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5 Minutes With: Rene Kofod-Olsen of Topaz Energy & Marine

by Arabian Oil & Gas Staff on Nov 12, 2017


Ren Kofod-Olsen has been the chief executive officer of Topaz Energy & Marine since 2012. His career in the marine industry has spanned 18 years, including a stint with the AP Moller-Maersk Group. He also previously served as CEO of SVITZER Asia, Middle East and Africa.
Ren Kofod-Olsen has been the chief executive officer of Topaz Energy & Marine since 2012. His career in the marine industry has spanned 18 years, including a stint with the AP Moller-Maersk Group. He also previously served as CEO of SVITZER Asia, Middle East and Africa.

What kind of work does Topaz Energy & Marine do for energy sector clients, in the Middle East and globally?

We are an international offshore support vessel (OSV) company, providing logistics support and marine solutions to the energy industry. We focus primarily on the Caspian, the Middle East, and West Africa regions, plus global subsea operations. In the Middle East, we support many top-tier IOCs, NOCs, and contractors in upstream and survey work, including Saudi Aramco, ADNOC, Dubai Petroleum, Occidental, NOC, and McDermott.

In the current climate, what pressure are you under from your oil and gas clients?

There has been pressure to reduce costs, but we work closely with our clients to deliver value through high operational and safety performance. Through our Topaz Solutions business unit, we also work with our customers throughout the value chain to develop solutions. This approach led to a 20-vessel contract award with TCO’s Future Growth Project to support development of Tengiz in Kazakhstan.

The impact of low oil prices on the offshore segment has been harsher than in the onshore sphere, due to the cost-intensive nature of projects. How has this affected Topaz’s business?

Our performance has been strong compared to others, especially given the current market environment. We have one of the youngest, safest, and most versatile fleets in the sector, thereby reducing maintenance-related costs. With a focus on long-term contracts and the more stable development and production phases of the E&P cycle, we have actually doubled our backlog during the downturn to US $1.5bn. We have also reduced costs by US $35mn over the past two years. 

What is the size of the fleet Topaz manages in the Middle East, and how is your offering different to that of your maritime competitors?

Out of our current fleet of 97 OSVs, close to 20 vessels are currently in the Middle East region, where they provide services such as anchor-handling and platform supply duties. Our modern and versatile fleet, proven operational performance, and commitment to safety, have helped us secure long-term contracts. This sets us apart from other players in the market and opens the door to further growth opportunities. 

How do you plan to expand your business in the Gulf region?

In the last year, we have witnessed an uptick in tendering activities in the region. As a result, we have reactivated three laid-up vessels to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) fleet, and redeployed one vessel from Africa. We are leveraging our strong presence in the region to continue to pursue and win contracts. We have a strong foothold in the market right now, as one of the only OSV companies to maintain financial health through the oil downturn.


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