How collaboration is moving the UKCS forward
The supply chain in the UK is indeed flourishing, as Bob Keiler, CEO of Wood Group, international energy services company with over USD 7 billion in sales, attests: “The North Sea is still a location where good business can be done and will continue to contain opportunities for a long time.”
Denis Jul Pedersen, COO of GMS, the largest global provider of self-propeled, self-elevating accommodation jack-up barges, describes how Aberdeen has allowed GMS access to the UKCS market: “every service you can dream of, you can find in Aberdeen: if you are working on improving safety, for example, you can find the relevant analysts, consultants and experts here.”
Pedersen explains the crucial link between decommissioning and maintenance for the supply chain, stating, “Decommissioning doesn’t operate on a fixed schedule and comes largely down to costs. Frequently, it costs less money in the short-term for an operator to maintain a mothballed asset than to decommission it.” Either way, it is the engineering and equipment companies in the North Sea that will deal with the decommissioning or ongoing maintenance of the assets.
This interconnected supply chain really delivers value in the North Sea, be it toward the end of a project’s life or starting a new one: the skills and abilities inherent to this area present opportunities to reduce high operating costs and diminish risk. Without the technological capabilities of companies in this area, many of the smaller volumes of oil in this aged basin would go ignored.
The glut of companies attracted here from all over the globe adds further to the complexity and abilities of the supply chain in the UKCS. The supply chain here is globally connected; of its full GBP 35 billion (USD 59.38 billion) value in 2012, according to OGUK and EY, 42 percent of this value was derived from exports.
Rory Deans, CEO of Sentinel Marine a company running ERRVs (emergency rescue and response vessels) details the international appetite for North Sea Skills: “the prevalence of North Sea skills globally is incredible. There is frequently someone from Aberdeen working for a logistics or drilling company regardless of where that company is operating globally. They are used to the high standards in the North Sea and they are often eager to bring these quality operating practices around the world.” He comments on the implications for Sentinel Marine itself: “ERRVs tend to be unique to the North Sea but Sentinel is confident that this manner of working could have a wider role out of the North Sea.”
Companies in the North Sea often drive forward excellence by specializing. CRC Offshore handles offshore welding, inspections and coating. “CRC Evans is an incredibly innovative company,” says Adam Wynne Hughes, president of CRC Evans Offshore, a company providing equipment for offshore pipeline construction. He expands: “The automatic welding systems the business has developed are leading technologies.”
“A desire for our offshore equipment is to see it smaller and more nimble- more like a formula one car, compared to our onshore equipment which is often much more substantial. Onshore pipelines are often built as the equipment moves and the pipe remains fixed in place, whilst offshore the pipeline will be fed out from a fixed spool base or vessel.”
Hughes explains that companies can then pair these specialisms with expertise from other businesses, emphasizing how CRC Evan’s partnership with Subsea 7 has furthered their mutual interests: “Technical teams have reciprocal visits to support each other’s operations. Our business has also invested significantly to both improve customer experiences and to add to our abilities with regard to pipeline coating- we believe this will better support a broad spread of our customers.”