Tapping business opportunities along the coasts of Latin America

Bnamericas Published: Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Tapping business opportunities along the coasts of Latin America

With units that cover oil and gas, intakes and outfalls, and sea water air conditioning, international marine work contractor Geocean, which is part of the Entrepose Group, is expanding its operations in Latin America to secure new business.

To learn about this push, BNamericas spoke to Geocean's Latin America sales manager, Ludovic Gros.

BNamericas: I understand that Geocean's work covers three areas: oil and gas, intakes and outfalls, and sea water air conditioning (SWAC). Could you provide some color on how these businesses are evolving?

Gros: Geocean covers distinct areas to be less affected by natural resource pricing and focuses on projects ranging from US$10mn-US$150mn and mainly EPCI contracts.

Large water intakes and outfalls is one of Geocean's main business areas, and in Latin America, much of it involves desalination plants or industrial outfalls. Our local main reference was the Escondida water supply (EWS) project in Chile for BHP where we managed the entire offshore component, from the onshore shaft through tunneling – with partners Vinci – up to the water intake heads, outfall and subsea polyethylene high-density pipelines.

Oil and Gas activity represent the bigger part of Geocean's activity in the world, targeting shallow water projects – up to 100m – and particularly projects including specific shore-crossing techniques. Geocean just finished one FSRU terminal in Bangladesh and is now busy on a second one nearby.

SWAC is a new business where Geocean is one of the leaders and has references up to 1,100m.

We're interested in all types of subsea projects where we can bring some special technique or value engineering. This also includes heavy lifting, mooring systems installations, pre and post-trenching works and decommissioning of special structures.

Entrepose sister companies can be associated to projects which include horizontal directional drilling, onshore piping and onshore storage tanks.

BNamericas: What countries are the most active for Geocean in Latin America and what business opportunities does the region offer?

Gros: Each country in Latin America has its own market model, and following the success of the the EWS project, Geocean has a commercial office in Chile to oversee the region.

Business opportunities include desalination projects in Chile, Peru's fast growing mining industry, Mexico needs oil and gas terminal and onshore storage tanks, Argentina requires infrastructure to transport production from oil and gas fields, and there are many offshore projects in Brazil.

When projects are signed, Geocean opens local offices.

BNamericas: Geocean opened an office in Lima after winning a contract with Repsol in Peru for a new monobuoy terminal for the La Pampilla refinery. How has this market performed?

Gros: The Peru project has been a very good window for Geocean to showcase its business areas, and we have just bought a marine asset from Chile's Enap to be more competitive in the region minimizing mobilization and demobilization costs.

The 100m-long Geocean Yagana multipurpose barge is equipped with a 300t capacity crane, and after completing the Peru project, she will be dedicated to Latin America, whose Pacific coast – from Mexico to Chile – has very few marine assets so it is a good opportunity to keep working nearby.

Geocean is busy with many tenders and expects to sign contracts soon.

Yagana barge (CREDIT: Geocean)

BNamericas: How long is it taking to close a contract?

Gros: It depends on the project type and the necessity of getting the infrastructure ready. If it is urgent a contract can be closed within a few months. More generally, many projects are subject to major investments which could require many years. From financial approval and complete RFQ we can consider between 3 to 12 months to close a contract.

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