Fugro, the Netherlands, has announced plans to establish a Hydrography Centre of Excellence for the Americas. “Utilising specialist resources that include autonomous vessels and aircraft, integrated data acquisition techniques, remote processing and large data transfer, the focus is on reducing risk, increasing accuracy and streamlining project timelines for clients,” according to a company spokesman.

The spokesman said the Houston, USA-based centre will handle a wide range of hydrographic project types, including nautical charting, cable routing and Law of the Sea boundary claims. “With continued delivery excellence as its objective, Fugro is formalising its coastal zone mapping services using complimentary geophysical and geotechnical techniques to benefit a wide range of applications including resource development, infrastructure siting, coastal management and emergency response,” he said.

Establishing the new centre is part of Fugro’s reorganisation of its hydrography services in the Americas, relocating key staff and assets from its San Diego office to its USA headquarters in Houston. Consolidating resources to regional hubs that house a wider range of geophysical and geotechnical offerings is part of Fugro’s global effort to meet customer needs more efficiently, said the spokesman.





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