The republic is a strategic platform that provides access to regional growth for DOF Subsea Group.
Before May 2005, DOF Subsea Group, which provides offshore construction support services, had no businesses in Asia. But within a two-year period the company has managed to build up its annual turnover from the region to some $180 million.
As well as showing the growth potential in this area, the company says that it is partly a result of its decision to set up a regional office here. Singapore 'is a natural choice for us to establish our base and launch operations in Asia-Pacific', managing director Steve Brown said.
'There was a clearly evident symmetry in our own strategic objectives, laid down in the business plan and those benefits a world class, internationally recognised, marine centre offered.'
DOF Subsea sees Singapore as a strategic platform that provides access to the whole region; it has sophisticated port facilities and a cluster of conveniently located supply chain providers.
'In my experience, it is imperative to establish a strong foundation by creating the best possible business environment one can; choosing Singapore was a part of this process.' Factors that went into the decision to locate an office here include available skills, technology and communication - 'all of which are excellent', said Mr Brown.
DOF Subsea has pumped in some US$200 million worth of investments here and is making various acquisitions to help it grow. The benefits of its investment strategy are perhaps best illustrated by the financial incentives and business opportunities that it has created.
DOF Subsea is a participating firm under the Singapore government's Approved International Shipping (AIS) Enterprise Scheme. AIS encourages international shipowning and ship-operating companies to establish operations in Singapore by rewarding them with 10-year tax exemption on income from ships' operations outside of Singapore.
To qualify, applicants have to be a significant owner and/or operator of a fleet of ships, and have a directly attributable business spending in Singapore. The company should manage its regional businesses via Singapore.
Some of its regional contracts include the provision of MV Geosea together with associated saturation diving support in the Gulf of Thailand.
The MV Geosea is a multi-purpose offshore vessel with fully integrated subsea intervention systems, including saturation diving spread, air diving and ROV (remote operated vehicle) systems.
The programme has an estimated value of US$6 million and works undertaken will include subsea metrology and clamp installations in support of platform riser fabrication and installation works.
Last year, DOF Subsea also formed a joint venture in Brunei which won a three-year contract from Brunei Shell Petroleum Company to provide underwater inspection, repair and maintenance services. The company has also secured long-term subsea service contracts with Shell in the Philippines.
DOF Subsea plans to increase its headcount here to 30 by mid-2008, from the current nine.
The firm has committed some US$135 million to acquire vessels, dive and remote operated vehicle systems as well as specialist equipment.
This includes the region's most advanced diving support vessel - the Skandi Singapore which will be available for operations in 2009, as well as the D300 12 Man Modular Saturation Diving System which will be in the region in the third quarter of next year.
As Indonesia is set to be a major oil and gas market, DOF Subsea plans to build up its headcount and operations there.
Elsewhere in Asia, DOF Subsea sees the offshore industry in China taking off, owing to the fast-growing energy consumption.
Australia, which currently takes 60 per cent of its regional sales, will continue to be a major market, as will Russia.
In contrast, Mr Brown thinks that the markets in Europe and Middle East are now fairly mature, and that most Western countries are cutting down on their energy consumption. 'Of all the markets we are involved in; it is perhaps Asia that has the greatest long-term potential,' he said.
'And the Singapore office allows us to strengthen our position in this market.'
© 2007 The Business Times