Category: Shipping & Offshore
For a business that few people have heard of, and whose uninspiring name sounds a few digits short of a number plate, Norwegian company DNV GL continues to pass the test of time.
Celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, and with an annual turnover of more than $3bn (£2bn), its chief executive Henrik Madsen says with a grin that the firm “has a very robust business model”.
Probably its most well-known project came when it was appointed by US authorities to get to the bottom of what caused the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Yet when you are first told about DNV GL, getting your head around exactly what it does can be a bit of a challenge.
After all, the company employs 12,000 engineers around the world, but it doesn’t design, build or operate anything.
Instead, DNV GL is one of a handful of global organisations known as a “classification society”. So far so even more confusing.
Put simply, classification societies check and test on the structural and operational standards and safety of things such as cargo ships, offshore oil rigs, electricity power grids and wind farms.
And without certification from the likes of DNV GL such ships are not deemed seaworthy, oil rigs cannot begin operations, and power grids cannot be switched on.
It is a vital, but unsung role, and also a lucrative one.
DNV GL and other such societies also carry out investigation work if something ever breaks or goes wrong, but never into anything they themselves have signed off on.
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Published: September 30, 2023