Logistics Provider of Choice

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ASB managing director Eli Lassen (Maria Olsen Photo)

Runavík’s Atlantic Supply Base has taken care of logistics and storage for offshore oil and gas exploration activities in the Faroe Islands for years; the company also manages stock for foreign vessels fishing in the Northeast Atlantic.

“Never say you can deliver unless you are 100 percent sure you can, and always secure confirmation from a third-party supplier before you confirm that you can deliver.” That’s according to Eli Lassen, managing director of Runavík-based logistics services provider Atlantic Supply Base (ASB).

ASB adheres to a tough quality assurance regime, with rigorous audits carried out on a regular basis, Mr. Lassen said.

“All our business processes and procedures including manuals and records are subject to ongoing supervision and audits,” he added.

“The offshore oil and gas industry has a highly systematic approach to workplace safety and operational performance. The Faroese economy has been in good shape for a long time and companies in some sectors are reluctant to turn down any business; some even accept orders without actually being unable to deliver on the agreed terms. In the oil business, that’s not how it works—that I can assure you.”

“Our clients are fully aware of this,” Mr. Lassen added. “So when all of the companies that you do business with accept it, it’s not that difficult to put in practice. And when your employees understand it, they’re happy to go the extra mile whenever necessary.”

Exploration activities in the Faroe Islands took off in the early 2000s and continued up until a few years ago. With Atlantic Supply Base providing logistics services throughout the period, Mr. Lassen has overseen five exploration licensing rounds.

Faroese law requires the use of Faroese airports and seaports for supplies and logistics related to exploration in the Faroese area.

Although there is currently no hydrocarbon exploration on the Faroese Continental Shelf, the area remains on the radar of oil and gas companies active in the adjacent West of Shetland area along the Faroe-UK border.

The presence of an active hydrocarbon system under the seabed on the Faroese side of the border is an established fact; however, for the potential reward to offset the perceived risk associated with exploration in a frontier zone such as the Faroes, a fairly high price of oil is a basic requirement for commercial viability, as drilling—in deep waters, through thick layers of basalt rock under the seabed—is extremely costly.

“For the time being we’re in hibernation concerning exploration in the Faroes,” Mr. Lassen said. “I don’t think we’ve seen the end of drilling here. Some of the oil fields West of Shetland are very close to our border and also a lot of exploration is taking place there. The more data that becomes available from this whole area, the more the oil companies will be in a position to effectively assess the costs and benefits of getting engaged on the Faroese Continental Shelf.”

Ultra quick

Meanwhile ASB is looking to promote its services to the offshore oil and gas industry in neighboring areas, including Scotland and Norway.

The geographical distance from Runavík to the nearest exploration wells and production fields is no more than 80 to 100 nautical miles, or six to eight hours of steaming.

“Aberdeen and Stavanger are further away from the fields than we are,” Mr. Lassen noted. “Basically we’ve got everything here and we can mix brine and premix used for drilling. We take care of everything the oil companies need for their operations here—management, supplies, storage, logistics, transport, you name it.”

Partial view of the Port of Runavík

ASB has been rated equal and sometimes even higher compared to their competition in neighboring countries. One key advantage: sometimes a client needs something immediately, and things indeed move quickly in the Faroe Islands.

“We’ve had very positive feedback from our clients,” Mr. Lassen said. “We can basically make contact with anybody in the country whenever necessary, twenty-four seven. Anything a client may need, we can normally provide within one hour.”

ASB has a large storage capacity and currently serves Russian trawlers fishing close to the Faroe Islands. Some 750,000 tonnes of fish are caught in Faroese waters every year, about one-third of which is caught by foreign vessels including Russian ones. The total throughput coming from Russian vessels in Faroese ports amounts to about 250,000 tonnes per year.

“These are valued customers and we’re pleased to serve them. At times they fill up all of our storage capacity and use additional containers. We manage the stock and report all incoming and outgoing stock movements.”