Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Independent Growth Finance delivers £3m facility to EPI Group - 17/01/2017

Independent Growth Finance delivers £3m facility to EPI Group

IGF, the leading commercial finance provider for SMEs, has provided a £3 million confidential invoice discounting facility to oil and gas exploration consultancy firm, EPI Group.

This facility enables EPI to implement its diversification strategy into new services alongside its continuing geographical expansion.

EPI has 30 years’ experience in delivering exploration and production consultancy services to the oil and gas industry, supporting clients with their seismic surveys, environmental projects and wellsite operations. Headquartered in the UK, it has offices in the US, Australia, Russia, France, Ghana and South America.

Through the recent acquisition of geoscience consultancy, P.D.F. Limited, EPI has further developed its scope for supporting clients’ exploration and development programmes.  This facility will therefore also provide working capital to support the anticipated growth across the newly combined organisation.

Alan Austin, ABL Director, London and South East at IGF, said: “EPI plays a vital role in the oil and gas services industry across the UK and abroad.  With clear opportunities post-acquisition, we are proud to support the firm’s future growth.”

Richard Bradley, CFO of EPI Group, said: “The fall in oil prices has put pressure on many companies across our sector, but we have continued to invest responsibly in our platform to best position the business for improving market conditions.  We are delighted to have secured this facility from IGF to provide funding for further diversification and expansion of our business.  IGF’s experience, flexibility and like-mindedness demonstrated to us that they were the right partner for EPI.”

This deal comes as the latest in a string of partnerships from Independent Growth Finance, which is rapidly increasing its reach amongst businesses across the UK.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

First Rigs to Arrive for Decommissioning in Great Yarmouth - 11/01/2017

First Rigs to Arrive for Decommissioning in Great Yarmouth

The Veolia-Peterson partnership has been awarded two platform decommissioning contracts for recycling at their facility in Great Yarmouth. With an aim of reaching 96% recycling rates the work to recycle materials and assets is expected to begin in spring 2017 when the platforms arrive onshore. 

The contracts include the onshore receipt and disposal of offshore materials and several assets for a major gas producer. The work will cover disposal options for a number of production complex platforms, and surrounding satellite platforms, located around 40 miles off the coast of Great Yarmouth. Recycling is expected to start this year and will take around four years to complete.

Recovering these platforms at the end of their operational life is essential. Now using the new facilities the valuable materials that they contain can be carefully captured and returned to industry for re-use, and where possible assets that have further operational life can be sold. This, in turn, helps boost the sustainability of the industry and becomes part of the circular economy.

Simon Davies, Decommissioning General Manager of Veolia said: “The industry has been looking for collaboration and these new contracts show collaboration in action right down the supply chain. Our partnership has worked well at a number of sites and projects over the last ten years, and we are very pleased to secure the first important contracts into Great Yarmouth.”

Ron van der Laan, Regional Director, Peterson added: “We have been working hard on this development since 2013. These contract awards are a significant milestone and step towards establishing Great Yarmouth as a centre of excellence for decommissioning in the Southern North Sea”.

Formalised in 2015 Veolia-Peterson is a joint venture that has been providing onshore decommissioning services for over 10 years. Set up to cover the full decommissioning of platforms the services include decontamination, deconstruction, waste management and environmental services together with associated integrated logistics, marine and quayside services. To date the joint venture has recovered over 80,000 tonnes of offshore materials and achieved ‘excellent’ environmental assessment ratings in the process.

Developed as part of the partnership between Peterson and Veolia, and supported by Peel Ports Great Yarmouth, Local Enterprise Partnership, Great Yarmouth Borough Council and Norfolk County Council the new decommissioning site at Great Yarmouth Outer Harbour has been selected to receive the structures. The new works will help create approximately 10 new jobs for Veolia Peterson, with further development and employment as the projects develop. The partnership’s aim is to establish Great Yarmouth as the SNS centre for decommissioning, and to further expand the facilities to meet the growing need for this type of decommissioning.

The Importance Of Oil Sampling - 11/01/2017

The Importance Of Oil Sampling

Sampling oil correctly and regularly can help highlight potential problems in off-highway vehicles before they become serious, said a technical expert from a leading lubricant manufacturer.

Andy Brown, of FUCHS LUBRICANTS, said sampling can help reduce costs by unearthing issues with a vehicle before it breaks down completely, therefore minimising downtime.

But Andy warned that oil samples must be taken correctly in order to produce the most accurate results.

FUCHS LUBRICANTS offers the CENT sampling service to its customers, producing clear, precise feedback in the form of graphs and reports along with suggestions for remedial action.

The state-of-the-art production management tool indicates wear trends, additive levels and sources of contamination.

In 2016, FUCHS carried out around 27,000 sampling reports from across all industry sectors the company is involved in. Many of those reports were for off-highway vehicles.

Andy said: “If you examine the condition of the oil through sampling, you can see problems before they escalate and become bigger issues.

“Customers send the sample to us and we look at viscosity, additive levels, wear levels, oxidation, and contaminants such as coolant ingress, dirt ingress and soot levels. All of these things can tell us the condition of the oil and the condition of the engine, gear box or hydraulic system.

“When samples are taken over a period of time, you can start to trend results and see things like bearing wear, cylinder wear, and coolant contamination. For example, if there is a lot of dirt in the oil maybe the air filter hasn’t been changed, or perhaps they’ve got a split somewhere in the air in-take system.

“It’s a powerful tool because downtime can be so costly. You can spot a problem and replace something for a nominal amount rather than leaving it and having catastrophic problems.

“Off-highway vehicles need to be ready to use when you need them otherwise you run the risk of costly downtime.”

Andy said that it is absolutely crucial that samples are taken properly.

He said: “The way sampling is done is massively important and it’s the bit that everyone gets wrong.

“I remember an occasion when a bus company was extremely concerned that their vehicles were generating excess soot out of the exhaust.

“We carried out extensive analysis on samples they gave us which confirmed their initial fears and there was a major investigation involving the engine manufacturer, the bus manufacturer and the filter manufacturers. 

“I asked the bus company how they had taken their samples and they had no idea.

“It transpired that the samples had been taken after a weekend when the buses had stood idle and were cold. The engineer had opened the sump and taken the first bit of oil that came out. This was the worst-case scenario as when oil has sat for three days, a lot of particulates will drop out and go to the bottom.

“You need to take a sample either when everything is running/circulating so nothing is dropping out, or as soon as possible after it is switched off.

In the case above, “When it was sampled properly, there was no soot in the oil so whatever had caused the problem, it was nothing to do with soot in the oil.

“It’s when and how you take the sample that is critical. The analysis side is easy but you can get completely the wrong answer if you haven’t sampled it right.”

Andy said that the sample taken needs to be representative of the rest of the oil.

Generally, this will be after it has passed through the engine but before it gets to the filter, the filter will remove contaminants.

A vampire pump can be used with a tube which is fed into the correct position.

Crucially, the same sampling technique must be used every time.

Andy added: “If you haven’t got a strategy of how to take samples and four or five people are doing it differently all the time, you’ll get the scattergun approach. One person is doing it one way, someone else a different way, sometimes in the evening, sometimes in the morning. You end up with a random set of results.

“If you’ve got a process but it’s not right, you can get some consistent results but they are actually wrong.

“Sampling is very much worth doing – and it’s worth doing right.”

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Add Energy scoops maintenance build contract with BP KLPG - 10/01/2017

Add Energy scoops maintenance build contract with BP KLPG

Add Energy, the international oil and gas upstream consultancy provider, has been awarded a contract worth £200,000 for work on BP’s Kinneil Liquid Petroleum Gas (KLPG) Chilldown Project located at its Refrigerated Liquid Petroleum Gas (RLPG) site in Grangemouth.

The contract will see Add Energy carry out the provision of a full maintenance build for the new KLPG plant. The scope of work includes an asset register validation and technical hierarchy build, equipment criticality assignments, development of maintenance strategies, procedures and job plans and a critical spares optimisation and bill of materials (BOM) development.

Peter Adam, Executive Vice President, Add Energy commented: “We are delighted to have been selected for this project by BP. As maintenance and reliability specialists, we have access to a team of 50 people who are subject matter experts in their own discipline.

“We have built a global library of maintenance strategies based on best practice and reliability data, which combined with lessons learnt from previous maintenance build contracts will support and enhance this project.  Add Energy is focused on supporting operators in getting best value for money and will continue to optimise maintenance expenditure for BP.

The RLPG plant at Grangemouth currently operates with R22, a colourless, refrigerant gas. EU legislation requires the replacement of R22 and R410a has been identified as a suitable more environmentally friendly and efficient alternative. Refrigeration is required to chill the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) to enable storage and eventual transportation by ship to market. Without refrigeration, the Forties Pipeline System would be unable to operate.

Hook-up and commissioning of the plant is now well under way with the plant expected to be operational later this year.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Seatronics announce new partnership agreement with Force Technology - 09/01/2016

Seatronics announce new partnership agreement with Force Technology

Seatronics, an Acteon company and global leaders in the rental and sale of marine electronic equipment, has formed a new partnership agreement with Force Technology, an international technological consultancy company.

The new agreement will provide Seatronics’ global customer base with access to Force Technology’s Field Gradient Sensor (FiGS) system. FiGS is a non-contact CP inspection tool, and the only tool on the market of its kind. The FiGS system offers a step change in CP integrity as it detects coating damages on exposed and buried pipelines and structures, accurately measures anode performance and helps optimise CP retrofitting. The beneficial features of the FiGS offers substantial cost savings for the client as well as reducing inspection time. 

Phil Middleton, Group Managing Director, Seatronics, said: “We are delighted to have partnered with Force Technology and the FiGS system is a product which we are genuinely excited about.

“Seatronics has always been synonymous with the latest innovative technology and we are actively developing our portfolio of equipment, which can assist our clients in assessing the long term integrity of their assets. We feel the FiGS system is unmatched in this respect and look forward to working with Leiv and his team”.

Leiv Laate, Vice President, Force Technology, added: “We are happy to partner up with Seatronics, a leading player in the market, and we look forward to fruitful co-operation for years to come”

The FiGS system will be available for rental throughout Seatronics’ global bases in Aberdeen, Houston, Singapore and Abu Dhabi. 

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

ACE Winches celebrates a five star grading in the British Safety Council’s Five Star Occupational Health and Safety Audit - 04/01/2016

ACE Winches celebrates a five star grading in the British Safety Council’s Five Star Occupational Health and Safety Audit

ACE Winches is pleased to announce it has achieved a five star grading from its Five Star Occupational Health and Safety Audit conducted by the British Safety Council. ACE Winches underwent a detailed, quantified and objective evaluation of our occupational health and safety management system.

The audit measured our performance against a number of key safety management indicators and achieved the highest rating.

The British Safety Council’s Five Star Occupational Health and Safety Audit provides organisations with a worldwide benchmark of their safety management systems against current best practice to enable continual improvement. The Audit specification was revised in 2013 to include performance measurements in two additional safety management indicators (Leadership and Continuous Improvement) which are continually assessed, alongside other indicators, throughout the audit process.

Within the revised audit, the British Safety Council has placed a greater emphasis on the organisation’s approach to occupational health, employee wellbeing, safety culture, allocation of resources to health and safety and planning for change; all of which are considered important best practice factors.

Richard Wilson, Chief Operations Officer at ACE Winches said: “We're delighted to receive the accolade, which reflects our dedication to the health and safety of our staff and clients, it is a testimony to how we use ACE Focus to inspire our people to continuously improve in key areas of the business.  This award helps us to demonstrate to staff and customers our commitment to achieving and delivering world-class standards.”

He continued: “HSEQ is a one of the company’s core values and forms an integral part of our business strategy. HSEQ is paramount at ACE Winches and is at the heart of our business objectives.”