Offshore engineering firm Aquaterra Energy is targeting the decommissioning market as it continues to rebuild its Aberdeen team.
Managing director James Larnder said international expansion was also on the cards.
The company, like most others serving the UK oil and gas industry, reduced headcount at its Norwich headquarters and also its office in Aberdeen during the North Sea downturn.
But numbers have grown substantially over the past year, with the small Granite City team alone having expanded by 150%.
Mr Larnder said: “We’ve been putting in a lot of strategic building blocks.
“Our total headcount (currently about 120) is up by one third since last year and we have big plans that will see that increase again.”
Aquaterra has just opened an office in Perth, Australia, adding to an existing international presence in Norway and Egypt.
More than one third of the firm’s projects are run from the Granite City office, on Albyn Terrace, which Mr Larnder said continued to be “incredibly important” to the company.
He added: “It makes sense for us to have more people on the ground in Aberdeen, where we already have a lot of expertise and skills.”
The firm expects to add another six to 10 more people in the north-east, more than doubling the headcount, while it is also recruiting in Australia.
Group turnover more than doubled to just under £16 million in 2018, and Mr Larnder said the figures for 2019 would show another big jump after the company’s project pipeline improved “dramatically”.
The firm made a strategic decision a few years ago to focus on oil and gas, rather than go after business in the renewable energy sector, and it now has more North Sea decommissioning work firmly in its sights.
Mr Larnder said: “It’s an area we have been working in for many years, supplying standard services.
“What we are looking to do now is to make a more formal offer to the late-life and decommissioning market.”
Aquaterra’s majority shareholder is Norway-based investor EV Private Equity, which took an undisclosed stake in the business in 2017.
The deal was believed to be in line with EV’s strategy to invest between £7.7m and about £30m per company.