A growing influence

With a successful history dating back almost 60 years, Harvey Gulf International Marine LLC has grown to become a prominent force servicing the offshore and subsea sectors within Alaska, French Guinea and the Gulf of Mexico. The New Orleans company was founded in 1955 by Captain Numa J. Guidry who assembled a fleet of inland towing vessels to service the Gulf Coast transportation market. The company was originally named Harvey Canal Towing Company, however this later changed when Captain Numa’s two sons joined the business and together aided in expanding the company into the offshore towing and rig moving industry.

To reflect the company’s newly diversified direction, it was renamed Harvey Gulf International Marine, Inc.

Between the early 1960s and late 1990s, Harvey Gulf maintained and operated a fleet of both inland and offshore towing vessels, which were used to tow assets including jack-up and semi-submersible drilling rigs, bulk cargo barges and large structures and facilities laden on barges. The company was also regularly trusted to transport liquefied natural gas (propane) filled barges from Louisiana to ports in the Caribbean, US East Coast and US Gulf of Mexico. Shane Guidry became the third generation of the Guidry family to operate the business during 1988, supporting and managing all aspects of the business. Finally in 1997 Shane became president and CEO of Harvey Gulf International Marine, Inc.

Seeing the growing potential of the offshore industry, the company later transitioned from a full-service towing operator to a business specialising in offshore towing, with particular focus on large jack-up and semi-submersible rigs in the deepwater and ultra-deep water of the Gulf of Mexico. The transition saw the divestment of the company’s liquefied petroleum division and the sale of its inland towing vessels, which were replaced with larger, more powerful offshore towing vessels. During the same period its current offshore towing fleet was retrofitted with new equipment making the vessels suitable for deepwater rig towing operations. With this transition and its investment in powerful, modern vessels and equipment, Harvey Gulf developed a reputation for operating the most powerful towing vessels in the Gulf of Mexico and showed a commitment to modern fleet development that continues to this day. The company ensures that its fleet is fitted with modern electronics and navigation systems and onboard performance and safety equipment including Shark Jaws, bow thrusters and kort nozzles.

As the years progressed the market need for further types of vessel to support deepwater drilling and production became apparent. Responding to this, Harvey Gulf increased its ongoing fleet expansion to include offshore supply vessels (OSVs) during 2003. Matching its modern towing vessels, this new generation of vessels included sophisticated electronic and navigational systems. Each of the new OSVs were ABS classed with DP2 certification and ranged from between 240 ft. to 280ft. in length. In recent years the company has further developed its fleet to include vessels that are able to offer traditional offshore supply services as well as deepwater rig mooring using reel spooling units, surveying activities, offshore and subsea construction, pipeline inspection and repair and dive support services. This has given Harvey Gulf an extensive equipment portfolio that enables it to effectively support the needs of the oil and gas sector in the region, making it a valuable partner to operators working within the Gulf of Mexico and beyond.

An important milestone in the company’s history occurred on August 21st, 2008 when Shane and Shawn Guidry, with the New York based private equity firm, The Jordan Company L.P. acquired Harvey Gulf from the Guidry family. With Shane Guidry remaining CEO of the company it is intended that the company will combine the years of experience within the firm with a partner with the dedication and resources to expanding the company’s fleet and services to meet the ever-growing needs of its customers within the oil and gas market.

2013 has proven to be another defining moment in Harvey Gulf’s history with the announcement that it has purchased Abdon Callais Offshore in a deal worth $460 million. Callais traces its history back to 1945 when Harold J. Callias, followed by his sons built a company with a reputation as a trusted name Marinein marine transportation and the provision of technologically advanced OSVs. Prior to its acquisition by Harvey Gulf, Callais operated one of the largest OSV fleets operating in the Gulf of Mexico, with 92 per cent of its vessels dynamically positioned at DP1 or DP2 and the majority of its ships coming in at 205 ft. in length or longer.

Following B-Mar Offshore and Gulf Offshore Logistics the acquisition of Callais was the company’s third purchase in 12 months and has added 58 vessels to its fleet, four of which are currently under construction. Currently, Harvey Gulf can boast 78 OSVs and including its recent acquisitions, a further 12 under construction, these vessels will be LNG ships ranging from between 220 ft. and 340 ft. It is widely expected that once all of these vessels have been completed that the company will own and operate the largest OSV fleet in the Gulf of Mexico allowing it huge potential in offering offshore and subsea support services. In addition to the purchase of new vessels, the company has also recently sold off six of its older assets to Adriatic Marine for £72 million as part of its commitment of maintaining a young and modern fleet. As part of its commitment to operating a diverse fleet, Harvey Gulf has placed newbuild orders for two STXCV heavy lift construction vessels (HLCVs) as well as a sixth dual fuel OSV. Eastern Shipbuilding will construct the heavy lift vessels, while TY Offshore will construct the new OSV.

The HLCVs will be named the Harvey Sub-Sea and the Harvey Blue-Sea and share features including 250 metric ton active heave compensated cranes, 12,000 square ft. of usable deck space as well as accommodations for 120 crew members in single and double occupancy quarters, along with crew lounges, fitness centres, conference rooms and a 48-person theatre. The dimensions of the vessels will be 340 ft. x 77 ft. x 29.5 ft.

Prior to this the company had ordered a STXCV 310 light construction ship (LCS), the Harvey Deep-Sea from Eastern Shipbuilding, which was delivered as of July 2013. The vessel is currently on a four-year charter with DOF Subsea who plan to commence immediate mobilisation of the vessel, including structural reinforcement and repositioning of the crane boom rest, before the ship begins committed work with an undisclosed client in the Gulf of Mexico. Complementing the company’s newbuild contracts, Harvey Gulf has also greatly expanded its fleet with the acquisition of 11 DP 2 offshore supply and fast supply vessels from Offshore Logistics. Commenting on the recent vessel acquisitions CEO Shane Guidry said: “The Gulf Offshore Logistics acquisition will complement our existing fleet of vessels, but most importantly it will bring additional diversity to Harvey with the addition of fast supply vessels. The two heavy construction vessels will allow my company to maintain its position as the largest United States flag owner of vessels with the ability of deploying over 135 metric tons to water depths of 3500 metres with lifting hook heights of 40 meters above the main deck. My commitment to our clients, the environment and our industry is clear. We are the only company in America building offshore supply vessels utilising liquefied natural gas (LNG) as its fuel source regardless of the fact that these vessels have a construction cost of 20 per cent higher than a conventional offshore supply vessel.”

In total the company has acquired an impressive 49 vessels within the past 12 months. This rapid expansion will allow Harvey Gulf to expand its customer base from small independent operators to major companies. This is not to say that the company has not already developed a trusted reputation with major operators within the oil and gas sector, it currently works with Shell, BP, Exxon, ENI and BHP, however, it is now well placed to offer greatly expanded capacity through its extensive fleet. Finalising the past 12 months’ rounds of purchases Shane says: “This year we have acquired 49 vessels totaling exactly one billion dollars. We also have an additional 12 vessels under construction totaling $75 million. The vessels range in size from 150 ft. – 170 ft. mini supply vessels. Our DP2 range in size from 220 ft. – 300 ft. and our construction vessels range from 300 ft. with active heave compensation cranes to 340 ft. with 250 metric ton active heave compensation cranes.”

Further expanding its operational capacity, the company plans to construct the United States’ first LNG marine fueling facility, which it plans to locate at Port Fourchon, LA. The facility will consist of two sites, each with 270,000 gallons of LNG storage capacity and the ability to transfer 500 gallons of LNG per minute. CH-IV International of Houston, Texas has been secured as the EPC contractor to support the development of the LNG bunkering facility. The first site is expected to become operational during February 2014, while the second will follow soon after. As well as its marine application the facility will be able to support over-the-road vehicles that depend on LNG. Commenting on the project Shane says: “To date, Harvey Gulf is the only company in North America that has committed $400 million to build, own and operate LNG powered offshore support vessels as well as two LNG fueling docks.”

Supporting its rapid growth and fleet development, Harvey Gulf operates with a clear mission statement and a strong commitment to operating in a safe and respectful manner. The company’s mission is to ‘provide its customers excellent marine service and value while causing no harm to people, assets or the environment and to maintain a culture of professionalism and mutual respect.’ The services that the company provides are divided into four areas that it defines as vessel services, offshore supply vessel services (DP-2 Certified), multipurpose vessel services (DP-2 Certified) and offshore mooring line support services. Its vessel services include; towing semi-submersible drilling rigs, tower jack-up drilling rigs, tow out of TLP and other production facilities as well as anchor handling, pipeline installation support, salvage support towing of unpowered ships and the freeing of grounded vessels. Its offshore vessel services include the transportation of deck cargo, dry and liquid bulk cargo, methanol and peronnel. Its is also able to provide pipeline maintenance and support as well as DP-2 work platforms in this area. Furthermore its multipurpose vessel services offer DP supported saturation diving, knuckle-boom crane services, survey activities, subsea construction and intervention (including crossing preparation, jumper and flying lead intervention and pipe and umbilical support). Harvey Gulf also offers offshore mooring line support services including mooring line transportation and spooling and buoy transportation. All of the company’s vessels are ISO 9001:2008 certified with a quality management system that has been approved by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS). Harvey Gulf differentiates itself from other companies in that all of its vessels are ISO certified on an individual basis rather then simply having an ISO certified operations office.

The company’s commitment to health and safety is exemplified by its dedication to rewarding its crews for optimal performance. Harvey Gulf has recognised captain Buddy Toups for commanding the Harvey Titan and its crew without a recordable injury or an accident resulting in lost time, achieving the company’s ‘Target Zero’ award for five consecutive years. Similarly, it has recognised captain Perry ‘Buster’ Rich for leading the crew and vessel Harvey Explorer for also achieving ‘Target Zero’ status for five consecutive years. Additionally, Captain Rich was praised by Shell in 2009 for responding to the crew from the Shell Ursa Rig when the engine of a rescue boat failed during a drill. The captain was later gifted with a Shell-Swiss Army watch, presented by Shell EPW manager Callum Finlayson.

With a fleet that is rapidly becoming the largest in operation on the Gulf of Mexico and a diverse fleet with reach across the United States’ waters, Harvey Gulf has a firmly established reputation as a trusted working partner in the regions’ oil and gas sector. As it continues to grow Harvey Gulf will consider a future move into international markets, giving the brand a truly global footprint. With its future developments including new vessels and its pioneering LNG facility the company is set be remain a key name in the Gulf of Mexico and beyond for years to come. In conclusion Shane comments: “I feel there is a lot of growth left in the US and I am positioning my company to capitalise on that growth.”

In 2013 acquired 49 vessels totalling $1 bn
Plans to construct LNG marine fuelling facility
Commitment to health and safety