International oil service firm Vertech is planning rapid growth at its new Aberdeen office in the next five years, with the aim of achieving £40million annual turnover from the base.
The Granite City arm of the Australian company is only a few months old, yet is already experiencing success in its targeted inspection, maintenance and construction markets.
Its growth plans were revealed yesterday by UK managing director John Marsden as millions of pounds worth of new equipment for the business arrived in Aberdeen.
Earlier this year, Aberdeen and Inverness-based parent Global Energy Group (GEG) announced Vertech was expanding to the north-east to focus on opportunities in the North Sea.
Vertech’s worldwide workforce has now grown to nearly 300 staff and contractors, with around 60 of them in Aberdeen.
The Granite City operation delivers an integrated service using divers for subsea work and rope-access technicians for topside activities. It also supplies drones for aerial inspections of installations, plus micro-sized remotely operated vehicles for subsea work.
Mr Marsden said: “GEG put a lot of advance planning and money into the launch of Vertech in Aberdeen and that investment is paying off.
“We have got off to a good start and are already winning North Sea work. We are working on our first rope-access projects and expect to announce our first diving contract soon.
“Vertech has also been growing in the southern hemisphere, with three sites in Australia, one in New Zealand and plans to expand in Asia.
“We are aiming to replicate that success from here by targeting areas including the North Sea, Africa and Gulf of Mexico.”
Two new dive systems and a diving vessel worth around £5million in total have just been delivered, while about £250,000 has been invested in rope-access equipment. Further investment to aid growth is expected in the year ahead.
Mr Marsden said Vertech’s integrated service for the “splash zone” – the area immediately above and below the water level – on offshore installations was proving attractive to operators looking to find better ways of executing projects.
He added: “They are taking a very close look at anything innovative in the current tough North Sea environment, and that is benefiting us.
“We have an advantage over competitors who don’t offer divers and rope-access technicians together in one package.”
The new dive systems and vessel were purchased from Aberdeen-based Unique System (UK).
Mr Marsden is particularly proud of the vessel, the Vaila, which is nearly 50ft long and specially designed for air diving activity. It is to be based in the north-east but can be deployed anywhere around the world.