SCOMI Oiltools is planning to invest in the order of $20million on upgrading its Europe headquarters in Aberdeen over the next two years, with at least 50 new jobs likely as a result.
First steps have been taken with the group’s decision to buy Denmore House, at Bridge of Don, which had previously been leased long-term, plus $1.5million is being spent on upgrading its current machine-shop complex.
However, aside from scouting for a suitable location in the Aberdeen area – preferably Dyce – for creating a new Europe and Russia HQ, the big departure is that the company has decided to break into the drilling fluids market.
It is currently ploughing $2million into a 10,000 barrels capacity “mud” storage facility at Pocra Quay, Aberdeen harbour.
This will include a 350-tonnes capacity barites silo, also a 300-barrel mixing tank and a pair of 100bhp centrifugal pumps.
Site work has started; completion is scheduled for April/early-May, and 20 jobs will be generated near-term. Once the plant is up and running, Scomi intends to offer a package of integrated well fluids and drilling waste service. Associated with this is a lab that has already been established at Denmore.
According to drilling fluids manager Bruce Ewen, there is space in the market for a company such as Scomi.
Otherwise the sector is dominated by three heavyweights: MI Swaco, Baker Hughes and Halliburton subsidiary Baroid.
Ewen said the North Sea remained technically challenging and that it represented a very good market for Scomi to get into as it would send useful signals out to the wider global market.
“We have a very active drilling waste management production line and it is our intention is to integrate fluids with such services,” said Ewen.
“This way, we can offer I seamless service to our clients.
“Fluids will add 20 jobs short-term but, as the business grows, we will be adding significant numbers … upwards of 50, including offshore engineering.”
He added that Scomi’s Aberdeen operation had seen its UK revenues leap by 50% over the past 18 months, with further robust growth expected. Indeed, the objective is to double in size while also bringing all but the Pocra Quay fluids facility under one roof.
This would include the company’s out-station at Peterhead, but not Shetland, where there has lately been significant investment ($5million or so) in additional cuttings handing capacity to augment the original facility. Two additional processing units have been added – one in 2006, the other in 2007.
“We have a big commitment to the long-term security of this market and we’re confident that it will grow.”
The company recently disclosed that its best performing oilfield markets in 2007 were in Russia, the North Sea and Turkmenistan. Scomi operates out of 65 offices in 36 countries. The Kuala Lumpur-headquartered multifaceted group’s oilfield business was previously known as KMC Oiltools, but was rebranded in 2007.
A measure of its clout in East Asia is that Scomi is part of the MRCB-led consortium that is the front-runner to win the huge Penang monorail project bid in China. The winning bid announcement is expected shortly.