An Aberdeenshire oilfield chemistry firm is hailing the start of a new era as one of the pioneers of the market hands over the reins to his son.
Jim Murray started up Inverurie-based Alchemy Oilfield Services 15 years ago, after “inventing” the gels market for the cleaning and treating of pipelines.
After 50 years in the industry, Mr Murray is taking a step back and his son Duncan, a 23-year veteran of global recruitment firm Orion Group, has acquired the business and become managing director.
It comes as Alchemy predicts turnover of £1million in 2020 with aim to go as far as to triple that figure in years ahead as it breaks into new markets.
The firm which has always attracted work through word of mouth via Murray Snr’s “old boys’ network” rather than marketing, is now planning a push to “get in front” of more clients.
Oil and gas remains Alchemy’s core business but it is now also seeking to drum up work in the nuclear and the water supply industry.
Mr Murray Jr said: “We’ll turn over £1million this year which is the best year we’ve had for the last three or four years.
“Since the downturn it has come back up. Alchemy did pretty well through that period because, even though there was the downturn, there was continual maintenance.
“Just in this last year we’ve had a couple of large projects we’ve been working on and this year now as well we’ve got some really large opportunities in Australia.
“If they come off they will triple the turnover of the company.”
Alchemy hopes to start off by doubling turnover within the next two years, gradually expanding from its current team of five employees.
Murray Jnr added: “The biggest problem we have is people don’t know we’re out there. Once they know we’re there they use our stuff and they think it’s brilliant.
“They always come back for more so we just need to get it in front of more people.”
Around 80% of Alchemy’s business currently comes from its core North Sea market.
The younger Murray has been working as the IT and Communications director at Orion for the last 23 years and has also been heading up their completions and commissioning software arm, OCCMS.
As Murray Snr approaches 70 this year, he was seeking to reduce his time with the business which led to his son deciding to take on a new challenge and acquire it.
However, that won’t keep the older Murray, a chemistry graduate who worked at Foresterhill hospital before entering oil and gas, away from lending a hand at Alchemy as director of chemistry.
Murray Jnr added: “He pretty much invented the gel market for oil and gas, for what we do, about 30 years ago.
“He’s a workaholic so he’s keeping his hand in, but he doesn’t have to be there to do the 9-5 and all the paperwork, that kind of stuff.
“He still likes going to see his favourite clients, he still likes solving problems with chemistry so he gets a bit more time in the lab.
“Plus he’s getting three days a week at home so it is the best of both worlds.”