INTERVIEW: JDR Prepares for Market Recovery
Subsea World News recently spoke to JDR’s global sales director for oil and gas, Carl Pilmer, about the company’s views of current market situation and JDR’s plans for the future.
JDR is a provider of subsea technologies and services to the global offshore energy industry. The company is active in both the oil and gas and renewable energy sectors.
JDR secured the majority of its contracts this year in the oil and gas sector, so we asked Mr. Pilmer to tell us more with respect to these awards, considering the significant slowdown in the industry.
Pilmer said: “We set out a strategy three years ago to target operators and installers that had key projects going ahead. Our key focus was in production umbilicals, and this is where the majority of awards have been achieved.
“We targeted shallow water projects and smaller operators because it was inevitable that there would be a downturn at some point. That was one of the reasons. The smaller operators were a target because the big operators already had relationships with our competitors. We specifically targeted smaller operators to make sure we covered all the key projects in shallow water areas.
“This strategy has paid off. We have seen a downturn in the industry but have positioned ourselves strategically with key clients.”
In our conversation Pilmer revealed that he was currently in Dubai for a meeting with McDermott and Saudi Aramco. JDR recently received an umbilicals contract from McDermott for projects in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
The company is also delivering umbilicals and reelers for Aker Solutons’ Subsea Division this year. In addition to that, JDR introduced new reeler concept, the Mark II Reeler.
Subsea World News asked how the project is coming along, and also wanted to bring you more about the Mark II Reeler design and its use in the industry.
“We are working on two projects with Aker at the moment. They are both for the supply of integrated umbilicals onto our new Mark II Reeler,“ Pilmer explained.
“The Mark II Reeler was designed in response to market requirements for a 30 per cent reduction in cost, and in some cases a 30 per cent reduction in footprint as well.
The technology is quite an innovative design so we are really proud of it,“ Pilmer adds.
“It seems to be quite popular in rental fleets because the majority of our customers for the IWOC market, either rent the system or they sell the system specifically for a project. Over the last few years, we have seen some large projects where the umbilicals are sitting in the project full time.
“Some of our clients will have a rental fleet and they will buy in an IWOC, and have an umbilical and a reeler ready to go should intervention be required on any subsea field. “
As already mentioned JDR also works in renewables, so we asked Pilmer how the company is operating in the sector, and whether JDR intends to shift its focus to renewables in the current low oil price environment.
Pilmer said: “We have actually focussed on renewables as well as oil and gas over the last few years. We have seen the cost of the renewable market expanding quite dramatically, and as we are the only UK provider of umbilical cables, we’ve been a provider of choice for the renewables industry.
“We have made a recent investment of 10 million GBP in a state-of-the-art horizontal helix lay-up machine in our Hartlepool factory.
“This investment means that when the market does come back, we already have the capacity to meet its needs.
“In addition to that, we increased our component manufacturing capabilities and run rates in Littleport, Cambridge where we manufacture control cables for the production umbilicals. These are manufactured in Littleport and then shipped to Hartlepool.“
In the renewables sector JDR is cooperating with Tekmar, so we wanted to know how this collaboration is expected to boost JDR’s competitiveness in the market.
Regarding the cooperation, Pilmer said: “What the relationship with Tekmar has given us is an opportunity to standardise the installation of products and to drive down the cost. We are hopeful that Tekmar can help us to align ourselves with key suppliers and reduce costs of standard products for the renewables sector.“
We concluded our interview with Pilmer, asking for his opinion on the way out of the industry crisis and tough market conditions?
He said: “The way out for companies like ours is to choose a strategy and stick to it, and obviously continue to drive costs down.
“One of the benefits I think of this downturn will be that cost will be normalised and reduced. I think it will be a long time before we see operating and field service costs as high as they were.
“We are seeing a huge amount of bidding activity. There are operators still out there and they are still developing these projects.
“Operators know that with the oil price as it is they will probably have another year to 18 months to drive down costs even further.
“We are ready to hit the market when it comes back. I think the way forward is for suppliers like JDR to actively focus on reducing cost and to give operators the confidence in cost-effective, expert solutions.“