Easy export financing gives big boost for SafeLink

The Porsgrunn based firm Safe Link AS has developed and leased three "Heave compensators" to be used in major subsea installations for Technip and Subsea 7 - We could not have achieved this without loans and state guarantees from Export Credit Norway and GIEK, says CEO of SafeLink AS, Ole Henning Christiansen.

The Norwegian exporter SafeLink AS was established in 2012 to develop compensators for offshore lifting. In addition to providing lift technology for less complex lifting operations over water and through the splash zone, the company has developed advanced technology to handle installation of heavier subsea systems. The early years were spent on product development, and the goal is to be at the forefront in the development of solutions for deep water.

- In 2014, we met Laila Johansen in Export Credit Norway at an oil conference in Houston. When we received the contract later that year, and had to consider financing options, we contacted Export Credit Norway, says Christiansen.

Simple application for smaller contracts
SafeLink and its customers have used GIEK and Export Credit Norway's new simplified application process for contracts under NOK 30 million with a joint application for both loan and guarantee.

- It would have been a much longer process to finance and build our products without the loan from Eksport Credit Norway, says Christiansen.

The exporter and its customers have also used the new product for smaller contracts without the requirement of bank participation. Instead of involving a local bank, Safelink covers 10 percent of the financing itself.

- We got an American co-investor and all parties are very satisfied with the procedure for getting the financing in place. We have had joint meetings with GIEK and Export Credit, and the dialogue between the two has been seamless. It has worked very well, says Christiansen.

Norwegian-developed technology in offshore projects outside Africa
Technip is a French listed company. The company is a world leading engineering and installation company. The equipment from SafeLink will be used in a project outside Congo in advanced subsea structures at depths of up to 1 100 meters.

The heave compensators from SafeLink is attached between the crane and the equipment to be lowered to the ocean floor to compensate for wave effects and the physical forces acting from the sea surface and down to the sea bed. The compensators used by Technip weighs about 30 tons and can handle lifting over 300 tons.

- Our ambition is to develop the technology further and grow by gaining market share and eventually become a natural integral part of the advanced crane systems in the offshore industry.

- Technip and Subsea 7 are two of the biggest players in the industry and now we have both in our customer portfolio. We want to take a larger share of the market by showcasing our customer cases. Therefore, these contracts have been very important for us to achieve, says Christiansen.

Subsea 7 is a company listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange. From March to May 2015 Subsea 7 will use an advanced compensator with brand new technology from SafeLink in a project outside Ivory Coast. The compensator can handle lift up to 50 tons.