Aberdeen-headquartered subsea project management and engineering company CSL has opened in London and is planning to set up satellites in Houston and Stavanger, most likely before the end of 2008.
The idea of London is to capture more of the UK independents marketplace, tap the reservoir of skilled engineers to be found in the English south-east and provide a better gateway to highly specific target markets such as Paris, which is home to energy major Total, subsea contracting heavyweight Technip and a cadre of other significant brands active in markets such as West Africa.
In terms of existing clients, by having a London office, CSL’s managing director, Mark Gillespie, hopes this will facilitate relationships with the likes of Centrica, Antrim Energy, Granby Oil & Gas, BG Group and Nexen, all of which have become clients over the past couple of years.
“We’re starting London with three guys, but that is set to grow rapidly, depending on the projects that come in,” said Gillespie.
“One of the key things about London is that we have a number of guys who come from there and want to go back there to work.”
There are more than 50 exploration and production companies concentrated in the UK capital, largely because that is where the big investment houses are located and because many oil juniors are listed on the London Stock Exchange AIM board. While there are, indeed, engineers in some number to harvest, Gillespie’s view is that the engineering and project management capability, per se, is limited in the south-east of England. Moreover, CSL is, in essence, following other Aberdeen engineering names such as Genesis, Xodus and AGR by setting up in London.
On internationalisation, Gillespie told Energy that, having made the North Sea its primary focus until now, it was time to hit the international stage. Indeed, CSL is now active in locations such as Egypt and Libya, supporting key clients.
“We’ll continue to grow what we’re doing here in the UK. But the good thing about going to London is that London can tap into Paris … we have a number of guys working there and that will help pull us towards West Africa as well.”
On Houston, Gillespie said the company would only make its move once a picture of market possibilities had been built.
“We’re doing the research … how we want to position ourselves … identifying the client base. CSL’s model does fit with that market. It’s a case of going in and picking the right clients.”
Founded in 2000, CSL employs more than 190 subsea specialists and was acquired by Norwegian offshore shipping group DOF in 2007.