When Georg Vedeler was appointed DNV’s managing director in 1951, he introduced a more scientific approach to ship construction. His vision was to build safer ships in a more efficient way, using scientific competencies and skills. New rules based on an analytical and theoretical scientific approach were introduced, and a significant step was taken towards establishing a dedicated research department. This provided opportunities for DNV in the more demanding segments of shipbuilding, which initially involved the new super tankers and later extended to gas and chemical tankers. The fleet was still predominantly Norwegian, but internationalization was taking off.
GL also took a scientific approach in developing the organization after WWII. This led to the introduction of high-powered computer analysis, enabling the design and construction of larger and more modern ships. GL’s research investments resulted in new construction rules for container ships, and the company soon dominated this segment within international shipping.
North Sea oil boom
DNV was well prepared in terms of competence and impact when commercial oil was discovered in the North Sea. The firm came to play an important role in this new industry within Norway as an advisor for both authorities and oil companies. DNV used its experience and technological competence within the maritime industry to develop and introduce oil and gas verification, inspection and risk management services.
The world’s first pipeline rules were published by DNV in 1976, setting a global standard. From the early 1970’s, DNV was offered most of the building supervision and inspection assignments on the Norwegian continental shelf. Offshore floating rigs and supply vessels also became a strong new segment for DNV in traditional ship classification.
Offshore technology also became an important field of activity for GL at the start of the 1970s, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Research and Technology. Many other offshore technology projects followed, but unlike DNV, GL lacked the support of a strong home market in this segment.
In 1977, wind energy was introduced as a new business segment. For both GL and DNV, this and other climate-friendly service areas represented new opportunities for organizational growth from a strong, research-driven technology base. New rules were developed, and certification of land-based and offshore windmills became an important growth area for DNV. Despite periods of setbacks and declines in shipping and oil, both DNV and GL were able to focus on growth and internationalization as the twentieth century came to a close.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s the new industry of management system certification based on ISO-standards emerged, and both DNV and GL took global positions in the expanding TIC industry.
Age of alliances
Alliances, mergers, and acquisitions became a strong strategic driver for both GL and DNV. The acquisitions of Advantica (UK) in 2008 and Trident (Malaysia) in 2009 broadened GL’s service scope to consultancy services in the oil and gas sectors. The merger with Noble Denton in 2009 further expanded its activities in offshore technical services. This was supported by the acquisitions of PVI (Canada) in 2007, MCS (US) in 2008 and IRS (Singapore) in 2009, which advanced the inspection business.
In 2009, GL acquired the world’s largest wind energy consultancy, UK based Garrad Hassan. GL had already acquired the Canadian wind energy consulting and engineering company Hélimax and the German company WINDTEST, which are experts on measurements for wind turbines and wind farms. This, coupled with the offshore wind expertise of Noble Denton, meant that GL was able to deliver a full service approach with a comprehensive service portfolio towards the wind energy sector.
In 2005, DNV acquired CCT (US), a specialist in corrosion control and pipeline and plant integrity analysis. It followed up with the acquisitions of Global Energy Concepts (US) in 2008 and US-based Behnke, Erdman and Whitaker (BEW) in 2010. To support prevailing strategies within the new climate-friendly service fields, DNV established its Sustainability Centre in Beijing in 2009 and a Clean Technology Centre in Singapore in 2010.
Safer, smarter, greener
Strategically adapting to the challenges of climate change, and following the development of the Kyoto Protocol agreement, DNV was accredited by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change for its clean development mechanism (CDM) in 2005. By 2006, DNV had approximately 50 per cent of the global market for emission reductions verification.
In 2012, DNV and KEMA joined forces to create a world-leading consulting, testing and certification company for the global energy sector. KEMA was established by the Dutch electrical power industry in 1927, and had subsequently developed into a high profile international brand that provided services to the global energy sector. These included renewable energy, carbon reduction and energy efficiency, power generation, transmission and distribution. The company operated a number of state-of-the-art laboratories, including high-power and high voltage labs, one of which was extended in 2017 to become the world’s first facility capable of testing ultra-high voltage electrical grid components.
The DNV GL Group became operational on September 12, 2013 after the merger of DNV and GL. It followed a long courtship which included numerous relationship-building advances and discussions about co-operation and mergers in 1986, 2000 and again in 2006. Changes in ownership and strategic alignment between the two companies and their leadership provided new opportunities and finally led to a successful merger. The DNV GL Group today operates in over 100 countries.
Today DNV GL is a globally leading quality assurance and risk management company. With 100,000 customers across the maritime, oil and gas, energy, food and healthcare industries, as well as a range of other sectors, DNV GL helps companies to become safer, smarter and greener.