Specializing in marine construction and maintenance
At its core, Trinidad-based Offshore Technology Solutions Ltd. (OTSL) defines the mark for true excellence in the servicing and provisioning of first-class assets and support to the world’s top energy producers, by providing solutions critical to the development and maintenance of the marine oil and gas sector.
An extended asset range and support resources enables its experience and expertise to reach every need in both offshore energy and shore-based operations.
And, throughout its history, the company has maintained an equal level of focus and commitment to the health, safety and well-being of the primary resources – its people and the environment – while maintaining a vision to be the regional leader in the sub-sea and marine support industry.
The current company actually grew out of a firm called Coastal Diving, which itself had been created by a merger transaction during a recession in the 1980s. It grew and progressed into the 1990s, but, upon having a desire to get out of the business – but having no immediate family members interested in becoming involved – its owners sought out a buyer interested in taking over the operation.
Upon doing so, the entity known as OTSL was founded in Trinidad.
“Of course, our business is marine-oriented,” said Ian Bertrand, now the company’s chief executive officer. “A lot of our specs are in the marine business. We do survey work, we do lots of inspection work, maintenance offshore. We do a lot of pipeline work and a lot of structural work, platforms and so forth.
“We limit ourselves to the Gulf of Paria (a shallow inland sea, comprising 3,000 square miles, between the island of Trinidad and the east coast of Venezuela) because of our equipment size. The east coast requires much heavier equipment and we only work on the east coast, in the shallower regions.”
These days, the core competencies include diving services, inspection and testing services, maintenance, repair and stabilization services, remote operated vehicle services, marine fabrication and welding, crane barges, tugs, deep-sea and utility vessels, demolition and salvage operations, corrosion engineering and protection, concrete matting and manufacture and installation grouting solutions.
Bertrand said OTSL is able to deliver reliable, professional and dedicated industry leading techniques and solutions, thanks primarily to its highly skilled and qualified personnel, key strategic global alliances and advanced technological equipment and machinery, which contribute to a full range of dynamic solutions for any scale project.
In fact, he said, OTSL’s flexibility proves an ideal agent for ensuring clients the ability to maximize usage of individual general or precision expertise and be confident that a complete project suite is readily available to design, manage and engineer cost effective results from start to finish.
The current workforce typically numbers around 100 employees, and the company’s headquarters and waterfront operational yard are in Chaguaramas, which lies just west of the capital city, Port of Spain, on a northwest peninsula of Trinidad. The peninsula had been leased to the United States for construction of a naval base in 1940, but was returned to Trinidadian control in 1963.
The territory in which work is performed stretches as necessary for specific projects. Several recent jobs have been performed as close as Venezuela and Barbados, while a six-month assignment in 2014 involved operations in the Pacific Ocean off the Ecuadorian coast – more than 1,500 miles away.
Significant recent customers have included international companies with an appropriate local offshore interest, like British Gas and BP.
“We do everything underwater. We don’t do anything above,” Bertrand said.
“Broadly speaking, we will work directly with the energy companies for maintenance work and inspection – except for Petrotrin, where we also do field development work. When the majors have field development work, we have subcontractors and people that we bring in offshore. We’ve created a niche for ourselves by providing ROV services to the drill rigs that are both here and in Venezuela, and by doing inspection work.”
OTSL’s main competition comes from international operators, which puts the company’s expertise in the local waterways at a premium, Bertrand said. Locally, he said, separation comes thanks to a more state-of-the-art approach than other operators might be capable of.
“Many a major contractor has tried to work on the east coast of Trinidad with very unpleasant surprises,” Bertrand said.
“We know the environment much better than anybody else, and that has proven to be a major advantage – and that word has gotten around to major contractors outside of Trinidad. We’re the only (local) people who lay quad pipe, as opposed to traditional welding of pipe in Trinidad. We have the largest ROV fleet in Trinidad. That’s where we differentiate ourselves.”
Operational research continues with an aim toward keeping the company “ahead of the curve,” he said, but it won’t so much prompt frequent and wholesale changes in technology as much as a consistent and persistent pursuit of small changes that can maintain in-house efficiency.
Going forward, laying the groundwork for an eventual leadership transition is the top priority, too.
“If you look carefully, there are always better ways of doing things,” Bertrand said. “We tend to look for those things and demand them. We don’t have a 100-percent track record – sometimes we can go too far ahead of the curve with our investments – but most of the time it pays off.
“Strength and balance drives our vision and mission to achieve and succeed in all out undertakings. In attaining our goals we always maintain a view of the path which brought us to where we are now, with such a great perspective our look toward where would like to go and the manner in which we get there strives in a practice of excellence, continuity and growth.”
AT A GLANCE
WHO: Offshore Technology Solutions Ltd.
WHAT: Solutions provider to the offshore marine sector with services that include diving, inspection and testing, maintenance, repair and stabilization, remote operated vehicles, marine fabrication and welding, demolition and salvage, and corrosion engineering and protection
WHERE: Corporate headquarters in Chaguaramas, Trinidad