A north-east entrepreneur has set his sights on commercialising oilfield technology developed primarily in Aberdeen after it passed field trials in Nigeria.
Yerasimos Angelis, who founded Granite City firm GA R&D in 2010, said he was forced to look overseas when operators and suppliers proved too risk-averse to test his well intervention tool in the UK North Sea.
Two trials were arranged with the help of Future Oilfield Services (FOS), of Lagos and carried out by London-listed Seplat Petroleum Development in May, two months later than planned due to the pandemic.
Itse Okoro, technical business development manager with FOS, said GA R&D’s “U-Line roller” surpassed all expectations, reaching depths normally possible only with more expensive “downhole tractors”.
Mr Angelis said the trials were key to fully commercialising the device and “further product lines on which the IP can be developed in the UKCS (UK continental shelf) and other global markets”.
Buoyed by the outcome, he believes his roller can generate £5 million over the next three years.
A total of £250,000 was invested in developing the “downhole roller”, with most of the cash coming from director loans, revenue from consultancy work and a Scottish Enterprise grant.
A roller is a type of conveyance tool central to all downhole well intervention operations.
The U-Line roller developed by GA R&D, based in Balmoral Business Park, is simpler, safer and easier to service than anything else on the market, Mr Angelis claimed. Its modular wheel sets and “Formula 1 type design characteristics” vastly reduce rig time, downtime, inventory and logistics costs, he said.
Mr Angelis moved to Aberdeen from Greece in 2000 to study engineering at Robert Gordon University and has lived in the Granite City ever since.
When designing the tool, he drew inspiration from his family’s heritage in the automotive industry. His father Georgios’ business was the sole manufacturing contractor for Volvo in Greece from 1976 to 2006.
Mr Angelis started working for the firm as an apprentice during school holidays and carried on after academy before leaving for Aberdeen.
He is now married to an Aberdonian and has three children, while his father is chairman of GA R&D.