Front cover story August/September 2015 - BARDOT Group LOWPEX® solutions to tackle your SURF expenses!
Published: 27 August, 2015
The current challenging conditions for the oil and gas sector, caused by the fall in oil price, has made it difficult to predict when the sector will become more upbeat, and when then price of oil will increase and stabalise at a higher rate than its current price of around 40 US Dollars a barrel. Different reasons have been given to explain this decline, the rate offered against demand is too high; the US Dollar’s value being too high hence affecting the price of the barrel; and investors minimising their shares in oil and gas companies.
BARDOT Group, as an equipment supplier, could have been badly affected by this situation, however to tackle this adverse situation would force the company as well as allow it to innovate, which has always been one of the key points for its founder, Guy Bardot.
A small history of BARDOT Group has to be given to better understand why this company keeps tackling all the challenges it faces.
Guy Bardot, founder of BARDOT Group, created in 1996 a company specialised, at the time, in strategic polymer parts designed for a wide range of industries including aerospace, automotive and military. Guy Bardot had spent his entire career in the polymer industry and his company was introduced then in the oil and gas sector through a project of bend stiffeners development for Technip.
In 2003 the company faced an adverse situation when a fire permanently destroyed the facilities. A few months later, in 2004, a spin-off company was created, which is now known as BARDOT Group and is dedicated to the oil and gas industry.
Initially, Guy Bardot worked alone, but very quickly, qualified engineers were hired. The turnover grew exponentially from half a million euros to more than thirteen million in a few years.
This was due to a will to innovate at every level of the company, beginning with the business model. In fact, BARDOT Group’s one differs greatly from the business model of its British competitors.
Today, BARDOT Group produces polymers alongside various components made from different materials. Its business model consists in producing locally in order to satisfy its customers’ expectations. The company’s products are engineered in France but parts are manufactured directly at the place where the delivery is intended. BARDOT Group decided to seek industrial partnerships with companies in demand of engineering processes and recipes for polymers and succeeded in having partnerships in the US, Brazil, Europe and Malaysia.
However, BARDOT Group being a pioneer in a niche market with very important competitors, the company had to distinguish itself to evolve.
One of the important parts of this continuous evolution is the place taken by engineering. BARDOT Group does not own its industrial assets, which enables it to grow at a robust pace in terms of engineering. Investments are made in people, licenses and software.
For the moment BARDOT Group is a specialist in Subsea Umbilicals, Risers and Flowlines (SURF) functions. Guy Bardot explains the situation: “If a client needs to make the line buoyant, we install some buoyancy modules; if he then needs stabilsation on the seabed, we install smart stabilisers.” Whilst BARDOT Group could have stayed at this level, its founder decided to take a step ahead by developing an entire smart SURF package. Problems arise less frequently but the projects are increasingly challenging but it would allow the company to enlarge its expertise.
Last year, BARDOT Group was awarded a challenging $10 million project in the UAE. They were contracted to design, manufacture and deliver the whole stabilisation solutions of 220 km power cable. This project needed innovative and technological research in order for BARDOT Group to meet the demands of energy production in extreme environments.
If BARDOT Group can meet the sector’s new requirements regarding very challenging and extreme environments as well as continuous innovation to perform at best different projects, it is due to the place given in the company to research and development. According to Guy Bardot, around twenty percent of the company’s turnover is spent in R&D, which constitutes a significant figure. Still, in BARDOT Group’s founder opinion, his company is still relatively small and one of his goals would be for the company to reach $100 million by 2020 (n.b. in 2014, the turnover was approximately $14 million). Even though this target is ambitious, this goal will be reached by enhancing the engineering capacity of the company to win larger contracts. Since the company is now able and proved to be able to deliver $10 million worth projects, one of the hardest step has been made.
With regards to recent technological developments influencing the activity in the oil and gas sector, BARDOT Group has nothing to be ashamed of. It is now a super-efficient organisation with specialised engineering office specific to equipment, hydrodynamics, SURF architecture as well as a new business unit entirely dedicated to service license technologies. One of BARDOT Group’s technologies is to be licensed this year, which is a promising step for the company that intends to continue developing the licensing service. Licensing is hoped to bring one-third to the 2020 total revenue target of BARDOT Group. The company does not aim necessarily to increase the number of projects it undertakes but rather the size of said projects.
BARDOT Group is developing its offer on SURF activity. The solutions the company offers are always tailored to clients who work under harsh conditions in remote locations. At the moment the company specialises in deep water, and one of the most blatant examples can be evoked with BARDOT Group’s project in the Artic, where icebergs can plague certain operations. In this particular environment the company opted for extra-long tiebacks which technology has been specifically developed as well as the installation of the equipment.
To quote Guy Bardot, founder of the company: “These solutions for harsh environments and extreme conditions are what we strive for, here at BARDOT Group. We are an engineering, procurement, manufacturing and construction company whose engineers are very focused on unlocking technical barriers and challenges, and I like to think that this is very much the French specificity: strong engineering, skills, and mindsets.”
Talking about always innovating, BARDOT Group even proposed a new approach to answer the always intensifying needs and expectations of the clients. LowPex® is a deposited term which has become a philosophy for BARDOT Group. Indeed, all activities and solutions organised by the company works towards a common goal: the reduction of capital expenditure (CAPEX) and operating expense (OPEX), hence LowPex®. These LowPex® solutions enable the company to deliver services that correspond to the clients’ challenges in light of plummeting oil prices. The economic situation does not stop BARDOT Group, on the contrary it inspires the company to find new, revolutionary solutions to cut the cost of projects in half.
BARDOT Group is very proud of being a French company, nonetheless, it does not want to stay at a national level. The company has already established subsidiaries across the globe but its main objective for the future is to have foreign companies use its French concepts and technologies. One of BARDOT Group’s ambitions is to open new fully operational branches and diversify its capacity of services.
For further information please contact:
BARDOT GROUP S.A.S.
ZI Athélia 4 - 297 Avenue du Mistral
13600 La Ciotat FRANCE
Phone:+33 4 42 73 31 00