FRED OLSEN THE NORWEGIAN HOWARD HUGHES
The origins of Fred. Olsen & Co. date back to 1848 when the Fred. Olsen family first entered the ship owning business. Thomas Fredrik Olsen or Fred Olsen, born 1 January 1929, is a Norwegian shipping magnate and Chairman of the companies in the Fred. Olsen Group. He is the fourth generation running the Fred. Olsen Group, founded by his great grandfather Petter Olsen and named after his grandfather Thomas Fredrik Olsen. As Chairman of the Aker Group, Olsen oversaw the transition of Aker from shipbuilding to offshore oil industry operations.
Fred Olsen co- founded the Norwegian Oil Consortium (NOCO) and later Saga Petroleum A/S. This proved to be a success. Associated with floating drilling operations in the North Sea, Olsen’s company built the Ocean Viking semisubmersible in 1965. Fred. Olsen & Co. was an initiator for the construction of the Aker H-3 semisubmersible drilling rigs and in the 1970’s ordered several units. Over 37 H-3 and H-3.2 were built during the 1970s, more than any other design. All are still in use, several upgraded to 4th and 5th generation, and have made a significant contribution to the development of offshore fields. Deepsea Driller was the first built in 1974. Dolphin, who operates the rigs, has proved to be an international operator and completed big offshore jobs in the North Sea, the Mediterranean, the Gulf of Mexico and also outside South America, Alaska, Sakhalin, Australia and Indonesia. The Dolphin companies were at an early stage active within related services such as engineering, well maintenance, diving services and remote controlled submarines. These activities were later sold. Fred. Olsen Production was established in 1994 and has developed a number of projects within floating production. Fred. Olsen has been called “The Norwegian Howard Hughes” for his great wealth and avoidance of publicity.
As befits a man who once ran off to sea, Olsen is also a world-class sailor. He won the world championship in International One Design, a class of 33-foot boats, in 1959 and 1960.
Fred. Olsen & Co based in Oslo is today in charge of the day-to-day management of Bonheur ASA (BON), listed on Oslo Stock Exchange. BON has owning interests in a fleet of drilling vessels, cruise vessels and transport- and installation vessels for offshore wind turbines. The company also holds interests in other renewable energy activities. (Source: Fred. Olsen & Co./Wikipedia – Image: Fred Olsen and the Ocean Viking)
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