March 19 - Wilhelmsen Ships Services (WSS) is expanding it network of supply points across Asia in response to an increasing level of oil and gas exploration and production in the region.

The first new WSS supply point opened in Songkhla, Thailand during January 2014. New supply sites are under consideration in: Kemaman, Malaysia; Balikpapan, Indonesia; and in Myanmar.

These regions have been identified by WSS as markets with strong growth potential, with marginal and deepwater fields continuing to drive the investment in upstream assets.

Joe Peng, offshore account manager Asia-Pacific, WSS said: "This is a complex market with a diverse customer base, ranging from oilfield operators, drilling contractors, production operators to offshore support companies.

"Close engagement over the past 12 months enables us to understand their challenges of operating in such a diverse and often remote geographical location. Their top three concerns are safety, logistics issues and reliability, subjects where WSS can bring value and vast knowledge."

WSS also highlighted that increased spending on exploration and production globally is also driving newbuilding orders at shipyards in China, South Korea and Singapore, replacing an ageing fleet with higher specification assets. Therefore, WSS has adjusted its customer offering to reflect these changes.