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GL beefs up offshore capability

London: German class society Germanischer Lloyd (GL) has strengthened its resources in the oil and gas sector with the acquisition of marine and offshore engineering services firm Noble Denton. The deal, concluded at an undisclosed price, takes out two Norwegian private investors and comes instead of a planned IPO, scheduled for a March launch in Oslo but pulled amid worsening financial turmoil. It provides a key foothold for Noble Denton in the increasingly important Asian market where the rate of energy demand is likely to reach new peaks, once the current downturn is over.

GL Executive Board Member Pekka Paasivaara told journalists the deal comes at a critical time in the energy industry. Global energy growth over the next 20 years is expected to reach a compound 2.3% annually, requiring capital investment of at least $450bn a year. "Deepwater projects are driving growth," he said, "involving increasingly complex new technology."

The move is mutually beneficial. For GL, it complements existing activities in the offshore sector, specifically adding specialist offshore life-cycle engineering and consultancy skills across a broad spectrum of clients - from some of Norway's cutting-edge offshore industry leaders to high-end equipment manufacturers, to banks and financial institutions engaged in the funding of offshore projects.

For Noble Denton, the deal opens a major door on Asia. Through GL's existing network, the company will immediately benefit from GL's existing Asian coverage which includes offices in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Shanghai. And although everyone is busily talking up Brazil's ultra-deepwater Tupi Field and its substantial requirements for as many as 20 or more FPSOs, Noble Denton boss John Wishart says offshore Asia will be a a key focus in the months ahead.  A whole range of offshore deepwater projects are under development in Asia, he says, including offshore Malaysia and China. These will require the very latest expertise in offshore engineering, technology, environment and asset integrity.  [06/04/09]

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