Offshore options aplenty in Amsterdam Seaports

Around two to three thousand people in Amsterdam Seaports work in the offshore industry, including in the wind energy sector at sea. “This makes us one of the main offshore regions in the Netherlands,” says Ron Davio, chairman of the regional promotional organisation AYOP (Amsterdam IJmuiden Offshore Port).

Now 59, Davio has had a distinguished career in the offshore industry, mainly in Amsterdam Seaports. He has been managing director of companies such as Genius (later Genius Vos), Fabricom Oil & Gas and, from 1988, Cofely Oil & Gas. Davio became chairman of AYOP several months ago.

“We are the main Dutch region for offshore wind energy,” he continues. “Our modern harbour in IJmuiden is only a short distance from two large wind parks on the North Sea, while two more parks will be added in the coming years, both at a sailable distance from IJmuiden.” The two existing offshore wind parks off the coast of IJmuiden have a capacity of 108 MW and 120 MW, and were taken into use in 2006 and 2008 respectively. Amsterdam Seaports has an indispensible role when it comes to service and maintenance for these turbines at sea.

As regional promotional organisation, AYOP represents the interests of both the offshore industry, including a large number of suppliers, and the port authorities (especially Zeehaven IJmuiden NV and the Port of Amsterdam) and regional governments. Some thirty companies and government institutions are members of AYOP.

Plenty of space

According to the AYOP chairman, one of the benefits of the North Sea Canal is the space it makes available for the assembly of wind turbines and oil rigs. “It is often thought that the offshore activities in the North Sea Canal region mainly take place in seaport IJmuiden and, to a lesser extent, Beverwijk. This is incorrect. A good example is ZPMC Europe in Amsterdam, which is traditionally specialised in the construction of port and transhipment cranes. This company is also increasingly focused on wind energy.”

Another example is United Stevedores Amsterdam (USA), part of the Ter Haak Group, which is also situated in the port of Amsterdam. This stevedore has recently been processing a large amount of pipelines for the oil industry. Additionally, ship repair yard Shipdock in Amsterdam repairs installation vessels and offshore support vessels. “In short, there are plenty of offshore activities in the region,” adds Davio.

The AYOP chairman is convinced that the oil & gas production sector strengthens the offshore wind energy sector and vice versa: “We have a prospering wind energy sector with companies such as Vestas Offshore the Netherlands and MSCIJ (Maritime Service Centre IJmond), as well as more traditional offshore companies including Schlumberger and ASCO Holland (Logistics). As the techniques they use are not so different, the two sectors can strengthen each other. This applies to construction and installation, as well as the maintenance of both platforms and turbines.”

Plenty of supplies

Davio is optimistic about the future of the offshore industry. “A senior executive from Shell recently told me that there at least fifty years of oil and gas reserves still lie beneath the seas. Moreover, I know from experience that many ‘used’ oil fields still contain plenty of supplies. While we are not yet able to access them with our current technology, I am sure we will be able to do so in the future!”

Bron: Amsterdam Ymuiden Offshore Port, Mei 2011

Foto: Joost J. Bakker IJmuiden