Frits Kronenburg: A reflection on the past and future of offshore pipelines.

11 May 2023

As I approach retirement, after more than 20 years of experience working in the pipeline industry globally, I am proud to look back over the past few years in my role as business development manager at Strohm and the dynamic and interesting journey it has been.

When I joined the company in January 2015, it was in a transitional phase as it was evolving from a start-up to an established producer of quality, tested products with a reputation for expertly designed, lightweight pipelines that can support the offshore industry on the global stage.

At that time, in the throes of product development, testing and qualification, our marketing surrounding our Thermoplastic Composite Pipe (TCP) products was based on a ‘staircase’ approach, building up our offering in a staged, sustainable manner.

In other words, our objective was to produce long lengths of pipe at larger diameters, focusing on the subsea jumpers, flowlines and risers market. This strategy enabled us to walk before we learned how to run. That is also why the company started introducing TCP for dynamic applications in the well intervention market, with self-supporting downlines and jumpers.

By the time I joined Strohm, a huge amount of work had already been completed, resulting in the delivery and successful use of a number of these downline systems. This gave us the drive to start introducing TCP products for static applications in the SURF industry.

At Strohm we were convinced from the start that our technology is extremely good. At the same time we were well aware that especially as a newcomer we had to understand exactly the requirements,  challenges and expectations of the customer. The dialogue with the customer has always been and of course still is key. In a very demanding but also conservative industry it took a lot of effort and time before we finally became successful.

After years we can say we made the right choices and have proven that our products meet a need and offer solutions that other suppliers cannot offer.

As for the aging flowline infrastructure and static risers that will remain in use, despite the challenges the industry faces, it is likely that some will eventually need to be replaced. Strohm has proven that replacement with TCP can be done quickly and easily.

Very important for us in the near future will be the emerging renewable energy market for Hydrogen, CO2 and Ammonia for which our products are also suitable. Although it will be a few years before the first projects start, we are all convinced this will generate future growth for the business while simultaneously putting us on track to meet global net zero goals and ensuring the world continues on its important journey towards decarbonisation.

As such, I am proud to say that the future of the company, and the energy industry as a whole, looks bright. In the past few years we have made huge strides, and we have recently tripled our production capacity to 140km of normalised pipe per annum. In addition, we now supply TCP flowlines and jumpers for a variety of applications including hydrocarbons, hydrogen and CO2 transport. This, coupled with our activity in the renewable space, makes my retirement a satisfying ending to my journey with Strohm.

As I turn towards my own personal plans for retirement, focusing on my hobbies like sailing and playing guitar in the several bands I am a part of, I wish all my colleagues at Strohm every success for the future. I look forward to watching Strohm’s journey and supporting the fantastic people I have worked with for nearly a decade as they meet the challenges of the offshore industry head on.