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Vol. 13, No. 29 Week of July 20, 2008
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

Petroleum Directory: Attention to operational techniques, productivity and safety pays off for Offshore Divers

There’s no waiting for a warm, sunny day in the oilfield commercial diving business

The principals of Offshore Divers worked in the North Sea, Gulf of Mexico, Egypt, New Zealand, South America and many other oilfield areas before starting the company. With that experience they brought the best of international safety and operational techniques to Alaska’s oilfield diving challenges.

Q. Where is Offshore Divers located?

A. Our operation is based in Anchorage, Alaska, at 5400 Eielson Street.

Q. When was the company founded, who founded it and what was its original name?

A. It was founded in 1998 by Don Ingraham and Leif Simcox as Inlet Offshore Divers. We later shortened the name to Offshore Divers.

Q. Who heads up your company and who is on its senior management team?

A. Don Ingraham is general manager and Leif Simcox is operations manager.

Q. What services does Offshore Divers perform? 

A. Primarily oilfield commercial diving. Underwater construction, platform inspection, pipeline repair, nondestructive testing (NDT) and salvage work. Offshore Divers now performs the majority of the commercial diving work in the main oilfield areas of Cook Inlet and Valdez.

Q. Who are the company’s main clients?

A. Chevron, Shell Oil, Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., XTO Energy, Marathon Oil, BP, Cook Inlet Pipeline, Crowley Maritime and State of Alaska. Attention to safety and production has led to many sole provider contracts with large oil and marine companies.

Q. How many employees does your company have?

A. We employ up to 35 during the Cook Inlet season.

Q. Describe your essential equipment in general terms.

A. We operate from an 80-foot dive support vessel. Our main equipment consists of decompression chambers, compressors, inspection, welding and construction equipment.

Q. Is your company expanding any of its operations and/or locations?

A. Yes, we’re expanding to offshore North Slope in support of Shell’s drilling operations. 

Q. Is the company changing any of its services?

A. No. Offshore Divers has increased gross revenues each year since its inception in 1998, so we believe we have a good business model and should keep on doing what we do best.

Q. What is your company’s main strength?

A. Our main strengths are our efficiency and our unparalleled safety record.

Q. What new markets, clients and/or projects did your company attract in the last year?

A. We were the only diving company approved by Shell for Alaska Arctic diving in support of the company’s drilling operations. We have a three-year contract for this work.

Q. Has the company invested in any new technology in the last two years?

A. All inspection and NDT equipment are the newest technology. We don’t hesitate to rely on the best equipment available. One example of technology providing an increase in both safety and productivity is our ADCP Doppler current profiler. This $20,000 unit allows the diving supervisor to view the water speed and direction simultaneously from the seafloor to the surface. This not only permits longer bottom times, but allows the supervisor to warn the diver of dangerous currents which may be developing above or below the diver. Offshore Divers is the only diving company in the United States to use an ADCP in this manner.

Q. What is the most challenging job the company has undertaken?

A. Becoming the only company to get successfully qualified by BP to dive in Cook Inlet. We performed extensive live-boating in support of old pipeline decommissioning for BP.

Q. What are the biggest obstacles to completing work the company undertakes?

A. All work on pipelines and platforms in Cook Inlet are performed by feel in zero-visibility water. Tides in the inlet are up to 35 feet.

Q. What do you see as your company’s biggest challenge in the next five years?

A. Expanding into deeper water in new areas where Shell and other companies are starting to drill.

Q. What do you see as future trends or opportunities for your company from, say, political events or long-term weather fluctuations?

A. Higher oil prices are leading to increased offshore drilling work in Alaska.

Q. Does your company have an anniversary or other landmark event coming up?

A. July 2008 will mark our tenth anniversary.

Q. What is the average length of time employees work for the company? Are you hiring for any positions?

A. Some employees have been with company since it started. Prospective employees must have extensive training and experience.

Q. What is your company’s safety record?

A. The company has never had a case of bends or injury to a diver. We recently received a safety award from Chevron in a ceremony in Houston, Texas.

Q. Does your company or its partners or subsidiaries maintain Web sites?

A. Yes:

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