Jackpot in the natural resource lottery
– two key ingredients made the difference
For more than 40 years he has solved complex tasks, hundreds of meters sub surface. Together with his former apprentice, he is ones again on his way to create success. He’s a problemsolver. He knows what it takes, and two key ingredients makes the difference.
There is little that reveals, that the two men behind white door, with the “Seabed Solutions” sticker, a few years back, led one of Norway’s most successful subsea entrepreneuring companies, and had monopoly on service deliveries, to all the large oil companies.
Now, they have both turned down lucrative offers, from highly valued companies, to create a company of their own.
Although one could have been the father of the other, they are similar.They both see opportunities, both have a distinctly positive mindset, and both have a clear understanding of what they want to achieve.
Niels-Henrik Brodtkorb is one of the real pioneers within seabed interventions. All his life, he has devoted to solving challenges, deep down at the bottom of the North Sea. On his resume, there are a number top positions in highly valued companies. Retirement life is approaching. But not yet. First, he has to do this.
The leadership talent
Christian Aas has not yet reached the middle of his professional career, but is already one of Norway’s most experienced subsea entrepreneurs.
Only 28 years old, he took over the position as General Manager of Scanmudring, a company with more than 100 employees and offices in Mandal, Canada and the Middle East.
It was Niels-Henrik who chose him. Saw the potential, and made the decision. It would be an idea that brought them closer to the goal.
In capital letters on the folder on the table , it says “Strategy”.
Christian has invited me to join the team. Offered me a seat around the table. A new industrial adventure is about to be created.
I listen with interest, while they explain who they are, what they believe in, and what they aim to achieve.
– Does it bring us closer to the goal?
It has become a mantra. Ever since Christian started working together with Niels-Henrik, he has heard the same question. It has become part of how he thinks.
The philosophy is simple. The world is moving forward. If you stand still, you are in reality moving backwards. If you do, as you did five years ago, you’re done. Out of game. Dead meat.
Niels-Henrik’s question is the first check. The first confirmation, that the idea is good.
Channeled, but released
Niels-Henrik gave Christian room to grow in the position as General Manager.
High quality performances are the result of channeled, positive energy and continuous improvement.
As Christian’s mentor, Niels-Henrik’s most important task was to nourish Christian’s energy and to course-correct in the meeting with turbulence.
– I wanted Christian not to put boundaries on himself. If he was to succeed, his energy had to be released. Channeled, but released.
Scanmudring experienced tremendous growth under Christian’s leadership. The company soon became a sought-after investment object among the large oil companies.
What?? How could that happen?
In the weeks that followed, they worked intensely. Together with one of Europe’s
largest, private investment fund and five key persons from the management team, they decided to buy the bankruptcy estate.
Everything was in order. Then came shock number two.
The company, which they had built, had been bought by someone else. For a price just above what they had offered. How could it be possible?
At the morning meeting the next day, they were one man short.
A new plan had to be laid.
A new plan
Together with the investment company, Niels-Henrik, Christian and Bård Brekke Jørgensen (R&D Director) and Jan Ivar Jensen (Supply Chain Manager) were to start a new company. The investment company was to secure capital and equipment.
Bård, who had been in charge of building of Scanmudring excavators and equipment, was to develop a new generation of excavators and ensure that future operations was completed faster and more efficiently than ever before. Then came shock number three.
Due to the ongoing oil crisis, the management of the investment company, introduced a preventive investment halt. All investments, that were not necessary to maintain existing operations were stopped.
Again they stood there. On bare ground.
Something positive can only grow out of something good
The first decision was simple. They had to start something of their own. Completely own.
The next decision was to forgive.
– Nothing positive can ever come out of negativity, says Niels-Henrik.
– Everything good in the world is the result of two things, structure and positive energy. The only function of negativity is to destroy. Problems can never be solved with a negative attitude. Moving on was easy. Only positivity breeds positive results.
Positivity is a magnet
The oil crisis in 2015 hit many offshore companies hard and it was a good time to buy used equipment.
Through the network, Christian got in touch with the dredging company, Seabed Services. The company had recently invested heavily in new equipment, but in a market that had crashed, they failed to meet their obligations.
Through their newly established company, Seabed Solutions, they bought the estate of Seabed Services. It turned out to be a good investment. The market picked up, and the need for the equipment, which Seabed Solutions now owned increased.
Through the purchase and sale of equipment, Seabed Solutions increased their capital and soon a new opportunity arose.
Operating at 4000 meters depth
Via the network, Christian was made aware that a completely new type of excavator had been built. This was an excavator, able to perform operations down to 4000 meters depth. Twice the capability of Scanmudrings machines.
The excavator had been secretly built by former colleagues to conduct treasure hunts in international waters. With Bård at the helm, the machine was studied and analyzed. Bård was impressed. More luxury than usual, but a good machine.
As the machine, was not primarly built for the oil and offshore industry, but for treasure hunting, it was to a greater extent a multitool platform. This flexbility would provide a number of benefits. Shortly afterwards, Seabed Solutions had expanded its product portfolio.
Jackpot in the nature resource lottery
– Does it bring us closer to the goal?
Christian nods and explains the possibility.
– Norway has once again, hit the jackpot in the natural resources lottery, Christian says.
We look at him. A good introduction.
– After Fiji, Norway holds the largest seabed deposits of copper, cobalt and zinc in the world, he begins.
– These raw materials are essential in the production of electrical components, electric car batteries, wind turbines and solar panels. Products, which demand are growing rapidly thanks to the transition to green energy.
– There are simply not enough minerals on land. Calculations show that extraction of seabed minerals can result in 21,000 new jobs and NOK 180 billion in annual, national earnings.
– And best of all .. the mineral deposits are located at 2500-4000 meters depth. With the seabed excavator we can go down there.
Christian turns to me and looks me in the eyes.
– What do you think? Do you have the faith?
I nod. I have heard what I wanted to hear. The universe is the result of two ingredients. Positive energy in motion and structure.
I believe in that.