Aker Solutions: Break-even cost cuts may spur project sanctions

Aker Solutions, Norwegian provider of products and services to the international oil and gas industry, sees signs of improvement in the industry.

Presenting its first quarter results on Thursday, the company acknowledged the markets were challenging, with projects being postponed across the industry, however it said that there were signs that cost-cutting efforts were having an effect as break-even costs were coming down.

“This may allow some major developments to be sanctioned in the next 12-18 months,” Aker Solutions said.

The company’s revenue for the quarter fell to 6.4 billion Norwegian crowns, down from 8.5 billion a year ago, amid a market slowdown and as some projects neared completion

Net income was NOK 169 million, a decrease from NOK 220 million in the first quarter of 2015.

The company won NOK 6 billion in orders in the quarter, including MMO contracts in Norway from ConocoPhillips and Statoil as well as subsea services agreements with Petrobras in Brazil and BP globally. The engineering division also secured concept study orders for the Johan Sverdrup and Johan Castberg developments offshore Norway.

Looking ahead, Aker Solutions said it expected the activity in Norway, where it is headquartered, to remain subdued. During the first quarter, citing lower activity, the company announced workforce reductions of as many as 1,500 permanent positions in Subsea and Field Design segments of its business.

“This would bring reductions since the second half of 2014 to about 20 percent of the permanent workforce. About two-thirds of the adjustments are in Norway. The company will continue to be vigilant about capacity while safeguarding key competencies,” Aker Solutions said on Thursday.

Citing lack of activity in Norway, with the exception of the Johan Sverdrup development, Aker Solution said its greatest growth potential is outside of Norway, where the company has been expanding. On that note, Aker Solutions last week opened its new subsea plant in Curitiba, Brazil, where it will employ about 850 people.

Speaking about the projects it is bidding for, Aker Solutions on Thursday said the company’s tendering activity remained steady and “currently totals more than NOK 40 billion”.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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