North Sea energy firms are continuing efforts to break into new, global markets as the collapse in oil prices takes its toll on the supply chain.
Firms like Aberdeen-based Reftrade UK, which specialises in providing refrigeration containers in harsh environments, is looking to the pharmaceuticals industry.
Meanwhile, Enermech, a mechanical engineering group which has its headquarters in Aberdeen, has invested £250,000 to offer a mobile valves testing service in South Africa which takes in sectors as diverse as brewing and the pulp and paper industry.
Based in Westhill, Reftrade UK has seen record growth this year within the rental market for its fleet of refrigerated containers and temperature controlled units.
It said rental sales have increased 33% from July 2014 to July 2015, despite the effects of the oil price crash.
Established in the north-east in 2008 as Abcool, the firm became part of a wider group when is was acquired by the Dutch Reftrade Group three years ago.
The company’s Aberdeen location has allowed for rapid and efficient dispatch of its refrigeration containers to clients operating in the North Sea, but new markets beckon.
The firm’s parent company has also been working with a number of pharmaceutical companies within Europe, and its UK arm has recently secured its first job with a British-based pharma company which its hopes to carry though to further business.
Greg Spence, managing director of Reftrade UK said: “We are particularly pleased with the success and growth we have had in the rental market this year given the difficulties facing the oil and gas industry.
“With a focus on quality and reliability, our product range has been developed to withstand the harshest environments which has been proven time and time again through servicing North Sea and Arctic insulations for over 15 years.
“The success we have had this year has presented new opportunities for diversification into new markets such as the pharmaceutical industry.
“Reftrade is already well positioned within these markets throughout Europe and we hope to do the same here in the UK.
“Our existing capabilities and position are a perfect fit for these markets, and it is the next step for phased growth for the company.”
Meanwhile EnerMech, which employs 2,400 worldwide, has invested £250,000 to provide a door-to-door valves service for South Africa’s industrial services and energy industries with two mobile valves testing rigs.
The investment in the rigs has proved highly popular with client companies, which under South African law require safety valves to be recertified every one to three years.
EnerMech Valves General Manager in Africa, Stephen David, said: “There are lots of exciting opportunities and quite a bit of this lies outside the traditional oil and gas sectors in which EnerMech operates.
“In addition to the mainstream heavy industries, we are working in sectors as diverse as brewing and pulp and paper, and I can see our wider offering, including recent introduction of industrial services in the region, being of widespread appeal with those varied businesses.”
UK-headquartered EnerMech has more than 100 staff based in Africa and operations in South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria and Angola.
It has invested more than £4million in establishing a local presence in each country and developing the infrastructure to deliver a fast response service for each of its seven business lines.