Ove Ronny Haraldsen
+47 99 15 59 20
Founded in 2006 and bought by KONGSBERG in 2011, you’ll find Kongsberg Evotec surrounded by fjords and mountains in the middle of the maritime cluster in Norway.
Evotec is best known as a supplier of equipment for the handling of seismic cables pulled behind ships in search of oil and gas. But the company has also supplied a great deal of equipment to Subsea and the Supply market.
After the oil crash began in 2014, large parts of these markets disappeared, for Kongsberg Evotec as well as others. The company was in the red and had to undergo major reorganisation. Over the last two years, however, Evotec has started making money again. Steinar Aabelvik, General Manager at Kongsberg Evotec, explains.
“Traditional seismic surveys with streamer cables were the starting point for Evotec, and a business that reached its height with deliveries to the world’s largest seismic vessels from 2011 on. Today we are more focused on sea floor seismic surveys, where we have many contracts on a daily basis. We still work a lot in the offshore market, but it’s pretty quiet there. So is the market for systems for Launch & Recovery of ROVs”, says Aabelvik, who is in his third year as manager of the department in Ulsteinvik.
Now the company is significantly leaner than during its peak year, 2014, when Evotec had 75 employees. An empty top floor in the new building in Ulsteinvik testifies to growth that met an abrupt end when the price of oil began to fall. Now, however, the optimism is back and Evotec is part of the solutions of the future, says Aabelvik.
“In 2017 we entered the fishery market and will supply the first facility with winches in the course of the year. We are working hard on marine research vessels in collaboration with Simrad, among others. We supplied equipment for the Ocean Farming ocean cage, which was a breakthrough for us.”
“Do you believe that the offshore market will come back?”
“I think that’s far in the future because there are so many vessels out there, and even though many are starting to age, they’re still relatively new and well-equipped boats. We also see a tendency for owners to move equipment between the different boats and collect it where it’s needed. I think new investments in offshore will be limited for several years to come.”
Today, sales of products and services from Kongsberg Evotec are made through the Kongsberg Maritime sales organisation. Most of what is produced in Ulsteinvik is order production, where each customer has their own twist on the product. Preferably, Evotec will already be on board in the design phase of a new vessel, says Aabelvik.
“We are working closely with KM to be included in the new concepts on new types of vessels. I believe that marine research will be important for us, even though the market is not very large. It will be very exciting to see what possibilities ocean cages and breeding in rougher waters can provide over the course of the next few years. There are great hopes on the part of the fisheries, where it is often the larger vessels that are relevant for what we produce.”
“The products you deliver have become lighter and less bulky. Why is that?”
“We’ve gone from winches powered by hydraulics to winches powered by electricity. This is because we secured a new partner who delivers more compact and efficient motor solutions. This saves a lot of weight and space. These are important parameters, particularly within fishery and the research market”, says Aabelvik.
“Another important technological advance is that we are working to connect Kongsberg Maritime’s control systems with the control of our winches. We are part of Kongsberg Maritime’s triangle concept where we’re mostly responsible for Handling, whilst other parts of Kongsberg Maritime deliver within Operation and Energy.”
Here in Sunnmøre we find one of the world’s most complete maritime industrial environments. Large companies in Ulsteinvik include the Kleven and Ulstein shipyards, as well as Rolls-Royce Marine.
Several shipping companies have their headquarters in the region. Some of the world’s most advanced ships are built here, and there is considerable expertise gathered in one place.
“This maritime environment is very strong and attracts skilled people because it’s a high status industry. Sunnmøre has a culture that promotes creativity and I’ve seen how people here never give up, but find new solutions and rise again.”
“You represent the permanent presence of KONGSBERG in the area at the moment. What does it mean to be a part of a larger group?”
“It provides added peace of mind for our customers. KONGSBERG is a respected name in the maritime market. They know that KONGSBERG is reliable and fulfils the commitments it takes on. Without KONGSBERG’s international sales network behind us, we’d be nobodies in this market. But in cooperation with the rest of Kongsberg Maritime, we’re able to get a foothold in projects in China and the like, which would have been impossible otherwise”, says Steinar Aabelvik.