Posted by: Sophie | August 6, 2011

The market of the offshore access industry


It is generally known that the market the offshore access industry serves can be categorized in two main segments: The offshore oil & gas industry and the offshore win industry.  The service of offshore personnel transport is especially needed on places where a lot of wind farms or oil platforms are located. Offshore access companies, therefore, operate all over the world. However, some areas are more attractive to these providers of offshore access than others.  In this article, the market will be analyzed further.

Offshore wind

The offshore wind industry is the fastest growing market segment. This is mainly due to the fact that more and more countries are shifting their attention to more sustainable forms of energy generation. Man wind parks are planned to be built in the near future. This market segment can be further split in to the following parts.


The North Sea is near the coast of the Netherlands and England contains the most wind farms of the whole world.  The average size of these wind parks is 380 MW wind power.  In this market, helicopters and other old-fashioned offshore access solutions are still often used. It is estimated that these outdated methods have a market share of 60%, while the differentiated offshore access systems have a share of 40%.

North and Middle America

The American government has approved the first offshore wind parks in Nantucket, Massachusetts.  There are not many customers in this part of the market, however, it is expected that the size of the American wind farms will soon grow exponentially. Providers of offshore access should monitor this segment with particular interest.

South America

South America is not very attractive for companies operating in the offshore oil & gas industry. Furthermore, the coast around Argentina is very harsh and in these type of conditions, especially outdated offshore access solutions like the Windcat boat and the helicopter will have problems and low operation times.


In this part of the world, especially China and South-Korea are countries that have lots of potential for offshore access companies regarding offshore wind farms. Australia doesn’t have plans for wind farms. It is estimated that a great demand for offshore access solutions will arise around 2020, when most of the planned wind parks will be operational.

Offshore oil & gas

The offshore oil & gas industry is the most lucrative part of the market; they have the most money to spend. The offshore oil & gas industry is not really concerned about the cost of offshore personnel transport, however they do value safe access solutions. Safety is the priority number one for companies like Shell, who do not want to suffer reputation damage due to injuries or even casualties of personnel during the transport. This market can also be split in geographical areas.


Europe has 450 offshore oil platforms. The market is a bit stagnating, no new platforms are built. Nonetheless, the market remains attractive for companies located in The Netherlands such as Offshore Solutions and Ampelmann Operations.

North and Middle America

This is a very big part of the market. However, this part of the market is also the most conservative. Old-fashioned solutions like the helicopter and the jack-up platform are still used the most here. Therefore, it will be very hard for providers of differentiated solutions to get a foot in the door.

South America

Recently, massive oil discoveries were made near the coast of Brazil. It is expected that the center focus of the offshore oil & gas industry will move here. Currently, many offshore access companies are in negotiation with Petrobras, the local oil & gas regulator. Therefore, it is crucial to get acceptance from this company, since the bulk of offshore access jobs will be in this part of the market. It is also a chance for the providers of differentiated systems, because this segment is relatively new and not that conservative.


There are lots of newly installed oil platforms around Australia. The situation is a bit similar to Brazil, but this market has less potential. Still, it is worthwhile to gain market share here, since there are already 1500 platforms operational here.


Both market segments the offshore access industry is thriving. The offshore wind market segment has grown in a rapid pace, mainly because of the move to ‘green’ energy generation. The offshore oil & gas industry profits from the new oil discoveries near the coasts of Brazil and Australia. In the offshore wind segment, the most attractive parts are the North Sea, mainly because of the ambitious plans of the English government and China. South America should be avoided for this part of the market. The most attractive part of the offshore oil & gas industry is without doubt Brazil, where a huge demand for offshore access solutions will inevitably arise.



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