Its oil and gas projects range from underwater installations the size of football fields to equipment that works in the deepest waters and most challenging environments.
Aker Solutions in 2014 streamlined its business to focus on two main segments, subsea and field design. Today it employs about 16,000 people in some 20 countries, spread through Africa, the Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe.
The Evolution of Aker Solutions
The company traces its origins back to a small mechanical workshop, named Akers Mekaniske Verksted, founded on the Aker River in Oslo, Norway, in 1841. It grew steadily and went through various forms as a shipbuilding and engineering company. In 1853, rival Kvaerner Brug was founded nearby and in the following decades the two companies expanded in step with the industrial revolution.
Initially the main activities included shipbuilding, manufacturing components for machinery and equipment for clients in the iron and non-ferrous metals industries and shipping. Mechanical and marine engineering soon became the core business and in the heydays of the steam engine, the company engaged in a wide range of areas including timber, wood and pulp, coal, hydropower, fisheries and shipping.
In the 1960s, when oil companies discovered oil and gas in the North Sea, the company shifted focus. To begin with, it converted and prepared existing offshore rigs for service in the harsh conditions of the North Sea. Soon, it was developing its own rigs, such as the Aker H-3, which remains one of the most celebrated designs in the industry some 40 years later.
In 1967, Aker delivered “Ocean Viking,” an offshore drilling rig that in 1969 was used to discover Norway’s first oil field, Ekofisk, which was also the world’s largest offshore oil field of its time.
Faced with the challenges of the North Sea, the oil industry had to come up with good, safe and reliable solutions for the development and operation of deepwater fields and difficult reservoirs. Aker Solutions became a driving force in the development of subsea fields, floating production concepts, horizontal wells and increased oil recovery, to name a few areas.
In 2015, it delivered the world’s first subsea gas compression system for Norwegian state-controlled oil company Statoil’s Åsgard field in the Norwegian Sea, about 200 kilometers off the coast. The system, nearly the size of a football field, revolutionized offshore natural gas production by cutting costs and improving safety with fully-fledged oil and gas production and processing systems on the bottom of the ocean.
A New Era
In 2002, the company entered a new era by taking over major engineering, construction and shipbuilding rival Kvaerner and assuming the name Aker Kvaerner. Merging the two companies created a financially and technically strong business with interests as diverse as oil and gas, paper and pulp and shipbuilding.
By 2007, the company had been streamlining so it could focus on its core activities. It divested its pulp and paper and shipbuilding businesses and concentrated on the oil and gas industry as well as providing process and construction for the downstream, chemicals and mining industries.
In April 2008, the company announced its new name, Aker Solutions. It divested the process and construction businesses in 2011. It also in the same year split off its engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) activities and revived the venerable Kværner ASA name for this new listing on the Oslo Stock Exchange.
In 2013, Aker Solutions sold its well-intervention services and mooring and loading systems businesses.
Now, Aker Solutions is one of the world’s leading providers of oilfield products, systems and services to the upstream oil and gas industry and focuses on fast-growing deepwater and subsea oil-services markets.