Published:  05 September, 2014

A joint venture between Ramboll Oil & Gas and Semco Maritime was recently rewarded a five-year EPC contract for the provision of onshore and offshore services at Hess Denmark’s platforms in the Danish North Sea. ODEE spoke with Ramboll’s managing director, John Sørensen, about the project.

Under a new comprehensive framework agreement, Ramboll and Semco Maritime will provide end-to-end services covering engineering, procurement, quality assurance and offshore manpower as well as handle the full responsibility for construction projects at the Hess platforms located in the South Arne field. The purpose of the agreement is to maintain existing oil production levels and to facilitate opportunities for further field development, with the support of the two companies.

The two Danish-based engineering companies have worked for Hess Denmark on the South Arne complex for several years. And after 3 years of heavy field development activities, Hess has started oil production from two new platforms and 11 new wells. The joint venture partnership between Ramboll and Semco Maritime will include coordination and problem-solving in close cooperation.

For Hess Denmark the contract will entail smooth coordination and effective working procedures. Therefore, offshore installation of equipment fabricated onshore can be timed with other ongoing work at South Arne. As a result, production shutdowns can be kept at a minimum.

John Sørensen, managing director for Ramboll Oil & Gas, said the advantages of this partnership seem obvious. “When you bridge onshore and offshore activities like this, the quality of our services will increase and costly downtime for the oil company will be kept to an absolute minimum,” he said. “Our employees find it very rewarding to work for a client like Hess because the cooperation is defined by an extraordinary level of empowerment. Hess excels in involving us actively in their decisions, and they draw on a wide range of specialist competences in both companies. This is something we value a lot”.

Sørensen added that during the selection phase it is of course the client’s decision as to who it decides to work with for each project. However, he believes Ramboll and Semco are particularly well-placed for this type of project work. “Ramboll also has a long track record of conducting installation work in offshore applications, and both Ramboll and Semco have a group of people who have acquired many years of experience in working on many different aspects of engineering, consultancy and installation work in the offshore oil & gas marketplace. Also, the fact that the head office of Ramboll and Semco are located in Esbjerg in Denmark means we are very close to the client’s headquarters, and to the heliport where we travel to and from the South Arne platform installations. Moreover, we have a long track record of completing a number of detailed technical projects to the satisfaction of Hess over the years, as well as having a high safety record and record for being environmentally responsible. Also, professional ethics are important. Hess, Ramboll and Semco have established a high level of mutual trust, which is extremely important when working together on these types of projects.”

Key challenges

From Hess’s point of view, Sørensen considers that one of the key challenges is in maintaining production during any upgrade or modification work that may need to be undertaken on the platforms. “So consequently that is also one of our challenges and one of our key focus areas,” he said. Sørensen added that another aspect to bear in mind is the fact that Hess naturally wants to keep a tight control on the cost side of the project and avoid any overruns. “But, essentially, we tend to face the same types of challenges that are experienced when working on other similar platforms from a safety, environment, cost control and uptime maximisation perspective, so we are well-tuned to these requirements.”

Ramboll and Semco have worked on a number of separate contracts with Hess in the past. “However, going forward, we aim to provide more of a one-stop shop type of service through our joint venture initiative,” explained Sørensen. “We have gained a lot of experience over the past three or four years of working closely together, and have a common project organisation in place now. This is partly manned by personnel from Semco and partly by our team at Ramboll. Many of these people sit together in the same office. Indeed, our respective offices are just a mile away from each other, which makes this process very convenient and flexible. Because both organisations have a large resource of expertise in different areas – Ramboll mainly on the engineering, design and consultancy side, and Semco in the area of contracting and engineering etc. – we can always access the right level of knowhow for particular tasks. For example, this might involve metallurgical challenges, h2s cracking or corrosion concerns, structural issues and so on.”

Lean model

Sørensen pointed out that for all Ramboll’s projects the company adheres to a Lean model whereby it sets out to learn from previous experience. “One of the key things is to be able to see the project through to completion in as an effective a manner as possible,” he said. “Therefore, we undertake exceptionally careful planning during all phases; including engineering, consultancy and installation. Also, to maximise uptime and minimise cost, we plan for any necessary equipment shutdown very carefully. So from the moment we have a first conception project right through to the actual execution phase we ensure all bases are covered.”

Close interaction

Semco Maritime’s managing director, Steen Brødbæk, is also delighted that the contract consolidates a long-term cooperation between Ramboll and Semco Maritime working for Hess Denmark. “The partnership confirms that two Danish-based companies are able to solve complex tasks in close interaction. We expect that the joint venture will provide a basis for developing an even stronger project portfolio, including early phase studies, engineering and fabrication as well as offshore installation and commissioning. We are pleased that the competences we have built throughout the years are in demand by a world leading operator such as Hess Denmark. We see that as a seal of approval.”

The contract is also of strategic importance for the city of Esbjerg as it will create approximately 100 jobs in Esbjerg on a yearly basis. The contract duration is initially for five years with an optional five-year extension period.


Ramboll is a leading engineering, design and consultancy company with a significant presence in Northern Europe, India, Russia and the Middle East. The company employs nearly 10,000 experts and constantly strives to achieve inspiring and exacting solutions that make a genuine difference to clients, end-users and society as a whole. Ramboll acknowledges that its solutions depend on the creativity, insight and integrity of its employees. With this in mind, the company empowers people within the organisation, creating multi-talented teams to produce inspired solutions. Ramboll works across the markets: buildings, transport, environment, energy, oil & gas and management consulting.

Semco Maritime A/S

Semco Maritime is a leading contracting and engineering enterprise active in the international marine and energy sectors, both offshore and onshore. The company teams up with manufacturers, operators, contractors and end-users. As a supplier of complete solutions and innovative design, Semco gives a high priority to long-term relationships with its clients in the global market. Semco participates as a main contractor or subcontractor in the following market segments: permanent oil and gas installations, floating and mobile units and infrastructure.

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