Catching Wind: An Introduction to GustoMSC – Part 1 Transcript


00:10 Michael Gaines: Hello, and welcome to NOV Today. I'm your host Michael Gaines. When thinking about NOV and the technologies that have been developed and provided for the energy industry for more than a century, does the concept of wind energy immediately pop into your mind? Historically, for many, it might not have. However, that narrative changed in 2018 when NOV proudly welcomed the talented team of GustoMSC into the NOV global family. Comprised of talented naval architects, designers, engineers, and team members with hundreds of years worth of collective knowledge and expertise. NOV added major capabilities and solutions for customers operating in the developing world of renewable technologies and specifically in the arena of offshore wind installation vessels. Leading the GustoMSC team is Nils Van Nood, who sat down with me to talk a bit more about this team, capabilities, and how this new path forward as part of NOV will help customers across the board. Here's our conversation.


01:25 Michael Gaines: This is NOV Today and I am your host, Michael Gaines. And I am here in Schiedam? Is that right? 

01:34 Nils Van Nood: It's Schiedam.

01:35 Michael Gaines: Schiedam.

01:37 Nils Van Nood: Yes.

01:38 Michael Gaines: Schiedam.

01:39 Nils Van Nood: Like Schiefen, Schiedam.

01:41 Michael Gaines: It is so sad. Schiedam, Netherlands, here at the GustoMSC office and talking with several people about the technology and the people that make up this team. And so this morning, I have the opportunity to sit down with Nils Van Nood, who is... What is your title now? 

02:05 Nils Van Nood: It's managing director.

02:05 Michael Gaines: Managing director. Alright, so Nils thank you for the time today.

02:09 Nils Van Nood: Yeah. It's my pleasure.

02:12 Michael Gaines: I wanted to start off by maybe just having a high-level overview of GustoMSC. For those that may not be familiar, can you maybe give a sort of high-level overview of what you all are doing here.

02:24 Nils Van Nood: Yeah, sure. Basically, we have three lines of business in this company. First line of business that we have is we design mobile offshore units, and that's jackups and floaters—floaters being ships or semi-submersibles. We do concept design to basic design class with basic design from which shipyards can make detailed design and finally construct the mobile offshore unit. And we have... Our business model there is that we get paid a license fee for every unit built according to our design. Second line of business is that together with the designs, we also supply associated equipments. So for example, for jacking systems, for jackups is jacking systems, skidding systems for the cantilever, or the fixation systems that fix the legs to the jackups. But it also includes heavy-lift offshore cranes, for example. Our third line of business is operational support. One part of that is off the market, and the other part is suppression support engineering for our clients, the end users of the mobile offshore units, to make sure that they operate the mobile offshore units in the best way for them. Typically, it involves upgrades or verifications for them to operate in certain weather conditions. So those are the three types of business that we that we run here.

03:46 Michael Gaines: Okay. And walking around the building, I see many, many different models of the designs that you have made and so I can surmise that there is a rich history that GustoMSC has of providing these technologies. Just from your own memory, can you talk a little bit about some of the major milestones that GustoMSC has achieved?

04:13 Nils Van Nood: Sure. Yeah, and my memory is too short [laughter] to give it. Just as although I worked with the company already for 20 years, I started with the company and still I'm here. The company originated from a shipyard here in Schiedam, the Gusto shipyard. That was a family-owned business, and the shipyard started in 1905, but the family business is already originating from 1862. [04:43] ____ started to do offshore in the late '50s—that's when the offshore industry originated in Gulf of Mexico and in the North Sea. And the Gusto shipyard was the first shipyard in Europe to design and construct a jackup. It was around the same time that [04:57] ____ did the same in Galveston in the US. And as from there, the Gusto shipyard continued to innovate on the jackup side, also in the drill ship sides, and they were involved in many innovative products that included pipeline semis and jackups and DP drill ships. It also included, for example, the brands part of Shell, big part production platform. And one of their key products was buoys, offloading buoys, which became a core product, which later became a separate company called Single Buoy Moorings, which is currently SBM. So we were with SBM for a long time and in 2012, we were spun off. And this year, we joined the NOV. Yeah.

05:52 Michael Gaines: In joining NOV, one of the things that maybe just, some might not notice, but I know some do, is in looking at the naming convention we have GustoMSC and NOV company.

06:05 Nils Van Nood: Yes.

06:07 Michael Gaines: Do you have any perspective or visibility on what was the thinking behind that naming architecture? 

06:14 Nils Van Nood: Yes, certainly, certainly. As designers, we are involved with our clients either operators or, for example, drilling contractors or constructing contractors, in very early phase. That is a phase where the clients are not yet committing, for example to mission equipment, like drilling equipment. And in order to play that independent role, continue to play that independent role, it is important that in that phase we are not completely linked to one of the main equipment suppliers in our industries. Clearly, it gives us a good position in the early phases to also start developing internally the right solutions to promote NOV equipment in the later phase, but in order to play that early-phase role, it is important to maintain the GustoMSC brand, an NOV company.

07:09 Michael Gaines: Okay. So for those that may not be as familiar, especially in the offshore renewable space, what are some of the major kind of components in that area? And what is it that you think is important for maybe NOV employees to know about what you all are doing to kind of help propel that area?

07:36 Nils Van Nood: Yes. So the history of offshore renewables, and especially offshore wind, is relatively short. So it started in, let's say, 10-15 years ago in Europe with offshore wind turbines being installed. At that moment there was no installation equipment available to install offshore wind turbines, and we were quick to adopt our offshore oil and gas know-how to design our installation jackups primarily with cranes. So currently somewhere between 60 and 70% of our wind turbines in Europe, which is the major market, are installed by GustoMSC designed equipment. And again, that's primarily jackups and cranes only. What is going on in that market is that there's a huge pressure, like in oil and gas, on reducing costs. And actually, the past 2 years that really has happened, and one of the big drivers for reducing the cost is the increase of turbine size. When we started in the business, turbines were somewhere between 2 and 3 megawatts installed power. We are now installing around 10 megawatts, and 12 and larger are coming. The installation equipment for those bigger wind turbines—so they're much taller and also heavier—is not available in the market for the next generation. So that is a driver for constructing new installation equipment in which we are heavily involved, and recently we got two design contracts for this next-generation installation equipment.

09:11 Michael Gaines: Can you talk a little bit... So I know there are a lot of folks within the company that are familiar with the offshore drilling space and looking at floaters and jackups, but when you look at the comparison and contrast between that and the offshore wind installation vessels, I think maybe at one point there was more similarities than not, but it looks like there's more of a divergence now, in terms of maybe requirements and equipment. Can you talk a little bit about that for people that may not be as familiar? 

09:43 Nils Van Nood: Sure. Yeah, yeah, sure. Comparing to an offshore drilling jackup there's a couple of very distinct features for wind turbine installation jackups. One of them is that they are self-propelled, because they have to move very often to each installation site and actually also pick up the components at the key site. So they are self-propelled. They typically have four legs, compared to three legs. There's quite a lot of technical clarifications for depth, which go I think now too deep. And clearly what is very important is that there is a big installation crane on it. We used to start in the business with cranes around 800 to 1,000 ton, and we're looking know at jackups going up to 2,000-ton lifting capacity. So, those are the main features.

10:28 Michael Gaines: Yeah. And certainly also, as you've already said and I think that I talked with someone earlier, the cycle time in terms of movement of the offshore or the wind installation jackups are far greater than...

10:44 Nils Van Nood: Oh yes.

10:44 Michael Gaines: Than with your drilling vessels.

10:45 Nils Van Nood: Certainly. Yeah, yeah. So typically when they are in a site they move daily, and they typically bring somewhere between five, four-five, to eight turbines depending on the size. So each tour they have to jack-up that many times, and compared to a drilling jackup that sometimes they only jack-up a few times a year depending on the cycle that they're in.

11:10 Michael Gaines: So kinda looking at some of the applications that you've seen historically and what you're looking at now, as you sort of look out on the horizon, what are some themes or concepts that you're seeing that you're preparing for as customer requests and needs sort of change? What does that look like to you? 

11:32 Nils Van Nood: For the offshore wind market you mean? 

11:33 Michael Gaines: Mm-hmm.

11:35 Nils Van Nood: Especially it's about size. So we are really scaling up now. That is what's going on. There are a few features that we bring to that market, and one of those is we now have to lift more than 160 meters high above the sea level. You need very tall cranes for that, and a typical heavy-lift offshore crane does not have the long boom that is required for that. And there's also no space on the ship to host the long boom. So we have developed a telescopic boom which is on land. Clearly, this is not exceptional but good for offshore, and especially in this size, somewhere between 1,200 and 2,000 to 2,500 ton is exceptional. So that's one of the products that we are currently offering to the market.

12:20 Michael Gaines: Oh wow. I didn't even... Well, that's a new one for me. I never even thought about a telescopic boom, but shows my lack of knowledge in the space, so that's really cool. How would you describe in your own words the culture here in the office? So there are people who may not ever visit this facility but are interested to know what would it feel like to work there? How would you describe it? 

12:50 Nils Van Nood: It's... There's a lot of technical know-how in this company, so the vast majority is university-grade engineers, very committed to the product and to the client. And one of the key features that we really focus on in our company is cooperation, very close cooperation, so that's internally as well as externally with our suppliers and our clients. And if you look around our building, it's also very transparent, and we actually chose for a building like that to facilitate this very close cooperation. So everybody is ready to help, and I think that that is the main spirit that we have here.

13:34 Michael Gaines: So lastly, is there anything else that we haven't talked about that you think is important to share with the organization? 

13:46 Nils Van Nood: I think what I really like of being part of NOV now, and maybe it's also interesting to explain what... Or maybe what's the rational for the acquisition, from NOV's point of view, and also why we like it. So what we bring to NOV is, I think, a couple of things, and that's primarily what we already talked about, is the entry more into the offshore renewables markets. It's also our design capability, which, and that's a particular thing that I really am excited about, is now being part of NOV we can really optimize the designs that we make together with the equipment. So we are not designing the optimal jackup or semi only as a platform but really the drilling machine or the lifting machine as a whole. And I think that is a real added value to our clients and that's also what really creates a synergy between the different NOV companies in marine and construction businesses that we are part of but also with the rig equipment guys. So that added value and also the aftermarket business. I think we have quite a big install fleet, we are working on creating more synergies in the aftermarket, making use of the bigger NOV aftermarket organization. So there are a couple of things. And another topic that I'm really excited about is, is the digitalization, the digital transformation of our industries. As a small company, it's really difficult to create a solid platform for that, but NOV really provides everything that we need to put more automation, also in the systems that we design and supply. So in those topics, the total integrated design and the automation we already developed very close corporation. And we are also very much focusing on insourcing our equipment, so working together with the other NOV manufacturing facilities, and that's also very nice to cooperate on that.

15:46 Michael Gaines: Good. I actually have two last things. They're... And you may not know anything about them, so if you don't, that's fine. So, I had an email and there are, it was very brief and there were two items on there. Do you know anything, this may have been historically like from I think maybe even the '70s. It was something about like a CIA drill ship. It was something along those lines. He said, bars are...

16:16 Nils Van Nood: Secret service drill ship? 

16:17 Michael Gaines: Like the US Central Intelligence agency. Do you know anything about this story? 

16:21 Nils Van Nood: No, actually I don't. I'd love to dig it up.

16:24 Michael Gaines: I don't know either. I tried to dig it up. So, that's fine, if you don't know, I don't know, maybe that's a future topic. The other one was something about bridges in Brazil. Have you done anything with bridges in Brazil at all? 

16:40 Nils Van Nood: Not in Brazil, but we have been heavily involved in designing a big installation vessel for installing bridges. But those have been used in Canada and in Scandinavia, actually.

16:52 Michael Gaines: Oh wow. So you, but you've applied that in...

16:53 Nils Van Nood: Yes.

16:54 Michael Gaines: Oh wow, I didn't know that.

16:55 Nils Van Nood: So we have a background in that as well.

16:57 Michael Gaines: Oh wow. And executed projects that have been completed or is this, are these...?

17:01 Nils Van Nood: Yeah, yeah, so that's one of the historical products that we have designed. The ship is still floating around, it's called the “Svanen” and it's a 9,000-ton lifting capacity that's installed at least three big bridges.

17:12 Michael Gaines: Oh wow. Well, now I know. Okay, did you have anything? Okay, great. Alright, well, Nils Van Nood, the Managing Director for GustoMSC, an NOV Company. Thank you for your time today.

17:27 Nils Van Nood: It was my pleasure.

17:28 Michael Gaines: Thanks for listening to this episode of NOV Today. In our next two episodes we get to jump into the minds of two engineers from GustoMSC and learn more about the ins and outs of offshore vessel design and what it takes to produce the world-class designs that have made Gusto MSC who they are today. If you've ever wanted a primer in offshore wind installation, this is your chance. If you have any questions or would like to learn more, visit You can also reach us by sending an email to [email protected], contacting us on twitter @NOVGlobal, or checking out our website at For NOV Today, I'm Michael Gaines. Thanks for listening and we'll talk to you later.