He never really left, though his colleagues at NOV Norway headquarters in Kristiansand would often find his office empty. Since 2012, Jensen has split his time between Houston and Kristiansand, and a number of other locations stretching from Orange County to Shanghai. As VP Engineering Rig Offshore, Jensen was responsible for 2000 NOV engineers worldwide.
Restructuring has limited his responsibility to engineering in Europe and South East Asia. In addition, following Tor Henning Ramfjord’s resignation, Jensen was appointed Managing Director of 2000 NOV employees in Norway, of which the biggest share is located in Kristiansand. Jensen is said to have the ability and work ethics to handle both jobs.
Jensen has also returned to the board of GCE NODE, where he will now serve as Chairman, again replacing Ramfjord.
Is GCE NODE important for the industry and the region?
“NODE has provided an understanding of the requirements necessary to succeed in the global offshore industry. This is especially important if you are a small player; to be able to learn from the large corporations what kind of performance and quality it takes to get into the business. When the bigger players help build competent local suppliers, this in return helps the bigger players succeed. So, NODE works both ways.
Even more important is the contribution NODE has made in establishing a close relation between the industry and the University of Agder. Building world-class competence in mechatronics and logistics at our regional university makes it easier to recruit people with the right skill sets.
NODE is very important for the region both to attract people and companies, and to build the connection between the university, the businesses and the municipalities. NODE also helps build a collective understanding of technology trends and where the market is going.“
Do you see NODE playing a role in bringing down costs and developing new technology?
“The Center for Offshore Mechatronics and Mechatronics Innovation Lab are the two most important initiatives to develop new technologies. NOV is putting both people and money into these initiatives.
With regard to bringing down costs, we have an initiative to reduce the requirement for the special documentation that is required on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS), and also to reduce the number of special requirements on the NCS, i.e. to accept the same standard as in other areas. With regard to new technologies our big test will be to have the Center for Offshore Mechatronics produce valuable new technologies, which we can apply to our products and systems.“
What are your thoughts for the future of National Oilwell Varco in Kristiansand and Norway?
“We are in the midst of a very tough period with a drastically reduced activity. This is not because we have delivered bad products and services, certainly not – our drilling packages and cranes often produce 98-99 percent uptime straight out of the yard. The reason is simply that there are no orders for new rigs in the current market. There are already too many rigs relative to the oil companies’ short term drilling plans.
However, as investments decline, so will production. And as long as the world’s energy need is steadily rising, and oil and gas production falls more than renewable energy sources grow, the oil price will eventually rise as demand outweighs supply. Also keep in mind that a big share of the oil and gas that is produced goes in to other areas than energy production, like making materials etc. This will spur new investments.
The timing of this recovery is uncertain, but I am convinced that NOV in Kristiansand and Norway will once again be an important part of this coming upturn.”
What will NOV Norway focus on going forward?
“We have four priorities:
- Deliver ongoing projects to the satisfaction of our customers. And to support our customers in keeping their rigs operational. Any downtime hurts even more in times like these.
- Be very cost-efficient.
- Continue to develop products, systems and services to increase safety and performance as well as making them more cost-efficient to operate. Develop concepts for the next generation rigs. We work closely with our customers to identify what they will need and order some years down the road. A key is to reduce the need for manpower on the rig. We are looking at concepts that would enable a 30+ percent decrease in manning.
- Take care of each other. These are challenging times for the whole organization. We have said goodbye to too many colleagues. We need to keep the faith and build moral and motivation.”
How do you view the market?
“I cannot comment on the market situation beyond what CEO Clay Williams said in the second quarter conference call. He said we have not yet seen the bottom of the offshore market, but we are starting to see a few bright spots in the onshore market.”
Will we ever return to the high-level we were once at?
“No, I do not think so and that is probably a good thing!”
FACTS ABOUT FRODE JENSEN
- 45 years old.
- Originally from Fevik, lives in Kristiansand.
- Graduated from the Norwegian Technical College (NTH/NTNU) in 1994.
- Immediately hired by (and never left) Hydralift, which today is NOV Norway.
- Headed the crane and winch department (the legacy of Hydralift) for five years.
- Assistant Managing Director NOV Norway in 2010.
- Managing Director NOV Norway in 2011.
- Promoted to VP Engineering Rig Offshore in 2012 (responsible for 2000 engineers worldwide).
- August 2016: Director Engineering Europe and Managing Director NOV Norway