Dyce-based oil-well technology firm Plexus and a Newcastle valve maker have formed a joint venture to supply equipment North Sea operators are “crying out for”.
The link-up with BEL Valves means Plexus can offer a complete package of wellhead and “tree” equipment for production wells for the first time.
Plexus owns 51% of the joint venture, called Plexus Pressure Control (PPC), and BEL has 49%.
Plexus will control the intellectual property and take responsibility for marketing PPC’s products, which will be designed and built at its base in Dyce.
Dedicated, full-time staff will be hired for PPC once the venture generates some orders.
Until then, existing staff members at Plexus and BEL will get the enterprise up and running.
Plexus claimed the joint venture could save operators in the North Sea and further afield “tens of millions of pounds” by reducing the need for maintenance and cutting out well shut-ins.
Craig Hendrie, Plexus technical director, said both companies had strong track records of producing equipment which can go “maintenance free” for 10-15 years.
Plexus’s POS-GRIP wellhead technology has been used on more than 400 wells, while BEL has been making valves for half a century.
Mr Hendrie said customers would find it “refreshing” that a “small, innovative” company like Plexus was getting “on the case” and supplying production equipment made in north-east Scotland.
He said operators were “frustrated” by larger oilfield service firms’ tendency to become “globalised” – manufacturing and supplying equipment from all over the planet.
PPC will tick the boxes for customers who need production quickly and sometimes in smaller quantities, Mr Hendrie said.
He also said Plexus would benefit from being able to fulfil clients’ desire for complete packages of surface production equipment, rather than just selling wellheads.
Plexus chief executive Ben van Bilderbeek agreed, adding: “The formation of PPC enables Plexus to supply Christmas trees as part of a package solution for the first time.
“It is a key step in our company’s evolution and ambition to provide the industry with wellheads and associated products, which are gas tight and methane leak free.”
BEL Valves’ chief executive Bruce Heppenstall said: “Our valves and Plexus’ wellhead systems are an excellent fit.
“Both deliver the highest standards in performance, reliability and safety and both have a proven track record in operating in extreme high pressure, high temperature environments.”