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Peterson - Den Helder is a leading European offshore logistics and service center for the southern North Sea.

Located in North Holland; Den Helder is a leading European Continental offshore logistics and service center for the southern North Sea. The port and heli-port, easy access to Amsterdam, the road and rail links, the rapidly developing high-speed internet infrastructure, the gas refinery, and the numerous suppliers and logistic providers make Den Helder the logical North Sea Energy Gateway (NSEG). Peterson is the largest logistic provider operating from Den Helder.

From his office on the hectic ‘Paleiskade’, Peterson’s Regional Director, Ron van der Laan takes in the scene. “I have the best view in the whole world. Simply looking out of the window energizes me.”

Platform shuttle service

Founded in 1920 as a grain trader, Peterson and its sister company Control Union are involved in a wide range of activities. Van der Laan: “We play a central role in the Southern North Sea Pool. This is a partnership of nine energy companies that drill for and then produce gas and oil in the southern section of the North Sea. In 2002, its members started to channel their transport to and from the drilling rigs and production platforms through Den Helder. The logistics model we established replaced the companies’ own, expensive, supply ships with nine vessels. They provide an efficient and economic shuttle service to and from the offshore installations.”

Peterson’s logistics services attract worldwide interest

At the Paleiskade, the vessels are efficiently unloaded, cleaned and loaded before returning to sea. “The quicker the better. Planning plays an essential role. Our facilities and people are ready when a ship docks. Our shortest turnaround time was 3 hours and 49 minutes, but it’s not a race. Safety remains our top priority.”

This logistics concept is attracting worldwide interest, says Van der Laan. ”We just landed a major contract in Trinidad and Tobago, and are currently working on similar concepts in Qatar, Malaysia and Australia. In Port Cameron on the Gulf of Mexico, we are involved in the development of an entirely new port similar to Den Helder. Also there, we will be putting our concept and our experience to good use.”

Decommissioning platforms

Offshore platforms have a limited life and are a challenge to reuse and decommission. In the past ten years, Peterson has mastered the process working with Veolia, the local waste processor. “Depending on the size of the platform and the situation, we can decide to dismantle it at sea, transport it to a port in sections or to tow it to shore suspended from a crane. The planning must be meticulous and take into account factors including wind speed and swell. Here again, our number one concern is safety. Since 2005, we have handled some 80,000 metric tons of material of which 98% is reusable.”

Wind farms - the new growth market

The oil and gas sector has faced challenges recently; however, Ron van der Laan believes the worst is past. “The increased activity around the North Sea and new offshore wind farms provide great opportunities.” That is why organizations in the north of Noord-Holland have joined forces to promote Den Helder as the North Sea Energy Gateway (NSEG). Peterson is closely involved in this initiative. “Den Helder has high quality facilities and extremely efficient logistics services. It is also well-situated to service the largest wind farms that will be constructed in the North Sea. We are therefore working with our fellow NSEG partners to ensure that Den Helder and the region are awarded the logistics contracts for these wind farms to guarantee employment for the local population and create opportunities for future employers.”

Good working relationship with NHN

Ron van der Laan has nothing but praise for the collaboration with NHN. “Their people contribute to the development of the region and help us in numerous ways. For instance, NHN’s support has enabled us to apply for a sustainability grant for a feasibility study into the use of alternative fuels.”

Paleiskade Peterson
Ron van der Laan Peterson