Opex Group on the charge with new city centre HQ

Aberdeen-based Operational Excellence (OPEX) Group has moved into new West End headquarters after a jump in customers and headcount.

The predictive analysis firm serves 11 oil and gas operators, and has seen its workforce balloon from around 20 to 35 during the past year.

Its new high-tech Carden Place facility is equipped with collaborative workspaces and room for further staff growth as the firm targets turnover of £4million this year.

Opex, first established in 2010, focuses on using data science to help operators reduce their costs by solving a variety of technical challenges, such as identifying threats to production systems offshore, predictive maintenance and assessing human behaviours.

Chief executive Jamie Bennett said all of these factors can impact safety, costs and maximising economic recovery, but the industry is “only scratching the surface” of what’s possible.

The new premises has presentation facilities to show the benefits of the service and is also geared at attracting an international pool of data scientists to Aberdeen’s oil and gas industry.

Mr Bennett said: “We’d simply outgrown the site that we had, the space that we had. We wanted to create an environment that would stimulate more effective collaboration, not only internally but also in collaboration with our customers.

“By creating this space, we can bring our customers together and help them learn from each other.

“We’re only at the tip of the iceberg in terms of what’s possible.

“The industry has generally been quite slow. Some operators are more willing to adopt than others but there is a real opportunity here for everyone to benefit from this.”

Mr Bennett believes the industry is only at the “tip of the iceberg” of what’s possible with data science.

Although Opex Group started in 2010, it was “reborn” in 2015 with its X-Pas data science and predictive maintenance service being launched amid the oil downturn.

The firm is UK North Sea-focussed, with 10 of its 11 customers being UK-based.

It has brought on new firms including BP, Taqa and Dana Petroleum since the start of 2019, with its customer base doubling in the last year.

Mr Bennett said as more operators realise the benefits of the service, the pool of data scientists in Aberdeen is “stretched” so it is hoped the new facility can bring in fresh talent to the sector.

He added: “We’re competing in an international pool for data scientists. The data science discipline is becoming quite stretched. It is becoming more and more difficult to harness them and especially attracting them to Aberdeen is a key feature.

“We have employees here from all over the world, so we’re very keen to create the right environment to help bring that talent into the company.”

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Craigmill, Pitcaple, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, United Kingdom, AB51 5HP
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