From Nor-Shipping to London’s wind power

“Many companies are represented at these exhibitions. The number of visitors in total may be lower with the market downturn but those who come are the ones you want to talk to, they are there for a reason. Decision makers and key players. That makes these meetings even more relevant, “says Helifuel CEO Jorunn Håvardsholm.

Spring and summer months are marked by major conferences and exhibitions at important venues in Houston, Oslo and London. Jorunn Håvardsholm, CEO of Helifuel, has visited them all and sums up experiences and changes.

“We have established relations and we have supplied helicopter refuelling systems to several shipowners and shipyards, which are well represented in the shipping arenas. We also work close with the designers on several projects. It is good to meet exisiting and new faces during these events. If I were to single out one thing that has changed after the decline in oil prices it would be about the people who now participate in these gatherings. Now, we meet the right people, precisely the ones we need to talk to,” she says.

“While the oilprice was high the exhibitions had higher number of visitors, especially OTC in Houston was quiet this year from that point. The activity is low and that off-course affects the exhibitions. However, those who visit now are there for a reason, not just for inspiration.”

Helifuel have supplied several helicopter refuelling systems to the US market during the years to oil companies, engineering companies and rig owners.

“Another important perspective taking part in these exhibitions is the value of meeting customers at their own stands. Walk around. We all work with our own products and services and want the chance to talk about our thoughts and ourselves at our booth. It’s incredibly interesting to listen to client and partners views and to learn about their experiences in a changing market,” says Håvardsholm.

“Of course, it’s mostly about technology and competitiveness, but that is not enough without good relationships and trust,” she adds.

She virtually travelled straight from Nor-Shipping in Lillestrom, near Oslo, to a wind energy conference in London. Helifuel is a member of Norwegian Energy Partners and was part of its delegation to the Offshore Wind Energy conference.

“The growth in the wind segment also gathers companies from oil and shipping industry and we meet some of the same companies and the people there. In addition, we meet new players who takes a big part in this specific industry and who are not part of other industries we know well.” says Håvardsholm.

Helifuel are at time being building three helicopter refuelling systems to be installed on the sub-stations at the Hornsea One project for Dong Energy.

Many of the large wind farms at sea will be built in the future. Technology and business models are still being shaped. Since 1991, more than 59 billion euros has been raised and invested in the European offshore wind industry. Based on the prevailing market situation, Norwegian Energy Partners estimates another 100 billion will be invested between 2017 and 2030, a sum that approaches a Norwegian national budget.

“It’s about positioning, being where it’s happening and understanding the range of the projects. We do not yet know what needs have to be met and what the final scope will be. All I can promise is that Helifuel will be there!” she says.