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Interview

with John Welsh, Regional Director – UK Offshore, Cape Industrial Services

24.09.2008 / Energyboardroom

As the leading international provider of essential industrial services to the energy and natural resources sectors, what role do Cape’s North Sea operations play within Cape’s global business?

Cape’s offshore business in the North Sea represents approximately 20% of the total annual turnover for Cape, so North Sea offshore operations are very significant to the business.
Our work in the North Sea offshore industry has enabled us to further enhance our solutions for working on mature sites, many of which have limited accommodation space. In order to offer enhanced services to our clients, we have worked to develop the best multi-skilled teams in the industry. Our ability to bundle more services together under one contract arrangement means that one highly-skilled person is now able to do a job that previously would have taken a number of men.

Cape has expanded its offering within the oil and gas industry significantly over the years and now has a diverse portfolio of services. How would you define Cape’s positioning within the value chain and what is the rationale behind this diversification?

Our main expertise is in fabric maintenance and deck operations support. These two segments encompass delivering in excess of 56 different services, including scaffolding, painting, insulation, fireproofing and helicopter landing. We utilise our expertise in these areas to work in partnership with our clients and deliver the most innovative and effective solutions to benefit their business.
Historically Cape’s primary offerings were that of insulation and scaffolding. However, over the years our services have evolved to meet the needs of our clients. This evolution has been driven by our strategy of continuous development.
Standing still isn’t an option for Cape and we are constantly looking to further enhance our skills portfolio and capabilities through training and shared knowledge. We are presently developing our teams in order to offer our clients increased rope access and inspection services.

To what extent has the recent increase in UKCS offshore activity had an impact on Cape’s business?

Cape’s offshore revenue has doubled in size over the last 5 years. This is due to both the organic growth of the Company with existing customers and our ability to attract new clients due to our innovative approach.

The North Sea offshore business has always been a centre of excellence in terms of offshore services for the oil and gas industry. To what extent do Cape’s UK offshore operations support global offshore operations?

Cape’s experience of offering multidisciplinary services in the North Sea has enabled our business, and indeed industry, to learn from our best working practices. For instance, we are now handling operations in the Philippines which are multidisciplinary, and this shared knowledge from our North Sea operations has been invaluable in achieving this objective.
Shared working practices extend across all areas of our business, from technology through to innovation and best practice in health and safety. The entire Cape operations portfolio has in some way benefited from the experience and excellence of our North Sea offshore operations.

What type of companies make up Cape’s core client base in the UKCS?

Our clients include some of the most well known and respected in the sector, including Shell, BP, British Gas, Perenco, Mobil, Tullow, Canadian Natural Resources (CNR) and other large engineering market leaders. We have an unparallel reputation for delivering intelligent and innovative solutions to even the most complex challenges, offering our clients the most value to their business at all times.

What will be the main drivers of growth for Cape towards the future?

Over the last five years we have been focusing on gaining market share and diversifying our services. Our solutions are designed to enhance our clients business, and one way in which we have achieved this is by introducing increased fabric maintenance services.
Our business is built on our ability to build long-term relationships with our clients. In order to achieve this we are continually developing our services and solutions to stay ahead of competition and lead in best practice for the industry. Our innovations come from our highly-skilled people, and we continue to attract and retain the best talent in the industry.

How are Cape attracting and retaining the best talent during this competitive time?

Cape offers a career with a global market leader, renowned for delivering the most innovative solutions and services in the industry. We pride ourselves on being an employer of choice and have established training centres across our regions in order to train the next generation of employees. All of our people have a structured development plan to enable them to grow within the business, and through doing so, we look to have succession plans in place so that our people can see real scope for progression.
Our drive for innovation extends to the way in which we interact with our people. We have improved our internal communications strategy by sending materials direct to employees’ homes and encouraging mutual feedback through our newly formed Innovations Committee. We are focused on ensuring that all of our people feel a valued part of the business.
Globally our 13,000 employees have the opportunity to train and learn from the best in the industry, travel and work across the 23 countries in which we operate, and benefit from a culture which facilitates excellence.

How would you say Cape is perceived in the current market?

Our business is driven by our core values of being safe, reliable and intelligent. What this means in real terms is that while our competition may offer a traditional solution to a problem, our instinctive preference is to look beyond the problem to offer a value enhancing solution. Our reputation for excellence in the market is built on this innovative approach.

From a personal perspective, what is the most motivating aspect about your long career within Cape?

There have been many challenges in my career of over 30 years with Cape. As a company we have evolved due to our ability to diversify and attract new clients. Our strategy for development has always been led by our drive to recruit the best people and deliver an unrivalled service to our clients. Cape’s commitment to leading on best practice has enabled me to work on many varied and complex projects throughout my career.

What is your final message to the readers of Oil & Gas Financial Journal?

The oil and gas industry is a great place to work and offers challenges and opportunities in abundance. At Cape we have always focused on recruiting the best and so I have had the pleasure of working with some of the most skilled and talented people in the sector.
As an industry, I would say that moving forward we must ensure we continue to recruit and retain the best people. I would suggest that this be achieved through joint promotion of our industry as one which leads in terms of innovation, training and best practice, and which offers a long and varied career with unlimited possibilities.

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