A Dutch well services firm has made a multi-million pound investment in a new UK base in Aberdeenshire.
WellGear, a specialist in production boosting and plugging and abandonment (P&A) of oil wells, has opened its Drumoak facility as part of a growth strategy in the UK North Sea.
The firm first established its UK presence in 2016 with two employees, supported by the wider group, which has since grown to 10 people at the new base and a pool of between 30 – 40 offshore workers in the Aberdeen area.
Its new base, previously occupied by Paradigm Flow Services at Drumoak Business Park, is used to prepare its equipment for transport offshore and support functions around that, as well as training of crews for offshore work.
Meanwhile fabrication of the equipment is carried out by machine shops in and around Aberdeen.
The firm also sends teams out to operators who have contracted them to help plan out the work.
WellGear has “significant” contracts in place with five UK operators, with another recently signed with a sixth for a P&A campaign next year.
UK managing director Murdo Macleod said the group has always identified the region as one for growth.
He added: “We’ve always had confidence in this sector and that this is a good fit. That’s proven by the contracts that have been won and executed to date.
“The growth potential for this type of business is significant.
“There is a massive amount of wells needing to be abandoned. There’s a significant amount of wells that have the potential to add production to platforms, so there are many opportunities.”
WellGear was set up in 2015 by CEO Sigo Tjeerdsma and chief operating officer Sven Heijwegen after identifying the need for the industry to modernise “hydraulic workover units”, which are used to repair wells and keep them producing at optimum rates.
Mr Macleod and UK operations manager Andrew Black were brought on a year later to build up the British business in parallel.
WellGear now employs around 140 people worldwide, including the United States and Equatorial Guinea.
The duo first envisioned a raft of plugging and abandonment campaigns in the UK, however operators were initially more interested in their services to boost production.
It has only been since the end of last year that the P&A work came rolling in, with work won in the last six to eight months expected to keep them busy “for a number of years”.
Andrew Black said: “For the first two years, all we did was workover wells and get them back online, increasing production.
“Then that turned at the end of last year and since then and going forward it looks as though there will be quite a bit of abandonment work.”