Washington firm storms into the Sunday Times International top 200

Oil Consultants of Washington are one of three firms to make a Sunday Times top 200 list for their export contribution

Helen Smith, centre, chief executive of Oil Consultants with Andrew Hopper and Andrew Gaunt of Lloyds Bank Commercial
Helen Smith, centre, chief executive of Oil Consultants with Andrew Hopper and Andrew Gaunt of Lloyds Bank Commercial

A Wearside firm which provides global oil and gas industry with skilled workers is one of three North East companies to be recognised in the Sunday Times International Track 200 list.

The list highlights private companies’ contribution to exports, shining a light on those with the fastest-growing overseas sales.

This year marks the first time Washington-based Oil Consultants have been included, and the business has achieved an impressive ranking of number 45 on their first year in the list, becoming the second highest ranking company from our region.

Elsewhere on the list are County Durham-based GT Group, at 162, and Berwick-based malt producers Simpsons Malt who top the regional entries at number 23

Established in 1999, Oil Consultants came under new ownership three years ago, signalling a step change for the business.

It has increased staff from under 10 to more than 70 staff operating in 95 countries, with more than 25,000 highly-skilled specialist workers on its books who are supplied to all the oil and gas industry’s major players.

The firm has forecasted revenues of up to £50m for the current financial year, up from £27m in the year to July 2013, growth the firm attributes to its rapid geographical expansion having opened new offices in Jakarta, Indonesia and Dubai, giving it a network of nine offices around the world, including the US, China, Malaysia and Trinidad.

In the last three years the company has almost tripled sales, more than 85% of which now comes from international sales, and earlier this year it stepped up growth plans through support from Lloyds Bank Commercial Finance.

Oil Consultants’ chief executive, Helen Smith, said: “I am delighted at how well we have done on this list.

“Our industry is an international one and we have become very experienced at placing candidates from 90 plus different nationalities with our global client base.

“We knew we’d had a very successful few years of growth as a company but it is really pleasing to be placed so highly and ahead of some very large companies that are household names.”

Despite the success Smith admits that the company must continue to adapt to changing market needs if it is to maintain its strong international presence.

“The global oil and gas industry is changing,” she said.

“We are seeing countries in the early stages of developing their reserves look to maintain the skills and wealth that oil and gas exploration can bring within their own economy as far as possible.

“This means they want to employ as many local staff as possible. At the same time they are also looking to learn from the expertise of some of the industry’s most experienced personnel so we find we are having to adapt our services to meet these needs.

“Having now worked in almost all of the oil producing countries in the world our task is now to build on our presence in these markets and develop the depth of our services in these areas.

“The Asia Pacific market is still very strong for us, as is the Middle East, and we expect these areas to continue to show strong growth.

“At the same time we are expecting a lot more development in the South American markets as they start to focus on production and, closer to home, the North Sea will still be a key part of our business as we develop services to meet the growing decommissioning requirements in this area.”

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