Swire Pacific Offshore teams with local company

Service provider looking to play a role in N.L. offshore exploration: local rep

Ashley Fitzpatrick afitzpatrick@thetelegram.com
Published on August 2, 2013

It required years of meetings and discussion, but St. John’s-based Petroforma has locked down a partnership agreement with Swire Pacific Offshore.

Petroforma, active in reservoir testing and analysis in Newfoundland and Labrador since 2008, will now represent Swire Pacific Offshore’s interests in eastern Canada and Greenland — allowing Swire to begin establishing a presence in the region.

Swire Pacific Offshore owns more than 80 offshore support vessels internationally, with more set to be completed by the end of 2015.

The fleet includes specialized supply vessels, ice-breakers and anchor handlers.

“Headquartered in Singapore, with regional controlling offices in Brazil, Australia, Cameroon and the United Arab Emirates, and agent offices in various localities, Swire Pacific Offshore is well poised to operate vessels in every major oil exploration region outside of North America,” states a profile on that company’s website.

With its new agreement with Petroforma, the outside company will now begin establishing a presence here.

“Swire has decided that

St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador is going to be their point of entry into North America,” said Michael Hanrahan, Petroforma’s president and now a country manager for Swire.

The financial details of the partnership are not being released, he said, adding it is an agreement focused on representation and will not see change in the control of Petroforma.

Hanrahan said Swire Pacific Offshore is doing more than just testing the local waters.

“They don’t enter a region for the short-term,” he said.

The two companies have been in discussions for years, he said, with Swire Pacific Offshore spending most of the last two years evaluating the prospectivity of offshore Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as the local land sale system, available offshore data, the overall regulatory regime, the local tax structure and the existing supply and service community.

News of newcomers like Swire and growth in the offshore supply and service sector is of no shock to analysts at the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (APEC).

In a brief update on the regional economy Thursday, the think tank stated steady work offshore remains a bright spot in the midst of what is otherwise, generally speaking, mixed economic performance.

 “Energy exploration appears to be gaining momentum in the region,” said Fred Bergman, a senior policy analyst with APEC, in a statement.

“Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia continue to promote industry interest in offshore exploration with both provinces investing in improved seismic and other geophysical information of their respective offshore areas.”

Meanwhile, Petroforma’s partnership with Swire Pacific Offshore also has that company looking at opportunities abroad in addition to local operations.