NANA buys Gulf oil service company based in Louisiana

Mike Dunham

An Alaska Native corporation has taken a major step in diversifying its presence in the oil industry outside Alaska. NANA Development Corp. announced Monday that it has purchased Grand Isle Shipyard Inc., headquartered in Galliano, La.

The Louisiana company provides both onshore and offshore support to the oil sector with a particularly strong presence providing maintenance and repair services to 700 offshore petroleum platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

NANA Development's enterprises, which range from telecommunications to hospitality, include providing similar services to onshore facilities in Alaska.

"From NANA's perspective, this is a huge step forward," said NANA Development's president, Helvi Sandvik.

NANA Development has been involved with onshore oil sites in Alaska for 35 years. The acquisition will add offshore expertise and connections, Sandvik said. She also noted that it will expand the corporation's base of potential customers because the Louisiana firm has relationships with companies that do little or no business in Alaska.

"We've been looking at the Gulf states for the past two years," Sandvik said. When the chance came to purchase Grand Isle, "it was a good fit."

Serious negotiations were started in January, she said.

In a written statement, NANA Development's chairman, Luke Sampson, praised Grand Isle's "outstanding history of delivering oil industry services both onshore and offshore, with an incredibly strong presence across the Gulf states."

For NANA Development, which already has operations in all 50 states and several foreign countries, adding Gulf oil services to its roster of subsidiary companies is a way to ensure stability in an uncertain business climate.

"Right now, frankly, the oil industry in Alaska is down," Sandvik said.

The petroleum sector is expected to expand in the Gulf, however, and not just because of new exploration and drilling. In the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf last year, which poured more than 200 million gallons of crude into the water, according to congressional reports, demand is expected to grow for the kind of safety and maintenance services Grand Isle specializes in.

Sandvik also noted that the purchase "positions NANA to continue to make meaningful contributions in the communities where we do business employing residents and expanding economic opportunities across the country."

She declined to say how much was paid for the Louisiana company. She did say that NANA Development anticipates revenues of $1.8 billion this year and that Grand Isle has annual revenues of about $200 million.

Reach Mike Dunham at or 257-4332.