For many, the North Sea represents a rather grey, cold, and turbulent expanse of water separating the UK from north-east Europe.
However, for suppliers of bentonite, barytes, and certain other minerals, the North Sea represents a primary market centre - drilling materials for oil and gas exploration.
As of early February 2012, according to Rigzone, there were a total of 97 rigs active in drilling in the North Sea, and at that time the region led the worlds main drilling zones in rig utilisation, at 87.8% (for comparison, the Gulf of Mexico was 78.9%).
Oil companies are constantly drilling to map concessions, evaluate reserves, develop wells, and plan production.
In the mineral logistics chain for this market, specific mineral distributors act as the link between drilling mineral producers and their intermediate end market consumer, the drilling fluid manufacturers.
One example is Cebo International BV, based in...