Petrofac is committing to spending $1bn over the next five years to secure a foothold in the deepwater field development market.

Its plan is not necessarily to challenge the international hegemony of Technip, Saipem and Subsea 7 in the deepwater installation market, but to focus on several sectors where it has already has an established presence and is working either onshore or in shallow waters.

The UK-based engineering and management services contractor has pegged a growth programme for beyond 2015 on three ‘pillars’ - geographic expansion, increased activity in the what it calls the integrated energy services (IES) and gaining a foothold in the EPIC offshore sector by acquiring significant installation assets.

Out to bid

Sometime in the next several months, Petrofac will go to the shipbuilding market to tender for what is being called a ‘high end, top tier’ installation vessel with both pipelay and heavylift capability. The unit is expected to be available for the 2016 season. At some undefined time in the future, the company will also seek support vessels for this field development vessel, but it has been quick to say that it does not intend to have ‘a fleet’.

The key geographic targets are ones where Petrofac has already set up shop - the Mexican portion of the Gulf of Mexico, Malaysia and Nigeria.

In Mexico, the IES division has a 25-year contract with Pemex focussing on production enhancement. It is hoping that this position will give it some advantage when the Mexican state company moves on developing its deepwater finds of the last few years.

Similarly in Malaysia, it has worked closely with Petronas on two projects - Berantai and West Desaru - and would be hoping for a deepwater project in the future.