Bourbon Sets Course for Massive Expansion

Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Bourbon plans to invest more than $1.7 billion in new vessel construction through 2010, according to the company’s CEO Jacques de Chateauvieux, who held a conference call from his Paris office this morning.

The company, which has been on a major newbuild spending spree in its transformation to a maritime powerhouse, at the end of 2006 will own a fleet of 264 vessels, including 192 in its Offshore division, 66 tugs in its Towage and Salvage division, and six bulk carriers in its bulk division. The company is particularly bullish on prospects for the offshore business, as nearly $1.46 billion of its investment through 2010 will focus on the offshore market.

In assessing the near and long-term future of the offshore business, de Chateauvieux said the company sees “strong and continued demand” for oil, as declines in production output from existing offshore wells will pressure the oil majors to step up efforts to find new reserves. The company projects that the world’s production of oil will increasingly come from offshore sources, rising from 34 percent today to 39 percent by 2010, and increasingly that share will come from deepwater developments, based largely on the fact that 65 percent of new discoveries are coming from deepwater searches.

In addition to vessels, the company plans to increase its number of employees by 80 percent, and is embarked on an international quest to recruit and retain top marine industry talent from Europe and the Americas, as well as increasingly from Africa and Asia.

– By Greg Trauthwein

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