Fuglesangs develops subsea boosting pumps
The company is betting on the future of oil & gas, making it more environmentally kind
Recently the Norwegian major oil company, Statoil, joined forces with Aker BP, Lundin, and National Oilwell Varco in a joint industry project set to revolutionize subsea boosting pumps. The project aims to bring Fuglesangs’ Subsea single-phase booster to market by early 2019. The company’s strategy is to provide the most autonomous, modular, and robust boosting systems for the global subsea process, unstaffed offshore, subsea drilling, and deep-sea excavation markets. With oil prices around $70 a barrel, there is a lot of optimism in the sector. The Fuglesangs pumps are more lightweight, reducing the steel needed and, subsequently, the carbon footprint. The company was a Spotlight Small Business Winner 2017 at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.
Fuglesangs used the oil crisis to implement land technology to the oil and gas sector. They adapted mine pumps for use at the bottom of the sea. Revenue grew from NOK 3.8 million in 2015 to NOK 30 million last year. According to a press release, founder and CEO Alexander Fuglesang says that “once we eliminated the single biggest problem with subsea pumps, all the other pieces fell into place. That problem was the mechanical shaft seal, the source of 70 percent of subsea pumps failures.” With the next-generation pump, a field development will be NOK 100 to 150 million cheaper.
“We think oil and gas will be a part of the world energy mix for decades to come,” says the fifth-generation Fuglesang on the company website. “However, the environmental impact and costs need to be reduced. We think the main way to do this is to put more equipment either on the seabed or on offshore unmanned platforms.”
In Oslo, all employees work in one location. There is an indoor, 20-foot deep subsea test pit, with a 25-ton gantry crane capacity. In addition to other equipment, this allows Fuglesangs to develop and test subsea boosting systems on site.
“It’s exciting to see new technology developments within the oil and gas industry,” said Terje Søviknes, Norway’s minister of petroleum and energy, on the Fuglesangs website. “Fuglesangs has a lot of interesting projects going on with their boosting systems.”
Fuglesangs was founded in 1855. It was among Norway’s first 10 textile factories. It was located by the Akerselva, the river that divides Oslo’s east and west sides. Beginning in 1890, the company manufactured Norway’s most well-known sleeping bag, Ajungilak, including a double sleeping bag made for Fridtjof Nansen’s polar expedition. In 2001, Ajungilak was bought by Swiss Mammut Sports Group Ltd. Today, the sleeping bag is manufactured in China and found in sports outlets worldwide.
In 1916, the family diversified, establishing Fuglesangs Ltd. The product portfolio included steel beams and plates. In the ’60s the company became the main distributor to the Aker group (shipyards). As Norwegian shipbuilding decreased, the company focused on pumps and pump systems. In 2003, they bought Pumpe & Maskinteknikk AS. In 2012, the name of the company changed from Fuglesangs Ltd. AS to Fuglesangs AS, and Alexander Fuglesang took over as CEO. Five years ago, the company brought its growing subsea activity under the name Fuglesangs Subsea AS. Fuglesang has a degree from the University of British Columbia in Canada. After completing his studies, he spent two years working for Kennet Partners, a private equity fund based in London and Silicon Valley.
Rasmus Falck is a strong innovation and entrepreneurship advocate. The author of “What do the best do better” and “The board of directors as a resource in SME,” he received his masters degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He currently lives in Oslo, Norway.
This article originally appeared in the April 20, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.