Ross Offshore is a knowledge centre for upstream activities in the oil and gas industry, and is a strong contender in the Norwegian market. Ross Offshore encompasses three main business units; Drilling & Well, Operations (Marine, Logistics & HMSK) and Subsurface.
Svend Magnus Pettersen manages the Subsurface operations in Ross Offshore, and he explains how Ross Offshore has developed from being a consultancy business to becoming a knowledge centre.
-Ross Offshore started as a consultancy business, providing personell to oil companies, but today it will be more accurate to describe Ross Offshore as a Knowledge Centre for upstream activities within the oil and gas sector.
- We provide many inhouse projects in addition to our personell services. The main part of our revenue comes from delivering complete solutions for planning and logistics related to drilling exploration wells. This encompasses everything from securing vessels needed for the job via our partners, planning and follow-up of site-surveys, drilling of wells and coordination and follow-up on operations.
The Subsurface department delivers projects within exploration, field development, optimalization of drainage and production, as well as support for acquisitions and investments. -When we are exploring new opportunities, we work exactly like an oil company would work. After finding a field, we make 3D-models of the field, both statical models in order to evaluate the geology and resource volumes, and dynamic models, to see how we can optimize the field, explains Svend Magnus.
Great cooperation made Visolit gPower, Edge Computing at its finest.
Tools for modelling and simulations, like Petrel and Eclipse, are important applications in the oil and gas industry. Back in the day, Ross Offshore did not have the services needed to run Eclipse and Petrel remotely, and had to run these applications locally.
-There were occasions where we had to pack the computer into a duvet and transport it on an aeroplane! We saw that running applications locally could not provide the performance we needed, and we needed a service with high performance and flexibility. This became the start of the gPower-solution, explains Svend Magnus.
Visolit gPower is a High Performance Cloud Solution, which was built on the highest degree of graphic display quality. This enabled us to run Eclipse-simulations and the Petrel application more efficiently with great graphics and capacity. We travel a lot, and to be able to access the applications just by logging in “on the run” with internet access is an advantage.
Strong relations and working closely as partners, has been essential for the success of the gPower Project. -Our Customer Contact Jan-Arve Hansen and his team in Visolit has been our IT-department in a close partnership from the very start of gPower. We have developed gPower in close cooperation.
Throughout the development of gPower, we have faced new challenges, for example by enabling large dynamic simulations in the Eclipse Application. Visolit has proven flexible, and provided solutions in their data centres giving us the flexibility we need to make changes to meet our demand, underlines Svend Magnus.
It is essential for us to have access to solid services and products we can trust. If we are to support an oil-company, which is in the process of making a decision on projects worth billions, we simply cannot have issues with performance. We basically need cloud systems that can deliver high performance, and Visolit and gPower delivers!
It is essential that people who are helping our customers really know our business, and we need to have competent people on the receiving end of our support questions. When we see possibilities for improvements in the gPower-solution, Visolit is quick to act. That is a matter of real importance to us.
External data communication is central for us to deliver to customers, and we need to be able to receive large amounts of data from our customers. This presupposes large capacity and solid infrastructure, both in order to make data accessible, but also to be able communicate back to the customer. We aim to run projects from our offices, and our systems are often better equipped than customers own systems. The customers may experience lack of flexibility in some of their self-made solutions, which makes the Edge solution from Visolit essential.
Cloud Solutions for full flexibility and innovation
Svend Magnus and his colleagues works only in Cloud. -We use a Citrix-solution for regular office-work, gPower for the more challenging tasks and our helpdesk is provided by Visolit. We also have an IT-coordinator in Ross Offshore, who coordinates all updates and configurations.
We are a flexible organisation, and capable of adjusting to our market. This enabled us to get through the tough years of 2015-2017, but our company is different now than it was in 2014. We have changed along the way, which is a prerequisite to make it in this business. Flexibility is key for Ross Offshore, underlines Svend Magnus. This pertains to how we work, and how we choose suppliers and partners. What we have in gPower is a flexible solution, which has enabled us to easily scale up or down, and we have freed up more time to core tasks for our business.
Svend Magnus talks about the market outlook, and says Ross Offshore is experiencing a period of increased activity levels. -We have aimed for a few deliveries which will be key for us, and we see increased activity levels in the transaction market. Several companies aim to optimize their portfolios, and we see great opportunities to make more headway into these markets. There are also some «new companies» and smaller oil companies which are taking over as operators, and we support them with production technology and advice them on how to maintain the values, as well as support with production optimalization and efficient reporting.
Working on the “opportunity side” of the oil business
Svend Magnus tells how Ross Offshore functions as an independent third party when it comes to reservoir assessments. -We go through the reservoir accounting of the oil companies, as a third party verification is necessary in order for the oil companies to get access to loans based on the security provided by the resources “under the ground”. We go through both methods and evaluations of the resources and support the companies in the buying process on possible fields of interest. We support the oil companies on the whole value chain and in essence you may say that Ross Offshore works with the “opportunity side” of the oil companies. Many other companies work with the cost side. It is important to us to remain realistic in our valuations, because we must remain trustworthy. We live by our reputation. We back the companies on the opportunities that exists, but it has to be realistic. Within third party verifications, we work alongside a London-based company, ERCE, with long experience in this field, and which remains a good partner to us. We experience a good match with the competencies and our experiences with ERCE.
Competent and with business acumen- in order for the customer to shine!
As a knowledge centre, recruiting the right skills and competencies for Ross Offshore is paramount, and they recruit preferably personell with experience from the oil companies. -We do this so that our employees really “have been in your shoes”. Our customers should experience that our employees understand how the industry work, and understand our customers business. We have about 50 -60 permanent employees, as well as some project employees and associated consultants, about 130 employees in total. We are present in locations in Stavanger, Sandefjord, Bergen and Fornebu in Norway.
We are delivering good results in a vulnerable market. Even if Norway is the main market, we also deliver to locations outside of Norway, preferably in partnership with others, says Svend Magnus. Ross Offshore has a strong customer portfolio, with customers like Equinor, Aker BP and Vår Energi. In Equinor and Aker BP, Ross Offshore has designated contact persons, and much of what is related to subsurface go through Svend Magnus and his team.
-We are working very closely with our customers, and we must understand how they work and their strategy. Only then will we be able to deliver on projects that really fits the customer. There is for example a big difference between how the oil companies handle risk assessments internally, and we need to know how they work in order to design a project adapted to their decision processes. Our job is in essence to make our customers shine, says Svend Magnus.