FINANCING can continue to stay one step ahead of their comof the Jones Act trades. As the quest for tomorpetition in Asia. row’s energy resources moves further offshore However, apart from the builders themselves, into deeper and more difficult conditions, more Norway has a thriving offshore ship design sector. sophisticated subsea construction, inspection, Many offshore vessels currently under construcmaintenance and repair (IMR) and light well tion in China and Vietnam, for example, are being intervention vessels will be required, experts point built to Norwegian designs. out—just the vessels in which Norway’s offshore Elsewhere, GIEK has recently made available yards specialize. a second $1billion facility for Petrobras after Recent examples of GIEK guarantees relatthe first one billion had been used up by the ing to international orders include $722 million state-owned energy major in the purchase of of Norwegian equipment supplied for three $575 Norwegian equipment. And there is certainly no million drillships ordered by John Frederiksen’s shortage of additional guarantee support, should Seadrill at Samsung; six seismic research vessels of it be required. Ulstein design, built at Drydocks World Dubai for Wenche Nistad, GIEK CEO What is proving a constraint right now, NisOslo-listed Polarcus; and the Ocean Intervention tad points out, is the availability of capital which GIEK guarantees III, a high-end IMR vessel built by a joint venture between Edison support. Eksportkreditt Norge AS was set up by the Norwegian GovChouest and Island Offshore. Marathon Oil and Odebrecht Drilling ernment last year to provide loans for export financing in the form Services have also taken advantage of the export credit scheme. Wenche Nistad, GIEK’s Chief Executive Officer is keen to empha- of state-subsidized OECD-term loans. But more funding sources are size the central role that GIEK plays within Norway’s marine and required. Nistad believes that access to new capital provided by life insurers, pension and securities funds would improve the terms on offshore clusters. And she stresses the importance of GIEK’s role in which exporters can access capital. the wake of the financial crisis. GIEK’s door stayed open just as many As the world’s ship construction industry moved inexorably eastfinancial institutions were closing theirs, she explains. Offshore owners and operators within the region confirm the vital wards over recent decades, few would have been brave enough to predict that Norwegian designers and manufacturers would still role that GIEK has played in supporting the thriving marine and have a seat at shipbuilding’s top table. The strength of the country’s offshore businesses on Norway’s west coast. The result is a bunch of marine and offshore clusters is a key element in this success, and a specialist shipyards, mostly with healthy orderbooks, building some of the world’s most sophisticated offshore vessels and, in many cases, healthy mix of co-operation and competition should ensure their sound future. ■ investing in new technologies and new facilities to ensure that they
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16 MARINE LOG June 2013