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maritime sector


oil & gas

anh nho 4

oil & gas

Oil & Gas

Gas and oil in the spotlight


The Netherlands is now one of the largest gas-transporting countries in Europe. It all began with the discovery of an enormous gas field in Groningen, which led to the laying of 12,000 kilometres of pipeline to form one of the largest high pressure grids in Europe. That grid is now connected to grids in other countries, turning the Netherlands in the process into a hub for major gas streams – two thirds of the gas flowing through our grid is destined for foreign customers. The Netherlands can also accommodate seasonal fluctuations in the demand for gas and therefore offer ‘flexibility’ to customers in North-West Europe. What’s more, large LNG terminals will soon be built which will allow the Netherlands to import gas from countries with which it does not have a pipeline connection. All of this experience with gas has created an enormous knowledge base, resulting in the establishment of the internationally renowned Energy Delta Institute (EDI).

Oil hub

In addition to gas, the Netherlands also extracts oil, both onshore and offshore on the continental shelf. As the largest port in Europe, the Port of Rotterdam has a major role to play where oil is concerned: more than 100 million tonnes of oil pass through Rotterdam en route to refineries elsewhere in North-West Europe. One third of the entire volume of crude oil transhipment in Europe takes place in Rotterdam. The port is home to five international oil refineries and more than 40 petrochemical companies, three manufacturers of industrial gases and 13 tank storage and distribution companies. Rotterdam is not alone, however, because Amsterdam is also an energy port of significance. Some 60% of the work carried out in the Port of Amsterdam is related to energy. Where tank terminals are concerned, the Netherlands-based Vopak, which stores and tranships liquid and gaseous chemical and oil products, is the largest tank terminal operator in the world.


Whether upstream or downstream, Dutch companies are active throughout the entire supply chain. Fugro, for example, conducts seismic surveys worldwide with the help of its fleet of seismic survey vessels. The Netherlands also plays a leading role as far as drilling platform design is concerned: GustoMSC, for example, designs drilling platforms for both shallow waters and waters that reach depths of approximately three kilometres. In addition, there are the production platforms made by companies such as Mercon, HSM Offshore, Nami and the Heerema Fabrication Group which are

deployed worldwide. Of course, these platforms have to be secured at their final destinations using huge crane vessels,and the world leader in that market is Heerema Marine Contractors (HMC), whose fleet includes the strongest semisubmersible crane vessel in the world, the Thialf.

Pipelines and heavy transport

When it comes to laying pipelines, the Dutch are specialists. The market leader is Allseas Marine Contractors, which was the first company in the world to launch a pipe-laying vessel with a dynamic positioning system (Lorelay). The dredging companies Boskalis and Van Oord are often contracted to level sand dunes in order to make way for pipelines, to cover the pipelines once they are laid and to stabilise the resulting structure. The Netherlands is also active around the world in maritime heavy transport, where Dockwise is the market leader with a fleet of 20 semi-submersible heavy lifters. BigLift Shipping and Jumbo Shipping, whose vessels transport heavy components for the offshore and petrochemical industries, are also based in the Netherlands. Mammoet Transport has a fleet of lifting units and self-propelled platform trailers to move heavy platform components and modules to ocean-going transport barges.


The Netherlands is a country with centuries of maritime history: Dutch ships were sailing the seas of the world as long ago as the 17th century. Those centuries of expertise can also be seen in the offshore industry, where the Dutch are masters when it comes to specialist offshore vessels, such as those built by IHC Merwede Offshore & Marine, which has constructed an entire series of advanced offshore vessels in recent years for installation, repair and maintenance work and for laying pipelines. These are the kinds of projects where remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) are often used. The vessels were built in close cooperation with Schiedam-based Huisman, which designed and built the pipe-laying equipment and the cranes for these vessels. The largest customer for these leading Dutch products is offshore contractor Subsea 7. There are also the service companies like SMIT and Vroon Offshore Services with its tugboats, supply vessels and diving support vessels. With its headquarters in Den Helder, Vroon Offshore Services (VOS) operates worldwide with a fleet of more than 100 vessels. The Keppel Verolme shipyard in Rotterdam describes itself as the place to go if you need inspections, repairs, maintenance or modifications carried out on drilling platforms, crane vessels, pipe layers, floating, production, storage and offloading vessels (FPSOs), lifting platforms or shuttle tankers, for example. SBM Offshore and Bluewater Energy Services also deploy their FPSOs worldwide. Both companies design, build and hire out large, floating oil production/storage and offloading vessels (FPSOs) for use worldwide. FPSOs are often used in ultra deepwater and at locations where no pipeline infrastructure is present. Wherever these vessels are used, shuttle tankers will always be needed to transport the oil produced back to shore.The Port of Rotterdam and Schiphol Airport continue to play a major role in the worldwide distribution of component parts. Every major Dutch company has premises in the immediate vicinity, so components can be sent all over the world at lightning speed.


Source: Made in Holland: Oil & Gas, In the spotlight