Do We Need Another Seismic Company?

New kid on the offshore seismic block, Dolphin Geophysical, started trading in 2010 and has been growing steadily ever since. But with a few notable exceptions, seismic companies seems to come and go with great rapidity, so does the industry need yet another? We ask Atle Jacobsen, Chief Executive Officer of Dolphin, to answer this question.
This article appeared in Vol. 8, No. 4 - 2011


Alte Jacobsen, CEO of Dolphin Geophysical, has 17 years experience in the offshore E&P industry, having worked for a number of companies, including PGS, Stolt Offshore, Multiwave and Wavefield Inseis. He holds an MSc in Nautical Engineering from NHT in Trondheim. Source: Dolphin Geophysical So why does the industry needed another seismic company?  

During the last two years the seismic industry has seen two significant bankruptcies and a take-over, so by bringing a new player to the table we are increasing competition. Increased competition pushes the market to strive for the best results for clients in the most economical way, thus an improvement in processes is necessary. As a new company we intend to innovate in both technologies and processes.  

Is there room for even more companies?  

The demand for high end 3D vessels is increasing and I believe it will continue to improve into 2012 and beyond. All indications point to a rebound in the market and in the space of 6 months we have already expanded from zero to four vessels, all of which are generating revenue. In early 2012 we expect to take delivery of Polar Duke’s sister ship, increasing our presence in the high end segment. We have already shown that we are opportunistic and will continue to look for growth opportunities both organically and through market consolidation.  

What important factors does a new company bring to the oil industry?  

Competition, new vessels, new processes and improvements in already established relationships.  

Have you identified a particular niche market, or are you looking at the whole business?  

Dolphin’s strategy is to provide a vessel for each area of the market, whilst focusing on high-end 3D vessels and Multi-Client projects as well.  

What do you think makes a successful seismic company?  

Operational efficiency, powered by people; handpicked teams, with unquestionable experience and drive and a strong QHSE ethic; all these are essential.  

Everyone in our management has a minimum of 10 years’ experience in the seismic industry, and our team as a whole has a tremendous track record in building solid enterprises. Although a technology driven company, our focus on human resources and creativity is important – our business is all about acting together to recognise and create business opportunities.  

Robust QHSE performance is vital when competing in today’s offshore industry – that’s why our very first Purchase Order was for the procurement of the best risk and compliance system available; Integrum, which connects all work sites in real time to provide an inclusive system that is both transparent and flexible.  

We believe we have created in Dolphin is a very competitive alternative; fit and ready for hard, efficient work, lean and keen, geared for performance and with a healthy appetite for the next challenge. This combined with stability and foresight are the keys to a successful seismic company.  

Why did you decide to base yourselves in Bergen, Norway?  

Bergen is a main pool of expertise for both the shipping and seismic industries – having an office in Bergen puts us closer to our shipowners and also gives us access to an extremely knowledgeable local workforce. Plus, we like the rain!  

What advantages does a small company have over its larger competitors?  

Dolphin is a streamlined organisation which gives us the ability to act on and react quickly to both the challenges and opportunities we are faced with.  

As a new, seismic company we have had the opportunity to hand pick our staff, and the driving force of any successful company is its people.  

How do you see the marine seismic industry developing in the future?  

I see two main channels of development: increasing demand for high-end 3D vessels, and the uncovering of new unexplored territories using the Multi-Client business model.  


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