Brüel & Kjær Vibro, a leading supplier of instruments that monitor the condition of critical machines such as compressors, turbines and generators, has entered the international offshore market in a large way. One market of interest is Brazil, where the company hopes to collaborate with the integrated energy company Petrobras as well as with the petrochemicals manufacturer Braskem, which has been a good reference for B&K Vibro in Brazilian onshore installations for a number of years.
"We are in the process of further expanding our presence in Brazil," says Torben Ekvall, B&K Vibro’s managing director. "We are seeking prequalification to work with Petrobras and we believe the power and process industries will provide growth in the future, along with oil and gas in Brazil. Our petrochem collaboration with Braskem will also benefit from this."
Brüel & Kjær Vibro already has representation in Brazil via partners and an expat stationed in Sao Paolo. "We have the infrastructure in place, so we can benefit from the set-up that we have already established," Ekvall adds.
Confident of success
To ensure further success in Brazil, B&K Vibro is in the process of finding a partner dedicated to working in the oil and gas industry, says Jean Abdo-Berndt, the company"s sales manager for Latin America. He says it is early days yet for the Brazilian offshore venture to be termed a success, but he is confident of success in the medium to longer term.
"Our partner must have very good knowledge of the industry, must be located centrally for Brazil’s offshore oil and gas industry and must be able to identify the opportunities for us," Abdo-Berndt adds.
The company will draw on its oil and gas competence centre in the Netherlands for preparing tenders and other documents. "This centre operates worldwide and can work quickly and at short notice," Abdo-Berndt says.
Venture based on new products
The existing local distributors will continue their collaboration with Brüel & Kjær Vibro, and will provide service and technical functions as applicable.
Abdo-Berndt says the venture is based on the advent of two new Brüel & Kjær Vibro condition-monitoring products, which give Brazilian customers a new choice in a market that has been dominated by one American brand.
The company’s rack-based safety monitoring system, VC-6000, provides safe, reliable and high-quality solutions for protecting people, environments and machinery. The Compass system adds predictive monitoring functions to the VC-6000 safety system and provides integrated and reliable safety and predictive monitoring solutions.
"These instruments were designed to meet or exceed the stringent norms set by the oil and gas industry, such as API 670 and IEC 61508," Abdo-Berndt says. "They provide remote monitoring of performance and safety aspects, something the industry is interested in because, in the end, monitoring the performance of, say, compressors helps keep their costs down."
No conflicts of interest
The company says cutbacks in oil industry maintenance staff combined with the use of large gas compressors, heavy turbine generators and a myriad of critical pumps have created an increasing demand for conditioning monitoring solutions.
B&K Vibro also sees a market in selling the new instruments to update existing installations – which many customers regard as a good alternative to completely new instrumentation.
The company further believes that its status as an independent supplier will attract customers.
"We have no conflicts of interest and we are independent – we are not selling monitoring equipment that monitors our own compressors or turbines," Abdo-Berndt says. "And our products are at least as good as our American competitor’s."
Furthermore, B&K Vibro has agreements with leading original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of compressors and turbines so the instruments can be pre-installed at the OEMs’ production facilities.
While preparing Brüel & Kjær Vibro’s further expansion abroad, Ekvall attended a number of meetings and conferences arranged by the Confederation of Danish Industries. "Through our owners, Spectris, B&K Vibro has a worldwide network of companies, so we have not needed external help to expand as we can draw on the facilities of this network," he adds. "Spectris has 6,000 staff worldwide and we can piggy-back on their set-up and expertise."
The company’s new Brazilian initiative is based on the already existing business in Brazil and the success it has seen in the oil and gas industries in other territories, such as the North Sea, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, the Netherlands and Germany.
"Emerging markets such as Singapore, Vietnam and Africa are relatively new for us and have further expansion potential," Ekvall says. "This move into the petro-energy market is about five years old."
Over the next five years, Ekvall expects the company will see further strong growth in the energy market. If successful, Brüel & Kjær Vibro can easily treble today’s business in Brazil alone.
Brüel & Kjær Vibro has delivered a wide range of monitoring solutions for the world’s leading oil & gas companies, and claims Esso, Shell, Statoil, Maersk and Norsk Hydro among its references.
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