Bollinger Builds

by Susan Buchanan
Friday, September 27, 2013

Bollinger Ramps Up for GOM Oil Sector and Builds for USCG

Lockport, La.-based Bollinger Shipyards, Inc. is humming with work from oil and gas companies and government agencies. Family-owned and operated, Bollinger has 10 shipyards -- nine in south Louisiana and one in Texas -- along with 28 drydocks and 3,000 employees in four administrative locations. Last month, we caught up with Ben Bordelon, Bollinger’s Executive Vice President of Repair, for his outlook on the firm and the Gulf of Mexico. Bordelon is the nephew of Boysie Bollinger, who has been at the helm as CEO since 1985.
 “Roughly 50 percent of our business is new construction and 50 percent is repairs,” Bordelon explained. “Government new construction accounts for about 35 percent of our business, and commercial work related to oil and gas provides 50 percent.” Bollinger is the largest vessel-repair company operating along the GOM. The company designs and builds military patrol boats, ocean-going barges, offshore oil support vessels, liftboats, tug boats, rigs, inland push boats, barges and varied steel and aluminum products.
Bordelon said capacity is tight within the shipbuilding industry now. “Coast Guard projects are keeping us very busy in Lockport,” he said. “Our Morgan City facility recently delivered four ocean-class tugs for Crowley and a floodgate for Terrebone Parish. We’re currently building three sludge ships for New York City. We’re also building four 300’ class platform supply vessels.” Crowley Maritime Corp. is based in Jacksonville, Fla.
At Lockport, “we just delivered our seventh fast-response cutter, the Charles David Jr., to the Coast Guard,” Bordelon said. “We have a total of 18 FRCs to build, and expect future awards to add to that contract.”
As busy as its employees are, Bollinger will accept work that fits into it schedule. “We’re currently considering and reviewing additional opportunities,” Bordelon said.

Repeat Customers

As for Bollinger’s clients, “with 68 years in the business, we have a lot of great customers and a lot of repeat customers, going back to my grandfather,” Bordelon said. “They range from the USCG, one of our very best, to oil and gas companies, which are tops for us.”
 “The needs of our customers range from deepwater jack-ups to offshore tank barges and inland water vessels,” he said. “Our broad customer base has been key to our success in this business over the years.”
Asked about the contribution of inland push boats and barges to earnings, Bordelon said inland waterways are a significant, mature segment of the company’s business from a customer and vendor standpoint. “They’re a vital part of our repair and propeller work,” he said. “We have a large customer base operating on the Mississippi River and the waterways, served by our machine and hydraulic shops and propeller services.”
Transportation on interstate waterways is crucial to the nation’s commerce, he noted. Bollinger’s shipyards and drydocks, located between New Orleans and Houston, have direct access to the Mississippi River, Intracoastal Waterway and the Gulf of Mexico.

Presence at Port Fourchon Grows

Bollinger has invested heavily in Louisiana’s Port Fourchon. “Fourchon was an emerging port 15 years ago,” Bordelon said. “Our facility there has expanded from a small, topside shipyard with 20 people 12 years ago.” Bollinger Fourchon is now a full-service repair operation, with 1,550 feet of bulkheaded waterfront, providing access for deep-draft vessels and an area for jack-up rigs that can do hull and leg repairs and extensions.  “We currently have two drydocks in operation at Fourchon, working 24-7, with between 125 and 175 employees,” Bordelon said. “We’ve listened to our clients’ needs and are expanding. We’ve taken on an additional 47 acres of property in the port’s Northern Expansion area, and will add larger drydocks to our existing drydocks. We will accommodate bigger supply boats and IMR vessels. We’ll be able to drydock vessels up 11,000 tons.”
Also at Fourchon, “we’re expanding and/or adding to our machine shop services, fabrication building, warehousing, propeller repairs, hydraulic services, offices and armature services,” he said. “We’re making a significant investment to better serve our clients. Our new area is in the engineering/bidding phase and will be in full service in 18 months and possibly sooner.”
Port Fourchon is the nation’s busiest oil and gas support terminal.

Offshore GOM Looks Promising
Bordelon is optimistic about the GOM’s oil and gas sector. “We’re seeing lot of positive indications now,” he said. “Our facilities are supplying a widely diverse customer base. We see some legs, some sustainability, with major investments in deep water and shallow plays and also in oil-and-gas drilling on the land side. It all fits together, offshore and land. It’s an exciting time.”
Asked whether Gulf offshore drilling will return to pre-Macondo levels soon, Bordelon said yes. “It’s happening now with deepwater and jack-up activity,” he said. Bollinger expects to supply more vessels to the GOM’s deep than shallow waters this decade, he also said.
As for the GOM’s post-Macondo bureaucracy, Bordelon said rule making after the federal drilling moratorium ended in October 2010 was sometimes difficult to understand. “But we’ve seen more clarity on regulations and the explanations about them recently. We know the new environmental rules that we have to follow. We now know where we’re headed.”

Cutter Contract with USCG Could Grow
Bordelon said Bollinger has been fortunate not to have been affected by federal budget cuts. “But it’s something we’re monitoring closely,” he said. “The cutters we’ve built have been a successful program. We’ve delivered on schedule, the Coast Guard has been very happy with the vessels and we think our contract will be expanded.” The USCG desperately needs more patrol vessels, he said.
When asked about the status of a federal, patrol boat lengthening suit against Bollinger, Bordelon couldn’t comment since it’s ongoing litigation. The suit, filed in July 2011, charges that Bollinger, under a Coast Guard contract to increase the length of eight patrol boats, delivered vessels that were unseaworthy. The hull on the first-delivered, restructured vessel buckled.

Building on Recent History

Bordelon was asked about management changes within Bollinger. “We haven’t really had any major leadership changes recently,” he said. In addition to President, CEO and Chairman of the Board Boysie Bollinger, the management team includes Christopher Bollinger, Executive Vice President of New Construction; Ben Bordelon; and Andrew J. St. Germain, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer.
Founder Donald Bollinger retired in 1989 and passed away in 2001. The company considered going public in 1997 but decided against it when GOM oil exploration slowed for awhile. Shortly after his father’s death, Boysie made an ambitious acquisition, paying $80 million in cash for five ship and offshore-platform repair yards from Friede Goldman. After that, Bollinger swelled into one of the largest ship repairers in the nation.

Future Plans

What is Bollinger investing in today for its tomorrow? “The easy answer is in brick, mortar and drydock facilities,” Bordelon said. “But a huge component of our future is understanding the prospective needs of our clients.”
 “And our workforce, as our most important resource, is an ongoing investment,” he said. “We’re focused on recruiting, training and developing staff. We’re working with colleges, vo-tech schools, high schools and trade organizations to attract good employees.” The company is hiring at all levels and from around the nation. “Safety, a major part of our training, is a critical investment,” he also said.
Bordelon said labor is tight in coastal Louisiana because of offshore oil and land drilling and workers having headed off to shale plays. “But lots of opportunities exist for people who want to learn a marine trade,” he said. “And we believe our employees have benefited from our internal growth and our multi-facility operations. During our 68 years, our people have allowed us to stand out among our competitors.”

(As published in the September 2013 edition of Maritime Reporter & Engineering News - www.marinelink.com)
 

  • Ben Bordelon, Bollinger’s EVP, Repair

    Ben Bordelon, Bollinger’s EVP, Repair

  • Ben Bordelon, Bollinger’s EVP, Repair
Maritime Reporter October 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Sapurakencana Wins 3 Petronas Oil blocks

SapuraKencana Petroleum Berhad today announced that it has entered into Sale and Purchase Agreements to acquire the entire interest of PETRONAS in 3 blocks offshore

Kemp Succeeds Semple at Wood Group

Wood Group announced following changes to its senior management team. Alan Semple, chief financial officer (CFO) has advised the board that he intends to

ST Engineering Rejigs Top Deck

Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd (ST Engineering) today announced the appointment of senior management personnel to new key management positions in the

Shipbuilding

MHI Receives "Best IR Award"

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has received one of this year's "Best IR Awards" presented annually by the Japan Investor Relations Association (JIRA).

Steven Palazzo Visits HII, Newport

Huntington Ingalls Industries today hosted Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., for a tour of the company's Newport News Shipbuilding division. Palazzo represents the fourth district of Mississippi,

Everett College to Launch New Research Boat

Everett Community College’s Ocean Research College Academy (ORCA) will launch its new research vesel on November 22 with a celebration at 11 a.m. at the Port of Everett.

Workboats

Pair of ASD Tugboats Delivered to Keppel-Smit

The ASD tugs KST Passion and KST Pride were were delivered to their owner, Keppel-Smit Towage Pte. Ltd of Singapore in October 2014. The two vessels are the first

Ice to Close Upper Mississippi from Nov. 20

The shipping season on the upper Mississippi River will end on Thursday as ice surrounding locks and dams near Minnesota's Twin Cities forced the earliest winter

RSC Bio Solutions: SVGP Compliant Fluids & Cleaners

RSC Bio Solutions said that its EnviroLogic Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EALs), including hydraulic, stern tube and thruster oils, and SAFECARE cleaners

Coast Guard

USCG Assist Duck Hunters Near Harrington Beach Park

The Coast Guard and the Port Washington and Cedar Grove Fire Departments came to the assistance of two duck hunters on Lake Michigan Friday. The names of those involved are not being released.

7 Rescued from Sinking Freighter Near Haiti

Seven crewmembers were rescued after their 100-foot coastal freighter began taking on water and sank approximately 45 miles north off of Cap Haitien, Haiti, Friday.

Update: Explosion in the Gulf of Mexico

An explosion occurred aboard a production platform Thursday at West Delta 105, operated by Fieldwood Energy, resulting in one fatality and three injured. The Bureau

Vessels

HMAS Success Deploys to Middle East

After months of preparation, HMAS Success departed Garden Island in Sydney today for a six-month deployment to the Middle East Region to provide logistic support

Rosneft Ships First Oil From Chayvo Field

Rosneft commenced shipment of crude oil extracted at the Northern Tip of Chayvo license off the coast of Sakhalin, with the first tanker carrying Sokol-grade crude leaving port on November 21.

USS Oscar Austin Deploys to 6th fleet

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) departed Naval Station Norfolk Nov. 21 for a deployment to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR).

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Salvage Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.4296 sec (2 req/sec)