An efficient future for Aker Kvaerner Subsea
Aker Kvaerner is a leading global provider of engineering and construction services, technology products and integrated solutions.
The businesses within the Aker Kvaerner group comprise several industries, including oil and gas, refining and chemicals, mining and metals, and power generation. The organisation has aggregated annual revenues of approximately NOK 50 billion and employs approximately 24,000 people – plus 8000 to 9000 agency workers – in about 30 countries.
Aker Kvaerner Subsea, a leading member of the Aker Kvaerner family, is committed to remaining as a leading provider of subsea systems for energy production, from initial concept work through lifeof- field support. This is reinforced by more than 45 years of experience in design, manufacturing and installation activities worldwide.
Aker Kvaerner Subsea has developed a suite of industry solutions that counter the challenges the oil and gas industry faces around the world. The company has highly developed integrated solutions that reflect the industry needs of the modern age, from long stepouts to smart field concepts, Aker Kvaerner has the solution for any subsea need.
The company’s ability as a worldwide total system provider is backed by a wide portfolio of products, which are maintained for the complete life-of-field. Aker Kvaerner Subsea’s capability is available for both new and existing fields, either as individual activities or complete packages. The business’ product range includes subsea trees, wellheads and umbilicals as well as risers, controls and subsea structures, and manifolds.
Aker Kvaerner Subsea has decades of experience in subsea tree technology and since the 1950s, the business has provided its customers with over 650 trees. Its modularised tree system allows Aker Kvaerner to provide trees specifically tailored to its customers’ needs. The company offers dual bore, horizontal and monobore tree systems. Its product range allows for production tubing strings ranging from three and a half inches to approximately eight inches. Furthermore, the equipment is designed for pressures up to 16,500 psi, and temperature ranges from -40F to 350F. In addition, the trees have successfully been qualified to water depths of 10,000 feet.
Aker Kvaerner Subsea’s philosophy is focused on ensuring high quality and in addition its entire production process is strictly monitored to ISO 9001 standards. The company also continuously updates its product lines with new technology and, what’s more, every one of Aker Kvaerner Subsea’s 3700 employees is committed to providing outstanding customer support – this is reflected in extremely high levels of service.
Aker Kvaerner Subsea has recently launched the ‘RapidSolution’ – a pre-configured tree system that aims to provide a complete accelerated solution within a fraction of the traditional system leadtimes. RapidSolution is a complete subsea tree system based on the Aker Kvaerner Subsea standard configurable tree (SCT). This new solution is built specifically for smaller subsea developments and tie-backs when developing resources close to existing offshore installations. The solution consists of proven standard stock components from the SCT, iCon subsea control module and SB 18 3/4inch wellhead system.
Looking at the benefits the new solution will bring the company, Terje Braathen, vice president for global manufacturing at Aker Kvaerner Subsea comments: “RapidSolution will enable us to reduce lead-times as well as project risks and costs by utilising field proven configured components for the system. In addition, the standard components provide a high degree of predictability with regards to execution, manufacturing and delivery. This is supported by dedicated stocking programmes that eliminate supply lead-times. Our objective is to decrease lead-times from 12 months to six.”
He continues: “Traditionally we have won several of the larger subsea development contracts. But by implementing this new system the aim is to also receive orders from smaller independent clients, therefore increasing our customer base.”
The development of RapidSolution also mirrors the Aker Kvaerner ambition to grab a larger slice of the global stand-alone tree market. The RapidSolution has already been slotted into the Aker Kvaerner Subsea 2008 manufacturing programmes and it will be ready for delivery from the third quarter of 2008.
In addition to this, at the beginning of 2007, Aker Kvaerner invested significantly in the expansion and state-of-the-art upgrade of its integrated subsea engineering and manufacturing facilities in Tranby, Norway. With an investment of approximately NOK 65 million, the company has developed the facility into the world’s most efficient subsea christmas tree manufacturing facility. The project has now been completed, just 12 months after Aker Kvaerner announced the investment. The new streamlined operations will increase Aker Kvaerner Subsea’s ability to respond to customer needs with reduced lead-times and more rapid execution.
The incremental investment in new machining technology and a new subsea tree assembly line has expanded subsea tree production capacity and increased manufacturing efficiency. Furthermore, the addition of a dedicated subsea pump assembly and testing facility will enable the company to grow within the emerging subsea boosting market.
Approximately 600 people are based in the Tranby facility, which supplies equipment for clients including Statoil, Total, BP, Murphy, Shell, Marathon and Norsk Hydro. The scope and scale of the site helps the company maintain industry leadership, drive innovation and be at the forefront of health, safety and environmental care.
Aker Kvaerner Subsea had another two facilities going on line this year. The new North Sam Houston Parkway West aftermarket facility in Houston was officially opened on 25 April 2007, while the new high technology manufacturing centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was launched early June 2007.
The facility in Malaysia is a new production site, developed with the aim of increasing capacity to be able to deliver products and subsea equipment to the regional market. In addition to this, the facility will also contribute to Aker Kvaerner’s subsea equipment deliveries in other parts of the world. The plant may at a later stage be utilised for other products delivered by Aker Kvaerner. This is the first facility in the world that can provide the entire range of specialist subsea equipment and services from one single location.
The first products to be manufactured and assembled at the facility were delivered to the Kikeh field in Malaysia – this came just one week after the centre was officially opened. The Kikeh Field was discovered offshore Malaysia in 2002. Located in approximately 1350 metre water depth, Aker Kvaerner’s investments in manufacturing at it was the first deepwater development of its kind in Asia Pacific and has paved the way for further deepwater developments in this region. Aker Kvaerner Subsea was awarded the contract to deliver a complete subsea system for 16 wells, including static and dynamic steel tube umbilicals, in July 2005. A large portion of the engineering and manufacturing of Kikeh’s subsea system was delivered from the new high tech manufacturing centre in Malaysia.
As a result of its continued investment into existing facilities and the addition of new sites, Aker Kvaerner Subsea’s manufacturing efficiency has improved significantly. Terje explains: “We are very focused on continually improving our performance in terms of productivity. We are constantly running investment programmes, which look to invest in high-end machinery. In addition to this, we are looking at our processes to ensure they are running as efficiently as possible. We have also implemented key performance indicators, which measure monthly productivity.”
He continues: “We also place a great emphasis on training because we understand that our people are what make us shine. We have a centralised training academy, where all our employees are trained. This also increases both productivity and our employees’ motivation levels.”
Aker Kvaerner directly attributes its global successes to the quality people it employs. These people have earned the company’s reputation for excellence in project execution, development of new technology and on-time delivery of products and services. From all cultures and backgrounds, the company’s people strive to achieve excellence every day and are relentless in their quest to find the right solution, internally and externally.
One of the main challenges facing the entire oil and gas industry at the moment is its lack of qualified personnel. “For the industry as a whole, over the last few years, investment has been at its highest, therefore more projects are being creating and as a result more jobs are available. There have been great challenges attracting people to come and work in the offshore industry therefore there isn’t enough people to go around,” Terje comments.
He adds: “For Aker Kvaerner, this isn’t a big issue as we believe we already have an extremely experienced and dedicated workforce, and independent surveys show that we are one of the most popular companies in the world to work for.” The company is committed to building up individual competencies and does everything in its power to encourage employees learn and develop their expertise. Aker Kvaerner respects diversity and encourages the building of teams in which energy, enthusiasm and creativity can be unlocked through diversification.
In addition to its employees, another one of the company’s key strengths is its global approach. “Over the years, we have built up extensive knowledge and expertise in the subsea oil and gas industry. As we have grown we have been able to transfer this knowledge to other areas around the world. Our main strategy now is to continue increasing our market presence and in addition target new areas where are services can be used,” Terje comments.
He concludes: “Looking to the future, we plan to continue growing within the oil and gas industry, whilst utilising our global network. We hope to grow in both West Africa and south-east Asia, as well maintaining our key markets. Our main aim is to become the preferred supplier for subsea developments across the world.”
Aker Kvaerner Subsea
Products: Surface and subsea solutions
Sites: Norway, Malaysia, Brazil, US, Indonesia, UK and Australia