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Offshore Vessels Bourbon Sets the Pace Offshore MR recently met with Jacques de Chateauvieux, president and CEO of Bourbon, to discuss the company's $1.8 billion investment program in modern offshore vessels. -- by Greg Trauthwein Jacques de Chateauvieux would make an ideal dinner guest, particularly if you happen to be a shipbuilder. The leader of France's Bourbon is eloquent yet straight talking; complex in thought yet simple in statement. He is leading Bourbon's charge to the top of the offshore vessel pack, backing sincere claims to build the world's largest fleet of modern, efficient, effective and safe offshore vessels with cash: an estimated $1.8 billion invested in new vessels in the coming four years and a mandate to add 3,000 new employees at the same time. If timing is everything, than Bourbon would seemingly have it all. Less than six years ago the price for a barrel of crude hovered in the mid-teens, and companies that supplied vessels for the offshore oil and gas production saw utilization and day rates plummet in step. At the time, the promise of deepwater discovery and recovery was still effectively on the drawing boards, as subdued product prices did not warrant the higher costs inherent in E&P ventures in deeper waters. With the mid-1980s oil collapse still fresh in many minds, it was not a time of great investment in modern offshore vessels. Bourbon saw things differently. According to de Chateauvieux, one of Bourbon's strengths is the anticipation of market needs, and the decision was made to start planning and building (Copyright: BOURBON, Tony Hall) 38 (Copyright: BOURBON, Tony Hall) Maritime Reporter & Engineering News