Monday, 13 July 2021 09:27

The new energy sector firms unafraid of the downturn

Predictions for future North Sea revenues are being continually slashed, and confidence in the sector is at a record low. But some companies are just setting up business. James Wyllie speaks to two of the new firms braving the industry’s challenging conditions.

The latest figures from Oil and Gas UK show that confidence in the North Sea oil and gas sector is at a record low, while the Office for Budget Responsibility and the Scottish Government have both slashed their predictions for tax revenues from the sector.

With a barrel of Brent crude oil now trading for a little over $60 – almost half of the $110 value seen in mid-2014 – approximately 10% of production is no longer profitable. Across the industry, firms are cutting jobs, cancelling projects, ceasing production and looking to start decommissioning platforms earlier in order to stop the books from straying too far into the red.

But despite these challenging conditions, a number of firms are still starting out in the industry, looking to capitalise on the gaps in the market that have opened up.

Andreas Hveding Aubert, Omega Subsea CFO, Trond Berge, Omega Subsea GM, and Alistair McKee, Omega Subsea UK Director.

One such firm is Omega Subsea UK, a subsidiary of Norwegian market leader Omega Subsea which was founded in 2012. From offices in Bergen, Stavanger and now Aberdeen, the company provides total project management and consultancy services for the oil, gas and renewables sectors.

The Scottish branch, led by Director Alistair McKee, opened its doors in June 2015, with a view to growing the firm’s global presence even further, through new customers in the UK, Europe and Africa.

The firm believes that, despite the current economic climate within the sector, there is still business to be done.

Alistair said: “We identified that while there is the obvious downturn in global business, there is a critical need for experience and competence to be maintained as this is a crucial barrier to success within industry.”

With this in mind, the firm was established with the knowledge that its offering would have to stand out from others in the industry which provide similar services in order to gain a foothold in the market.

Omega Subsea serves its clients by developing bespoke software systems called Project Information Management System, or PIMS. This comprises a collection of interlinked modules for project lifecycle management, and a tailor-made database for client resource management.

“By creating the best environment for the continued development and maintenance of competence, we strive to deliver this competence to clients and partners across a range industry sectors,” Alistair added.

“The benefits afforded to staff and consultants within the Omega Group we believe are unrivalled by our industry peers.”

Omega Subsea UK is not the only new firm entering the market at this time.

Dave Clark, Andrew Polson and John Duncan

Following an initial investment of £6million, EnerQuip was also founded in mid-2015 to provide torque machines and associated products to the drilling and downhole tools sectors.

While currently located in the Tullos area of Aberdeen, the firm is already looking to move to a larger facility in the north-east in early 2016 to support its anticipated growth. By the first half of the year, it also has plans to launch a new generation torque machine for the assembly and dismantling of downhole tools.

The firm’s managing director, Dave Clark, said: “A number of factors were behind our decision to launch EnerQuip, but the main one was to utilise the knowledge and expertise of the senior management team.”

The business has been formed by three former senior personnel of torque business, AMC Engineering. Its chairman and engineering director, Andrew Polson, sold the firm to Forum Engineering Technologies nearly four years ago.

Andrew has over 20 years’ experience in engineering and management roles within the oil and gas industry, and spent most of his career with AMC, where he assumed the position of managing director in 2005, spearheading the growth of the business from 12 employees to over 80.

In his new venture, Andrew is being joined by Dave Clark, a former AMC senior manager now taking on the role of managing director, and John Duncan, a former director who is now EnerQuip’s technical director.

Similarly to other newly-formed businesses, the team at EnerQuip has found a way to aid a key area of the industry they feel is not currently being served.

“We’ve identified a gap in the market for a torque partner that offers full support from sales and service to calibration and upgrades of torque equipment,” Dave explained.

The services EnerQuip provides span torque machine servicing and upgrades, jar tester repair and maintenance, equipment design and manufacture, calibration and software support.

In order to meet its clients’ needs, the firm also provides training and consultancy services. Additionally, it stocks spares in a range of equipment including dies, hydraulic cylinders, hoses and fitters, as part of 24/7 service support.

Dave continued: “However, the foundation of any success will be built on our high level of customer service. We’re aiming to build long-term relationships with clients by understanding their requirements and delivering services that suit their needs. Our clients rely on us to provide first-class products and services to ensure continuity across the full breadth of their operations.”

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