OPUS HAS AMERICAN DREAM AS IT SEEKS FURTHER GROWTH
- Specialist firm targets US for expansion drive
- New work will create more jobs for Orkney
- New contracts underpin growth plans
Surrey-based oil and gas specialist firm Opus is targeting new markets in the US as part of its ambitious growth plans that will create new jobs and almost double the value of its environmental and ecotoxicology services.
Opus, which has its headquarters in Guildford, and testing/development facilities in Orkney, is already internationally recognised for its wide-ranging expertise in consultancy, process equipment supply and environmental services, having won contracts in Australia, Norway, the Middle East and the Far East in recent months.
The firm specialises in oil separation and treatments for produced water, which is a by-product of offshore oil production, as well as value-adding solutions for oil and gas producers, including fluids analysis, process upgrades and specialist environmental testing and monitoring.
The environmental and ecotoxicology work is done by a team of scientists based at Opus’ laboratories in the Orkney island of Flotta and contributes around £600,000 to the company’s annual turnover. It is hoped the laboratory work can be increased to over £1 million in the next 2-3 years and create additional employment within the community.
Opus, whose motto is ‘results delivered’, currently has 40 staff, including 24 in Orkney. In the last year the firm has increased its workforce by seven at Flotta and four at Guildford and is currently seeking nine recruits, two of which will be based in Orkney
Glen McLellan, Opus’ Director of Strategic Operations, said the firm is targeting US companies seeking help to ensure chemicals they intend using in the North Sea oil and gas industries comply with regulations.
“America is one of our priority areas this year. It is not the only direction in which we are pushing, but it is a definite target. We feel it is a natural progression having successfully entered other areas around the world but at the moment the bulk of our clients are European based.
“We know there are a lot of US companies out there who are trying to get into the North Sea market. We are seen as being one of the best ecotoxicology companies in the industry worldwide and so we need to match up our expertise with that demand.”
The Opus laboratories, a member of the European Oilfield Speciality Chemicals Association, are now established as one of the world’s leading facilities offering high quality marine ecotoxicology.
They offer advice to guide clients through the unique requirements of the UK, Norwegian, Dutch and Danish regulatory authorities, including HOCNF (the Harmonised Offshore Chemical Notification Format) which applies to all chemicals used in connection with offshore exploration and production activities in the OSPAR maritime area of the North-East Atlantic.
Using natural seawater Opus conducts a comprehensive series of tests to determine the extent to which a chemical will naturally break down in the environment and the potential for it to break through an organism’s skin and accumulate in the body.
The Orkney labs also carry out tests on the effects of chemicals in freshwater under the internationally-recognised Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development standards and this is another area it hopes to develop in future.
In recent months Opus has won consultation and environmental contracts from leading firms Apache, Statoil, Maersk Oil and Total for projects in Australia, Qatar and the North Sea.
The firm’s ingenuity and technical expertise also won it the Best Oil and Gas Industry Service Supplier Award 2012 from the industry organisation Energy North, whose 170 members operate in this sector across the globe.
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