Combifloat Systems B.V. is the exclusive supplier of the modular Combifloat® pontoons. A wide variety of clients in the offshore and marine construction industry are using this flexible modular floating and elevating construction system, eminently suitable for coastal and inland waters. By means of a special but simple coupling and locking system, the units can be assembled to any project-specific configuration. The company recently completed the design, including Bureau Veritas class notation, of its latest development: the C-1500 and C-2000. This monohull design will be capable of operating in approx. 65 mtrs water-depth with an approx. 2000 mt deckload and will also be available in a semi-modular version. Orient Energy Review caught up with MR. BAS DE JONG, the Managing Director at the 23rd Africa Oil Week in Cape Town, South Africa, where he spent time telling us more about Combifloat’s capabilities. Excerpts.
Could you please tell us a bit about yourself and position in Combifloat?
I am the Managing Director and the major shareholder in the company. I started my career way back in the mid 70’s with an American engineering company called Fluor then I went to a heavy lift operator called Wijsmuller Transport which eventually merged into Dockwise where I was the commercial director for quite a few years. There after I ran a ship yard in Norway for about a year and then I took off with Combifloat in 1999 and have been running it since then.
How long has Combifloat been in existence and what is your expertise?
Combifloat has been around for about six decades. Our expertise is supplying marine equipment in the shallow water areas. That means water of maximum 60, 65 metres not only coastal areas but inland lakes. The essence of the system is that it is a module system so we can easily truck it, ship it and (air) lift it. We can turn all those little modules into a big self elevated platform that can take up to about 1,000 tonnes. We do this worldwide, we do 95 percent export. Our head office is based in Rotterdam and we have an office in Dubai, an operation facility in the Middle East, as well as in Poland. We have been focusing quite intensely on the African continent for the last couple of years. We are seeing a lot of opportunities here for our products and the gulf of Guinea is an obvious example. We are also on the East coast of Africa and we are hoping to be busy in Tunisia (North Africa) in shallow water drilling activities. Not only oil and gas related projects but also port development and building of new harbours and jetty(s) are of our interest. In addition, we are focusing on the inland water lakes like lakeAlbert, Lake Tangayika. We can be used for all sorts of marine activities.
With your expertise in building of harbours do you have intention of looking at free trade zones across Africa?
We will certainly be willing to take a look at that as a base for our further growth in Africa. Initially we would focus on the free trade zones from a perspective of helping to build the free trade zones and helping to build and develop the harbours that come around with the free trade zones.
I also want to find out if there has been any innovative technology deployed in your operations recently?
Yes we have just done our presentation here at the African Oil Week earlier, yesterday, where we introduced a new concept to develop marginal oil fields into a water depth of up to 65 metres. We are focussing on marginal fields with a capacity up to a maximum of about 10,000 barrels a day and a life cycle of about 10 – 12 years. Using our C-2000 class of Jack Up, we can cut down the overall CAPEX and OPEX in the range of 25 – 30 percent .So I think, that is a very interesting concept for the African continent which will hopefully trickle in actual developments even when the oil prices are low.
Have you deployed this technology anywhere and what has been the result?
Since it is a new development it hasn’t been put to work yet but as we speak we are generating quite a bit of interest. To deploy it from scratch will take approximately 12 – 14 months.
What are some of your major clients that you have worked for?
In recent times on the African continent we have been working for PETRONAS in Sudan, Shell in Gabon, Sonagol in Angola, and a few companies in Nigeria. We have done studies for Tullow oil, DNO, and a couple of others. Outside Africa we worked for varieties of oil companies in the Caspian Sea, which is another targeted area for us and also in the Middle East, South East Asia, South America and Australia.
What’s your model in the African continent? Do you have JVs or register companies to carry out the work?
Since we haven’t established a permanent base in Africa yet we mobilize our equipment from the Middle East and after project completion we demobilize the equipment either to the next job in Africa or go back to base in the Middle East.