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Live From SMM 2014
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Shipyard diversification a learning process at Drydocks World

Since the collapse of shipping markets during the financial crisis, many companies in the shipping industry have diversified into the offshore sector and one shipyard which undertook such a transformation shared its experience with attendees at SMM's Offshore Dialogue yesterday.

Khamis Buamim, chairman of Drydocks World and Dubai Maritime World, recalled some of the highlights of the yard's journey from ship repair to pioneering offshore mega-projects.

"We, in an old yard, for a long time, were just performing ship repair. To do a transformation requires different thinking and a different approach and no doubt one of our climaxes of that was successfully obtaining world-first projects. They are all accomplished, two modules to go on the FLNG Shell Prelude and after that we have further mega projects coming in, already on the drawing boards."

Drydocks world took a "holistic" look at its markets to beyond 2030 and identified energy, including oil and gas and wind power as the most attractive and sustainable for its business. That strategic decision meant a change of direction to generate additional revenues in a slow economic environment, while maintaining its existing ship repair offerings.

In Dubai, the entire yard was completely reconfigured to increase efficiency and allow for the large fabrication projects it was hoping to attract. The maneuvering of massive fabrication projects presents a complex engineer challenge still, but one that would not have been possible before the changes to the yard. Similar reconfiguration at Drydocks World's overseas yards was performed to allow for their growth through joint venture programmes.

As its core business, besides ship repair and newbuildings, the company moved into rig building and refurbishment and started work on offshore modules and structures, as well as conversions. "That will continue to drive our business as we look ahead," said Buamim.

The FSRU Toscana, the world's firs the world's first permanently moored floating offshore regasification terminal for Saipem, was successfully completed and gave the yard momentum. The Dolwin Beta, the largest capacity wind power high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) offshore platform ever built, involved a record breaking lift of 10,000 tonnes to a height that enabled coupling with the structure's base. "It was one of the greatest learnings of our lives, engineering, procurement, production and commercial, every part of the business worked closely to accomplish the maximum required within the time span."

"We don't believe this is the last, it is only the first. Nevertheless it is a massive undertaking for us in Dubai for the transformation psyche... Each individual project has its challenges, but is a valuable learning experience for the yard and its capabilities," Buamim commented.

"When Dolwin beta left Dubai, the skyline lost something," said Buamim, adding his personal pride at having the largest capacity wind power high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) offshore platform ever built standing at the yard within view of the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest manmade structure.

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