Norwegian Company Expands Louisiana Office, Training Center
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Norwegian maritime tech company Kongsberg Maritime Inc. has bought 5.2 acres in St. Rose to expand its Louisiana office and training center in the business park where it currently leases offices.
Since the service department moved in 2003 from Houston to a business park 24 miles from New Orleans, it has grown from nine to 110 employees.
"Despite a low oil price and a downturn in the offshore markets, we believe the market will bounce back as it always does," company President Jon Holvik said in a news release Thursday.
He said the company also believes in the future of the Gulf of Mexico offshore market, "which is why we are now investing in a large Louisiana technical support center and a new training facility."
Kongsberg Maritime leases 35,000 square feet of office space. The new, three-story building going up about 100 feet away will more than double that, at nearly 83,000 square feet, spokeswoman Jacquie Bonano said.
It will stand on about three acres at James Business Park, with the rest kept for future expansion, the company said.
"It is difficult to say exactly how many more employees will be hired, however the new facility is designed to hold between 220-250 people over the next 10-15 years," Holvik wrote in an email forwarded Thursday by Bonano to The Associated Press.
Bonano said the new building will include a 3,800-square-foot training center for all of the company's products and courses tailored for specific oil companies and drilling contractors, as well as a lab for training Kongsberg service workers.
Kongsberg did not say how much it paid in the deal closed in December.
St. Charles Parish President V.J. St. Pierre Jr. said keeping Kongsberg in the parish was a top priority because of its high-paying jobs. He did not immediately respond to phone and email requests for further comment.
Kongsberg Maritime, a subsidiary of the conglomerate Kongsberg Gruppen ASA, makes systems for dynamic positioning, marine automation and control, subsea navigation and surveillance for vessels and offshore facilities, with manufacturing plants and offices in 25 countries.
The New Orleans-area office services offshore facilities and vessels, cruise ships and tankers in the Gulf of Mexico and trains purchasers to use dynamic position systems, which use computers to automatically keep a vessel stationary or moving in the desired direction.
– by AP Reporter Janet McConnaughey