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  • Dear Readers!

    2018 has been an extraordinary year for our group. There have been some great business opportunities around – in the area of recycling as well as in the global market for mobility, both in the private and public transport sector. We have been able to make the most of these opportunities by taking steps to acquire DSD (Duales System Deutschland GmbH) – as has the RETHMANN Group, which is intending to purchase shares in Transdev, a leading global operator of mobility solutions based in France. Both transactions must still be approved by the rele-vant authorities.

    As an operator and global integrator of mobility solutions, Transdev – “the mobility company” – provides eleven million passenger trips every day, connecting people and places with its efficient and environmentally friendly transport services. Transdev advises and collaborates with public authorities and private sector firms providing sustainable, safe and innovative transport solutions.

    82,000 employees serve the company’s customers and passengers in 20 countries. In 2017, it generated a turnover of 6.6 billion euros. Transdev’s operations, however, not only include trains, trams and buses. People using the ferries in Sydney to get across Sydney Harbour are also Transdev’s customers. And the company’s portfolio also has cable car networks and auto-mated minibuses. With Transdev being so important for our family-run company, it makes absolute sense for the mobility group to become the RETHMANN Group’s fourth main field of business alongside REMONDIS, Rhenus and SARIA.

    This past year has been one of the driest since records began in Germany. This has, on the one hand, led to the water levels of our rivers being much lower than normal – quite possibly the lowest levels ever – causing huge problems for inland shipping companies and their customers. On the other, it has once again turned the spotlight on the subjects of climate change and resource conservation. The Vatican is also worried about “our Common Home”. Pope Francis made it clear just how worried he is when he wrote his “Laudato si’” encyclical. REMONDIS joined a number of other family business owners to attend the first Roman Forum, which was held in the Holy City and organised by the BDE [Federal Association of the German Waste Management Industry]. During the event, the participants had a moving meeting with the Holy Father who was impressed by the initiatives of these privately run businesses to promote sustainability.

    Talking about sustainability: Meyer Werft, a shipbuilding business in Papenburg, is also focusing on sustainable production activities – and on building environmentally friendly ships having recently launched its first gas-fuelled cruise ship. This traditional company is also being supported by REMONDIS. Heading for new shores together, so to speak.

    May we take this opportunity to thank you for your great support and collaboration over the last twelve months and wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and successful New Year.

    Ihr Ludger Rethmann

A particularly complex challenge

BUCHEN often find themselves working in difficult conditions when they are called out to clean their customers’ tanks and containers. Few environments, however, have been as challenging as the one they experienced just recently – an oil rig in the Arctic Ocean. BUCHEN recently carried out a project for the Russian firm Gazprom that involved it cleaning a number of storage tanks on the Prirazlomnoye oil rig, the world’s only offshore project producing oil in the Arctic Ocean.

Temperatures as low as minus 40°C

    • The Prirazlomnoye platform is located in the far north – in the Pechora Sea on the Arctic Shelf. Here, in the north west of Russia, the sea is covered in ice for seven months of the year. It goes without saying that a very special kind of rig is needed to drill oil in this environment as it has to cope with two-metre-high ice ridges, temperatures falling to minus 40°C and waves reaching ten metres high. Developed specifically for the Arctic Ocean, Prirazlomnoye is able to withstand both extreme weather conditions and maximum ice loads. This platform, which enables oil to be extracted in such a harsh environment, is one of a kind.

  • Extensive cleaning tasks

    A number of storage tanks on Prirazlomnoye had to be cleaned in both 2017 and 2018 – a case for the BUCHEN specialists. Working on behalf of their client, Gazprom Neft Shelf, they cleaned three offshore tanks used for storing drilling fluid, drilling mud and brine and able to hold up to 490m³.

    Thanks to the way the oil rig has been built, it can withstand extreme weather conditions and maximum ice loads.

    The first step involved the team removing any deposits from the tanks. Once this had been completed, they then set about cleaning the inside walls with high pressure water jets. There were two main reasons why BUCHEN had been commissioned to carry out the work: its experience (having completed similar projects for companies operating in the Russian energy sector) and its ability to pump out sediment from tanks up to 30 metres deep.

    • The Russian oil rig, Prirazlomnoye, is the world’s only offshore project producing oil in the Arctic Ocean

Working in the tightest of spaces

Offshore rigs are certainly considered to be the most difficult of all working environments when it comes to producing oil – especially when they are in the Arctic. Cleaning tanks on an oil rig is also a huge challenge. Well aware of this, BUCHEN had to first meticulously plan the project before it could send in its team. Despite Prirazlomnoye being a very large platform, there is in fact very little room available.

Safety at sea: all of the BUCHEN employees working on the project had first taken part in a special offshore course.

From a practical point of view, this not only meant that the work had to be performed in confined surroundings but also that there was only limited space available for positioning and storing the technical equipment. This equipment was supplied by BUCHEN’s Russian branch in Ufa and transported by ship to the rig where it was stored in stackable containers.

  • Special offshore qualifications

    BUCHEN initially sent in a team of twelve and later 18 operatives to carry out the work. Flown in by helicopter, the BUCHEN employees stayed in the platform’s residential module throughout the project. All of the team members had special maritime skills as well as their professional qualifications. Each and every one of them had taken part in a special offshore course beforehand that focused on safety at sea and involved both theoretical and hands-on training. Having completed the course and been presented with the relevant certificate, these BUCHEN employees can now be deployed to offshore projects all around the world. Thanks to these qualifications and the work they performed on the Prirazlomnoye platform, they have a level of expertise that is hard to match.

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