At the core of the offshore industry
As the world’s need for energy keeps rising, the international offshore industry is booming. Primo is a trusted supplier to several producers of offshore equipment, particularly companies producing the all-critical subsea cables that transport power and heat to and from offshore rigs
The offshore industry relies on strong, secure cables to connect offshore rigs to land based installations. Offshore cables can transport electricity, electronic communications, liquids, hydraulic oils, and are critical, complex components that must not fail.
In the nineties the idea of using PVC profiles for subsea cables was born. Primo immediately caught the idea and participated actively in the development process, in close collaboration with leading producers. Before this, subsea cables have been – and some still are - made from materials at hand – often with hemp rope as the filler in the cables.
The introduction of PVC-based, extruded shaped profiles really took hold after 2000, when the market as a whole began to realise the potential of using plastics.
Primo Offshore now supplies shaped profiles for optic and steel pipes, for injection and for electric cables to the global offshore business. Such profiles help give the cables their shape and stability and protect sensitive pipes and wiring from water pressure and a salty, humid environment.
Stressed out at 3,000 meters
Subsea cables need to withstand the stress of large depths and tough environments, but the critical phase is during deployment, where the cables are placed on the seabed at depths of up to 3,000 meters. A subsea cable is a very complex affair, consisting of three different types of cable all in one:
The part running from the shore facility to the ocean bed, the part along the sea floor, and the part rising to the offshore platform. .
Different cable types have different specifications, and this is where Primo’s plastics knowhow comes into play.
“We’ve been developing the profiles in close collaboration with our customers,” says Björn Hågan, Managing Director, Primo Norway.
“We join forces with our customers from very early on in order to develop the right profile – we are partners more than suppliers, in fact.”
Working with Aker Solutions in subsea developments
Aker Solutions is one of the world’s leading suppliers of subsea electro/hydraulic and power umbilical systems for the oil and gas sector.
Aker Solutions and Primo have a long association, with Primo being one of the key suppliers of PVC profiles used to hold and protect each element of the umbilical in a floating matrix configuration that is unique to umbilicals designed and manufactured by Aker Solutions.
Primo Offshore now has customers across Europe – in France, Italy, Great Britain and in Germany, all of whom have extensive offshore operations to ensure the supply of oil and gas.
“What’s unique about us is that we have our own factories dedicated to the offshore industry,” says Bjørn Hågan. "We know this business – it’s grown up with us, so to speak. We know its demands for documentation, traceability, its quality requirements and its needs for fast production. And most of all, we know how the offshore industry needs extremely flexible logistics solutions.”
Prototyping in a matter of weeks
In the offshore business, projects are planned for years in advance. But still, many details are not decided upon until the last minute – such as the layout of complex subsea cabling.
As a result, offshore companies need suppliers who are capable of acting quickly.
“Fast prototyping is a crucial requirement for many cable producers,” says Bjørn Hågan.“Fortunately, we are usually able to deliver a prototype profile in as little as two or three weeks – ultimately, it means that we can move on to production much faster than most profile producers in the world.”
Dedicated stock for subsea cable profiles
Moreover, offshore companies often need extremely fast replacement when problems arise with cables and umbilicals, and that, too, calls for a supplier that can act in days rather than weeks.
“Primo is the only cable supplier with a dedicated stock for subsea cables,” says Bjørn Hågan. “In Sweden, we’ve got more than 2,000 cable drums on stock at all times, and that means we can deliver to the worksite in less than three days. Sometimes from day to day. That makes a real difference to our customers.”
Headquartered in Copenhagen, the Danish group has sales and production activities at 11 locations in Europe and China. The group currently has 980 employees and a turnover of 205 million EUR (per 31.12.2022). The company was founded and owned by the Grunnet family and, since its beginning in 1959, has specialised in designing and producing customer-specific profile solutions in plastic.