Ashington-based FES International completes £2.4m project

Innovative oil and gas specialists FES based in Ashington, Northumberland are involved in a major West Africa project

Managing director of FES International Rob Anderson
Managing director of FES International Rob Anderson

A rapidly growing oil and gas engineering firm has completed a £2.4m contract which will see its innovative cables used in a major African project.

Ashington-based FES International was contracted to design and manufacture 19 diverless bend stiffener connectors (DBSCs) – which are used to link cables from subsea installations to vessels on the sea surface – by NOV/Subsea 7.

The DBSCs, a strong revenue stream for the business, form part of the CLOV development, a project owned by Angolan state-owned oil company Sonangol around 140km off the coast of the nation’s capital Luanda.

The four fields that make up the development – Cravo, Lirio, Orquidea and Violeta – were all discovered over a five-year period starting in 1998, triggering the approval of the drilling development in August 2010.

Production is now finally under way.

The CLOV FPSO unit has a capacity of 160,000 barrels of oil per day and connects 34 subsea wells to the unit. FES International’s DBSCs are to be installed on the CLOV floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) unit, in Block 17 off the west coast of Africa.

That takes the number of diverless bend stiffener connections in use across the globe to more than 320.

Its deal successes also put it on course to achieve revenues of £16.7m in the year to the end of July – a 47% jump on the £11.3m turnover the previous year.

As part of the contract, the team at FES had to make bespoke latching mechanisms for the DBSCs to ensure they fit CLOV project specifications.

Managing director of FES International, Rob Anderson, said: “We have a long-standing relationship with NOV and this is a great example of us delivering another smooth and successful project. Usually DBSCs are designed with what’s called ‘female’ latching.

“For this project we had to amend the design and manufacture the industry’s first ‘male’ latch DBSC. We have got an excellent and experienced team at our North East headquarters that is able to innovate and find solutions. That is the key to our success on projects such as this.”

FES currently employs 36 people in the North East and has a further 400 people in its supply chain around the world and is expecting to take on new recruits as a result of its lucrative contract wins.

This year alone FES has supplied DBSCs to NOV Flexibles for use in the North Sea at the Mariner field, Statoil’s heavy oil development and as part of Subsea 7’s Western Isles Development (WID) project.

The Northumberland firm has enjoyed a period of sustained growth after being given the go-ahead last year to expand its Ashington premises by 12,000sqft to bolster its manufacturing and testing facilities.


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