Subsea Co Recognized As Most Innovative in Scotland


Fast-growth flexible pipe specialist flexlife was last night (June 24) recognized as the most innovative company in Scotland at a major awards ceremony.

flexlife recently marked its second birthday, recording turnover of £3million, and now has cause for further celebration after winning the award for Innovation in the National Business Awards for Scotland.

The company had also reached the finals in a second category -- Scotland's best small to medium-sized business. Earlier this year, flexlife scopped the Best Newcomer honor at the Subsea UK awards and was shortlisted for a Scottish Offshore Achievement Award.

flexlife's revolutionary scanning technology is the first to be able to successfully scan flexible risers in situ. The application can scan for a flooded annulus and flexible pipe armour wire corrosion, factors which significantly affect the service life of flexible risers commonly used on floating production vessels (FPSOs). It is mounted on an ROV and can operate down to 6,000meters, helping to extend the lifespan of flexible pipes and minimise additional cost, personnel and environmental impact for clients.

The company was established by directors Stuart Mitchell, John Marsden and Carl-Petter Halvorsen who identified a gap in the market for an innovative consultancy specialising in engineering and delivering flexible pipe projects, as well as developing patented technology offering new solutions to some of the most common problems facing the subsea sector.

Operations director Stuart said, "It is absolutely brilliant to have won such a prestigious national award and continues what has been an outstanding year for flexlife. We set out right from the start to devise innovative solutions to the most common problems facing our industry and are delighted our approach has been recognized at this level."

The company currently has a 10-strong team with plans to take on an additional eight people over the next 12 months and is predicting growth of around 70% in 2009/2010, primarily through work in the North Sea and Brazil.

Highlights of the last 12 months include:

  • launching the breakthrough patented scanning technology and securing commissions up until the end of this year to use that technology from a number of clients including Hess and Statoil. The next phase of the technology which will seal leaks in situ is being brought to market later this year.
  • Securing a three-year, £2.4million contract, with the option to extend to five years, with Apache North Sea making it responsible for all the subsea engineering and operational pipeline support on the operator's North Sea assets.
  • Winning three-year integrity management contracts with Maersk and CNR, again with options to extend to five years
  • completing an innovative well-kill off Tunisia safely and for a fraction of the cost of traditional methods
  • Moving into new £750,000 premises

The company aims to turnover £5million this year, growing to £20million annually by year five with a team of 50 staff in Aberdeen and bases around the world. The first of those international bases will be in Brazil and Australia by the end of this year.