Encouraging diversity

A well known, worldwide supplier of jack-up barges, specialised in the manufacturing, sales and rental of standard and modular self-elevating platforms, Jack-Up Barge utilises a large network of offices across the globe to enable its clients to perform successfully in their particular field of industry.

“Roughly eight years ago the owner made the decision to move the company into the offshore oil and gas market,” states Maarten Hardon, commercial director of Jack-Up Barge. “In 2006 the company then moved to renew the majority of its fleet, commissioning six newbuild projects and beginning the process of selling off its older, smaller platforms. Today the oldest platform in the company’s collection dates back to 2005.”

In 2008 the company took delivery of its first two new jack-ups the JB-109 and JB-110. In a surprising turn of events the company never actually got to use these platforms themselves as the shortage of viable new builds in the market at the time resulted in Jack-Up Barge receiving offers for the JB-109 and JB-110 that were too good to refuse. 2009 saw the arrival of the JB-114 and JB-115, and in the first few months of 2011 the JB-116 (now named Swift 10), a modified drilling unit platform, arrived ahead of commencing work on behalf of Shell for an initial period of five years. The final commissioned newbuild, the JB-117 is expected to be delivered by the end of 2011 and plans are already being drafted for the time when business levels call for the construction of JB-118 and JB-119.

There are a number of case studies one can draw upon to highlight the various industries in which Jack-Up Barge’s platforms have been put to use. One such example is the work carried out by the JB-114 on the Belwind offshore wind farm: “In 2009 the company signed a contract with Van Oord, and together with it Jack-Up Barge helped successfully install 55 transition pieces,” Maarten explains. “Following completion of this phase the JB-114 was provided to Vestas to undertake the installation of tower sections, turbines and rotor blades. This project ran for approximately one year, culminating in September 2010, with the whole process recorded no accidents, incidents or major working delays.”

In July 2009 the company also played a major role in the installation of the first ever German offshore wind turbine. Chartered by German company Prokon Nord Energiesysteme, the JB-114 was used to collect the tower, turbine and rotor blades from Eemshaven, the Netherlands and deliver them to the Alpha Ventus wind farm, located 45 kilometres North of the island of Borkum, where a total of six towers have been installed.

“Clients simply need to look back at the company’s history and its proven track record to recognise the advantages of using platforms manufactured and supplied by Jack-Up Barge,” Maarten says. “Able to operate under various different conditions and in different industrial capacities, Jack-Up Barge’s platforms incorporate proven technology and are actually rather cheap in comparison with a lot of the other new builds now coming onto the market.”

One of four companies that operate as part of the Van Es Group, Jack-Up Barge also has the ability to utilise the resources and skills possessed by its sister companies. One, ICE-PVE, specialises in the manufacturing, sales and rental of vibratory hammers and pile drivers, World Wide Equipment boasts a large catalogue of construction and marine applications, while PVE Cranes and Services has a fleet of between 70 and 80 crawler cranes and piling and drilling rigs at its disposal.

“A couple of years ago the overall belief was that the wind energy market would soon be going through a boom period and sadly this hasn’t happened in quite the way it was expected,” highlights Maarten. “If you look at the number of tender agreements that are active today compared to two years ago there has definitely been a decrease. However, one of the strengths of Jack-Up Barge is that it not pinned down to just one market. What this means is that when there are downturns or slowdowns in one sector, it can fill its work load with oil and gas work or civil construction projects.”

This flexibility as a company is what Maarten believes places it in a strong position to progress forward: “Though Jack-Up Barge has experienced a great degree of success over its short lifespan, the plan now is to build on this gradually and not get too carried away in the short-term. For the time being the company will stay in the same form as you see it in today, increasing in size slowly, expanding its fleet with new builds as and when the market dictates.”

Operator of eight newbuild jack-ups
Active in various different industries
Involved in the installation of the first German offshore wind turbine