15/10/2008 - 22:00

Solid growth in subsea industry

15/10/2008 - 22:00

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A GROUP of companies active in Western Australia's fast-growing subsea oil and gas sector have established an industry representative body.

Solid growth in subsea industry

A GROUP of companies active in Western Australia's fast-growing subsea oil and gas sector have established an industry representative body.

Subsea Energy Australia has been formed to promote the state's subsea capabilities to the global subsea oil and gas markets.

DOF Subsea Australia's technical sales and tendering manager David Cox chairs its steering committee, while the vice-chairman is MCS Advanced Subsea Engineering's operations director Enda O'Sullivan.

Other companies represented on the steering committee include Wellstream Australia, VetcoGray, BHP Billiton Petroleum, Aker Solutions, TSMarine, J.P. Kenny and Deloitte.

SEA will be officially launched at the Deep Offshore Technology International Conference, to be held in Perth in December.

Mr O'Sullivan, who moved to Perth three years ago when Galway-based MCS established its local office, said the representative body was in its formative stage and was designed to promote networking in the sector.

"We wanted a central body that the companies can use to develop a network," Mr O'Sullivan said.

Operators, engineers, construction firms and fabricators would all be able to join.

Mr O'Sulivan said the group was also aiming to participate in international trade shows, which would help smaller firms win work.

The subsea sector has experienced substantial growth as petroleum companies have focused more attention on deepwater oil and gas fields off the state's north-west coast.

The sector is focused on both the development of new projects, such as Woodside's Pluto liquefied natural gas development and BHP Billiton's Pyrenees project, and the long-term maintenance of installed subsea assets.

Its growth has been evidenced by a number of major international firms either establishing or expanding their WA presence over the past year.

One of the most active companies in the sector is Aberdeen-based John Wood Group, which last month acquired MCS.

This followed Wood Group's acquisition earlier this year of two WA companies - safety training provider Marine & Offshore Group and Netlink Inspection.

"The acquisition of MCS is part of our ongoing strategy to expand and enhance our capabilities in subsea and deepwater, which is one of the strongest growing markets in our industry," Wood Group director Mike Straughen said in a statement.

MCS will be joining a newly formed Subsea & Pipelines Technology business unit within Wood Group, along with sister companies J.P. Kenny, Multiphase Solutions Inc. and Perth-based Ionik Consulting.

Mr Straughen said this unit would be the largest of its kind in the world.

Each company will continue to operate under its existing brand, in line with Wood Group's overall strategy.

MCS's Australian operation has doubled its turnover in the past year and is carrying out engineering work on five projects in South-East Asia and Australia.

Another company expanding in WA is Aker Solutions, which opened an operations centre at the Perth Airport industrial park in June.

Aker has been in Perth for 10 years and described the new centre as a step-change in its regional presence.

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