07 August 2014
Success out of pressure
Thanks to an industry shift from ‘ditch and replace’ to ‘monitor and maintain’, there has been huge growth in the testing and repair work of Scotvalve Services.
Scotvalve Services, part of the Petrofac Group, specialises in the testing, repair and recertification of valves and pressure control equipment. This vitally important work takes place at the company’s new purpose-built state-of-the art workshop. It’s the only one of its kind in the UK, and ranks among the largest in Europe.
Inside the workshop’s huge hangar-like structure, a tight-knit team of engineers and technicians inspect, dismantle, repair, test and certify well control products of all sizes and configurations. It’s work which often takes place around the clock to meet challenging client deadlines.
For Roy Burnett, Scotvalve’s director of oilfield services, the new facility is the realisation of a dream come true. He formed the company with his father-in-law in 1985 and they started out working from a small unit in Aberdeen.
They were assisted by three technicians, all of whom are still with Scotvalve today. From such modest beginnings do big businesses grow. The mid-90s saw Scotvalve extend its international reach. Its first overseas business was launched in Egypt and the workshop established back then is still one of the biggest in the Mediterranean/North African region.
The inspection, repair, testing and recertification of valves and pressure control equipment accounts for 90% of Scotvalve’s current activity. The remaining 10% is focused on a relatively new string to the company’s bow: the in-house manufacture of products for the subsea industry. The current range includes riser handling plates, prototype subsea wellheads and variations of MWD (measurement while drilling) components.
An important contributor to Scotvalve’s growing success is the achievement of accreditation from the American Petroleum Institute (API), the internationally-recognised oil and gas trade association. This was granted in September 2013 following a stringent 12-month audit process. Or, as Roy puts it, “a year of blood, sweat and tears, but worth every single drop.”
“We’re the only UK independent with accreditation in all three categories,” says Roy. “This has undoubtedly helped us secure new business.”
Looking to the future, Roy says further expansion is the aim. Driving Scotvalve’s expansion plans is the increasing demand for the company’s services, which shows no sign of abating. Roy says this is largely attributable to the ramping up of deepwater drilling activity worldwide, as oil companies exploit the latest technological advancements to target oil and gas reserves previously considered inaccessible. With more deepwater drilling rigs being built, this means more high pressure well control equipment requiring Scotvalve’s expertise.
The way Roy sees it, success breeds success. The company which he formed with his father-in-law almost 30 years ago has survived three major oil price crashes in that time. While some competitors went under, Scotvalve continued to prosper. Roy attributes this to many factors, not least a change in oil industry philosophy where the old motto of ‘ditch and replace’ has become ‘monitor and maintain’.
“This means companies need our value-for-money services more than ever,” he says. And customer loyalty and positive word of mouth are priceless. Roy says that North Sea workers who transfer to overseas posts continue to recommend Scotvalve’s services to their new employers. “That loyalty is so important to us,” says Roy.
“In fact, our first customer ever – job number 1 – is still a client today.”
Read the full article in our Petrofacts magazine or visit the Scotvalve Services website.