Oilfield technology specialist isol8 has opened a new £150,000 manufacturing base in Aberdeen, with plans to add dozens of jobs to its headcount.
Headquartered in Altens, Aberdeen, isol8 designs and builds the world’s first bonded alloy barriers, which are used to seal oil and gas wells.
The company’s Fusion barriers are formed by melting an alloy with exothermic heat to form a seal at a chosen depth within a well, using heat generated by the company’s proprietary thermite devices.
It says the technology represents “a step change” in downhole sealing, by offering the highest shear-bond strength, greatest radial expansion capability and longest life expectancy of sealing techniques.
isol8 has invested more than £150,000 in a new manufacturing facility to produce its thermite modules, housed within its Aberdeen headquarters, as it scales up to meet international demand.
Dubbed the ‘AlFe Bunker’, all equipment and materials in the facility’s interior – including dust extraction and lighting – are Atex Zone 22 compliant, having been tested and approved for safe use in hazardous and explosive atmospheres.
The new facility was officially opened on 19 April by Net Zero Technology Centre chief executive Colette Cohen, during a visit to the company’s Aberdeen site.
Chief executive Andrew Louden explained that modules had previously been produced at the company’s R&D facility just outside of Seattle, US, but that the new investment would streamline the production process for UK clients.
“We are extremely pleased, thanks to funding from both the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise, to now be in a position to manufacture within our Aberdeen facility, which will bring significant cost and time savings for UKCS clients,” he said.
“Going forward, our US team will be solely focused on research and development into new solutions we can add to our growing product portfolio.”
Ms Cohen commented: “The Net Zero Technology Centre has supported the development of isol8’s zero emission barrier technology since 2019 and I’m delighted to see them take the next step in their growth journey. Bringing production capability back home, with the opening of their manufacturing facility in Aberdeen shows real commitment to helping the north-east prosper and is testament to the region’s skill set.”
isol8 qualified its first barrier in August 2020, and the first commercial Fusion barrier was successfully deployed, set and tested offshore in the North Sea in October 2020.
Mr Louden expressed the company’s gratitude to the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and the Net Zero Technology Centre for their financial support during their start-up phase.
Last year the company also secured £3.5m in investment from British Growth Fund (BGF).
The company is now looking to scale up to address “significant international demand” for the technology. Indeed, this has already seen the company increase its headcount by 30%, and it expects to recruit a further 20-30 staff over the next 12-24 months.
Its operations team is currently preparing tools for upcoming activity in Holland, Denmark and the UK, in addition to dealing with numerous enquiries from operators all around the globe.