Committed to quality

With a heritage extending back to 1958, BHDT was originally established as the high-pressure technology division of the Boehler Group.

In 1979 the division diversified its activities further by expanding into highpressure pumps, before it was taken over as a private entity in 1996 under company president Dr Harald J Aichhorn. Adopting the name BHDT GmbH in 2007, the specialist designer, supplier and manufacturer of high pressure equipment and components for the chemical and petrochemical industries used its contacts and expertise within these industries to make the logical step into the oilfield market in 2009. This move proved highly fruitful for BHDT, as it witnessed dramatic growth of 50 per cent, year-on-year, since 2011. Keen to continue this success, the company focuses on retaining a balance between its traditional approach to business and continued improvement, thus ensuring it can meet the stringent and developing needs of customers within the oil and gas industry.

As a smaller player in the market, BHDT focuses on the design, finite element calculations, purchasing, fabrication and quality control for niche, NORSOK conforming products. These include a broad spectrum of compact flanges, orifice spacers and reducers, which are developed and manufactured with materials such as Duplex, Superduplex, high strength carbon steel and low alloyed carbon steel. Furthermore, by using its own methods, the company can produce pipe spools with complex shaped geometry while ensuring the length and perpendicularity of components are of the highest accuracy.

Previously featured in European Oil & Gas Magazine in November 2013, head of BHDT’s oil and energy department Manuel Prohaska discusses the company’s recent developments: “We have been very busy over the last six months, which is due to our strategic decision to considerably enlarge our scope of supply for FPSO’s over recent years; recent notable projects for us include the FLNG Prelude project as well as the FPSO Ichthys project. In the past we were mainly involved in the fabrication of inner pipes in FPSO swivel stacks, but we are now involved in supplying the full package including the raw materials and the testing equipment (e.g. IX-seals for NORSOK flanges, bolting, pipes, elbows etc.) required for fabrication of the inner piping.”

Indeed, by merging decades of experience with an innovative, forward-thinking approach to delivering solutions, BHDT has gained an excellent position on the global market and progressed into bigger and more complex projects, as Manuel highlights: “Due to requirements on the FLNG Prelude, we apply thermal sprayed aluminium (TSA) onto Duplex for the very first time. This kind of coating is normally used on carbon steel only, which made the development of measurement devices to determine the dry film thickness of TSA difficult, as there are no devices such as these on the market yet, at least not with the requested accuracy. To develop these devices we worked closely with Helmut Fischer GmbH, a leading expert in coating measurement equipment supply.”

Although relatively new to the oil and gas industry, BHDT’s flexibility to market demand has led to the accumulation of an impressive customer base, such as SBM Offshore, Petrobras, Shell and BP. “We also have had a lot of orders with Aker Solutions for subsea blow-off preventer prototypes, and have delivered approximately 40 22 inch flanges that are now under serial production worldwide. We took our first order from Aker Solutions approximately six months ago, but the relationship has developed to the point it has become one of our biggest customers in the oil and gas industry, alongside SBM Offshore, which has been a major customer since the very beginning,” says Manuel.

With a current structure of delivering sophisticated solutions within niche applications, BHDT works closely with its clients to ensure complete satisfaction; despite recently expanding into Brazil and China, the company is keen to retain its commitment to quality and product development, as Manuel discusses: “We will open an office in Brazil in September and will begin operations in China in approximately 12 months. However, as a small, but growing department within BHDT with some engineers and only several million in turnover the challenges remain the same; it is difficult to progress the business further when we are currently in the middle of some major projects, and because of our limited capacity we are focused on successful and flawless project delivery to ensure customer satisfaction. It is a vicious circle really, we are always hiring new staff and looking for qualified people, but because our business is niche you need at least six months to train people properly, but again, if we are too busy with projects we are too busy to train.”

As the company continues to reap the benefits of its long-term expertise and commitment to quality, BHDT will look to resource experienced personnel to aid its trend of ongoing growth, as Manuel concludes: “We have started a big research and development programme for ball valves, because they are the only valve type that is not overly common here. We deliver approximately 2500 high-pressure valves a year, but we see it is mandatory to implement ball valves into our scope of supply; this is why we are looking for offshore personnel with 20 to 30 years of experience, who can help our design staff to prevent mistakes and develop knowledge. Ideally we would like staff from Austria, but this is unrealistic, so we are looking for English speaking personnel who can potentially speak Portuguese for our office in Brazil.”

Products : High-pressure equipment and high-pressure components