Sigma Offshore has secured a US patent for its smart mooring system (SMS) as a prelude to a major push for international growth.
Aberdeen-based Sigma, which has invested more than £4million to date developing a mooring and fluid transfer system for oil and gas production vessels, has developed its SMS to be a cost-efficient and timesaving solution for floating production and other vessels which require both mooring and to perform fluid loading and unloading in medium to deep water.
The company expects to secure Canadian, European and Chinese patents for its offshore vessel mooring and riser inboarding system in the next three months, while patents in other targeted areas, such as India, are thought likely to be secured by the end of the year.
The company believes the system, which largely uses proven technology in a more efficient way, could save clients up to 30% on installed cost. Earlier this year Sigma received £4million of further investment from global oil and gas services company National Oilwell Varco, Scottish Enterprise’s Scottish Venture Fund and venture capital firm, Energy Ventures.
Alistair Dornan, president and chief executive of Sigma, said: “The patent demonstrates the uniqueness of our SMS.
“Securing patents is a painstaking but essential process. It is a step that has to be taken to protect our business and its intellectual property. We’re delivering a cost-efficient product in a high-cost sector and it’s that technology that singles us out from our competitors.”
Sigma is looking to win business in the North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, South America, West Africa, North Africa and south-east Asia and predicts more than 140 jobs could be created should the business hit its targets. The company has a payroll of 20.
A bespoke SMS can cost from £10-30million or more depending on the complexity and location of the project, while competitive mooring systems can cost £25-50million.
Sigma’s chief technology officer David Galbraith said: “The patent is testimony to years of hard work by the Sigma team which has included in-house research, development backed up by extensive wave-tank testing undertaken for us by the Danish Hydraulic Institute and liaison with Det Norske Veritas in Oslo as part of the approval process.”
As well as mooring and riser solutions, Sigma delivers well-testing systems, floating production export solutions, subsea design, deepwater solutions, consultancy services and project management.