Basing its success on being highly dedicated to the job, and concentrating on quality and service, Battery Terotech has delivered an important package to the oil industry for a decade.
In fact, its reputation is such that the Scottish company’s growth over the past decade can be largely attributed to word of mouth endorsements, rather than major advertising. One of its founding managing directors, Allistair Haggart, spoke to European Oil & Gas Magazine about the success he has managed to carve out since launching the Aberdeen-based business in 2000.
“I’ve worked in the offshore industry for 30+ years and on the battery side for 20 of those,” he reveals, explaining what lies at the foundations of Battery Terotech. “I knew my business partner for many years prior to forming Battery Terotech and we came into the market as a service company, before progressing to covering everything from supply to installation to maintenance.”
The organisation is predominantly active in the oil industry, though it has a few onshore contracts as well. “It’s not clever to put all your eggs in one basket, especially as the oil industry can be volatile,” Allistair observes. “We mainly work in the North Sea, although we have served the southern sector and we’ve undertaken work abroad, mostly through companies we’ve dealt with in the North Sea.”
Clarifying its remit, Allistair says: “We supply, install and maintain all major DC backup systems on an installation. Being in the industry for so long means we know what the equipment does, so we have a better outlook. When something goes wrong, the battery is the last form of defence, which is why we make everybody who works for us aware that these are critical systems. We have never been money driven; our philosophy is if you do a good job, the money will take care of itself.”
It’s this approach that has allowed Battery Terotech to establish itself as a reliable partner in the oil industry and the firm prides itself on its solid alliances: “We differentiate ourselves through the service we supply, which facilitates strong relationships with customers,” Allistair asserts. “It’s our priority to work closely with suppliers and clients; clients need to know we’re trying to save them money and suppliers need to know we’re dependable. And we’re not greedy – we don’t add separate charges for services, as everything is included in our day rate. Trust is key and our clients know that when they send us out, they’ll get the job done.”
Going hand in hand with its commitment to providing a transparent service is Battery Terotech’s focus on ensuring its workforce is highly trained in all aspects of industrial batteries. “This is a specialised and dangerous area – a lot of people get complacent around batteries, which is how major accidents happen,” Allistair notes. “We make sure that whomever my business partner or I mentor possesses a year’s comprehensive background experience, which involves working for two to three weeks offshore. As far as offshore work is concerned, there is induction safety training, which covers a lot of areas, and we work in a buddy system, so trainees will always be with us. It’s a case of making employees aware of the dangers.”
As well as keeping a close eye on educating its workforce, Allistair likes to keep abreast of the latest technological advances that can help the business to work more effectively. “We’re constantly on the look out for state-of-the-art equipment that provides greater efficiency for clients. We have always looked for better ways of working, without sacrificing quality.”
He discusses how such advances directly impact customers: “There’s a lot going on in the technology field in terms of pieces of kit that are giving us more information. Batteries are very difficult to predict in terms of capacity, short of doing a discharge test, but there’s equipment coming into the market that provides a decent guideline, which would allow us to introduce preventative maintenance.
“We could then undertake monitoring of our clients’ systems and predict when a failure will occur, thus avoiding rig downtime. Clients could pre-empt problems with their system six months beforehand through careful budgeting.”
Continuing, he speaks about Battery Terotech’s current service: “We offer six-monthly maintenance checks on a rig’s battery systems. When it gets to the stage where there could be problems, we’ll carry out a discharge capacity test, make recommendations and outline a schedule for changing out the systems. This allows the client to spread the cost.”
There are numerous opportunities for Battery Terotech’s type of work, as many installations that maintain their own batteries are hit with shutdowns and evacuations because their systems let them down. The market is very open in Europe as far as Allistair is concerned and the business is working on showing European companies how the business’ offering is cost effective.
Reflecting on industry conditions, Allistair concludes: “The oil and gas industry is always going to have its ups and downs. It takes a long time to build up a reputation and only a short time to lose it, so our priority is to be at the top of the tree. I’d like to see the company become more self-sufficient and diversify, in respect of other people taking on responsibilities – a business doesn’t work if somebody is indispensible.”
Battery Terotech Ltd
Products: Industrial battery systems