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Q: How are your acquisitions continuing their consolidation process under the umbrella of Boskalis?
HV: Marine survey companies Horizon Geosciences and Gardline are the latest acquisitions of Boskalis and are now part of the Boskalis Offshore Energy division. These companies provide an opportunity for Boskalis to get involved in the very early phases of offshore oil and gas projects and renewable energy projects. These are projects that can transition into important offshore energy infrastructure developments for which Boskalis can offer services that include transportation, installation and seabed intervention. This is why Horizon and Gardline are an important complement to the services portfolio of Boskalis
Q: How have your expectations changed for Mexico in 2021?
HV: From the perspective of our Survey Services, we are still looking at many projects that have a high degree of potential despite the general CAPEX drop in the Mexican oil and gas industry. We interpret this drop to be a delay in the commitments that companies made when acquiring their blocks, rather than anything permanent. There are about 29 shallow water blocks awarded during the bidding rounds that are being developed by both international and Mexican oil and gas companies. Drilling commitments were made by these companies in terms of their exploration campaigns. Some of these workplans have already been launched, while others are moving at a slower pace, but they present opportunities for us. Wells that will be drilled as part of those exploration plans will require appraisals and marine surveys that both Horizon and Gardline are ready to offer.
RM: In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, from the perspective of safety, we have taken a proactive approach that has been reflected in the way we have executed projects. Thanks to the development of safety protocols, we have been able to continue working. We work safely onboard and execute safe crew changes, which is a key element of our operations that was initially challenging. We have implemented control measures and procedures to enable our site investigation vessels to remain operational.
Q: How would you describe the state of your portfolio for fields’ initial development cycles?
HV: The work in the initial exploration phase is definitely of our interest. Exploratory and appraisal well drilling surveys will be required in Mexico and these services are an important focal point for us. The segment at the end of the development cycle, that of construction of offshore field infrastructure has yet to become more active. We need to see more exploratory wells transition into production wells. The potential is there, and as an example you have the major fields in development by Fieldwood, Hokchi, ENI and Talos.
We are following the exploration of the new fields and are searching for opportunities where we can participate. Some of these operators may have delays on their programs but we expect them to pick up the pace toward the start of 2021.
RM: Both Horizon and Gardline have been busy surveying in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic coast of the US, not only for oil and gas activities but also for offshore renewable energy projects. We have the capability to mobilize these vessels for survey work in Mexico if needed.
Q: To what degree do you consider the technical uniqueness of your fleet to be your main competitive advantage in Mexico?
RM: It is a combination of a specialized fleet and a wealth of experience that enables our survey businesses to execute projects safely, on time and within budget.
Horizon operates a number of geotechnical drilling vessels capable of deploying a variety of equipment to characterize the seabed conditions up to hundreds of meters below the seafloor and provide engineering parameters for foundation design. Gardline carries out geophysical surveys to map the broader seabed area, identify seabed and subsurface hazards such as shallow gas and identify stratigraphic changes that geotechnical investigations may need to focus on.
We can work with developers to ensure that the level of site investigation they conduct is appropriate to the project bringing our experience of other markets to bear. We have performed many thousands of meters of geotechnical investigations all of the world including Europe, Middle East, US, South America, West Africa and Asia. Some recent highlights include a combined geophysical and geotechnical investigation of a number of well site locations for an E&P company in Suriname. In this case our multidisciplinary approach saved the client cost, assured the schedule and achieved an integrated approach to the overall investigation.
Boskalis was founded as a Dutch dredging company in 1910. Through growth and acquisitions, it has become a global leading dredging contractor and marine services provider. Today Boskalis offers a wide variety of maritime services and contracting to the offshore energy sector. Through the acquisition of Horizon Geosciences and Gardline, the company strengthened its position in the offshore survey market.