Norwegian maritime firm to invest $20 million in Louisiana expansion

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Norwegian maritime firm to invest $20 million in Louisiana expansion


Category: Shipping & Offshore

Kongsberg Maritime, a Norwegian maritime technology firm, will invest $20 million to open a new 82,000-square-foot office and training facility in St. Rose. The move is a long-term bet on the Gulf of Mexico oil and gas market, which Kongsberg executives expect to remain strong despite slumping oil prices.

The new facility will be located in the James Business Park and include a 3,800-square-foot training center, additional office space and lab space for product testing. Construction is set to begin this spring.

Kongsberg supplies the technology that goes into modern supply vessels and offshore facilities serving the oil and gas industry, including dynamic positioning systems, automated controls that allow vessels to hold coordinates at sea without anchoring.

Kongsberg Maritime President Jon Holvik said plans for the new facility began before the recent drop in oil prices. Holvik said the facility is a “long-term investment in the New Orleans area and for our customers” that serve the Gulf of Mexico oil and gas industry.

“We believe in the market,” Holvik said.

Crude oil prices slid from around $100 per barrel last summer to below $50 this fall. The price for benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude was $44.51 per barrel on Thursday.

Oil and gas companies are scaling back exploration budgets both offshore and onshore. But analysts expect long-term investment to remain strong in the Gulf of Mexico, where drilling projects tend to have a longer horizon.

Kongsberg opened its St. Rose office in 2003 with nine full-time employees. The company had grown to 110 employees and 35,000 square feet of leased office space.

Kongsberg purchased the 5.2 acres of land for its new facility for an undisclosed amount in December.

The new facility will span about 3 acres. The remaining acreage will be reserved for future expansion.

Kongsberg Maritime is a subsidiary of Norwegian conglomerate Kongsberg Gruppen. The company’s U.S. headquarters are in Houston.