Established in 1997 by founder, chief executive officer, president and executive director Ron Smith, Houston headquartered Deep Down Inc. provides proven services and solutions to major oil firms operating globally in the offshore exploration and production industry.
With a core focus on complex deepwater and ultra-deepwater oil production distribution system support services as well as the development of innovative technologies used between platform and wellhead, Deep Down’s dedicated, expert team of project managers and engineers ensure the swift progression and safe, successful execution of all projects.
A lean, mean machine that is run by seniors who thrive in challenging situations, Deep Down is trusted by virtually all of the major oil firms and works for three groups of customers: operators/oil companies representing 52 per cent of the company’s income, OEMs with 36 per cent of the company’s income and installation contractors with 11 per cent. “We work for all of the oil companies, Chevron, BP, Exxon, Noble Energy, Statoil, CNOOC, basically everybody that is interesting to a company like us. We also work for umbilical manufacturers such as Nexans and Parker as well as installation contractors such as Technip, Subsea 7 and Hereema. Not only that, but we also supply some of our competitors in certain markets,” highlights Ron.
Benefiting from Ron’s offshore expertise and eye for opportunity, the company has developed and strengthened its services in line with market and customer demand since its inception. “We started managing installations and I realised the deck of vessels were lacking critical services or didn’t have the right personnel or equipment on deck to deliver testing and monitoring services quickly and accurately. Deep Down began offering these services and then realised that at the end of these installations the contractors may not have the correct deck equipment to get the subsea equipment on and off platforms, so we set up a post commissioning services option. Basically our whole history has been about putting together solutions for customers and then adding these solutions to our own service range or product line,” says Ron.
Indeed, Ron has been directly responsible for the invention or development of a diverse rangeof innovative solutions used in the offshoreindustry, such as the first steel tube flying lead installation system. Today, having successfully supplied loose steel flying leads (LSFLs) for more than a decade, the company is now known as a pioneer of the product’s development and is a leading manufacturer of cost-effective, high quality, hydraulic, electrical and fiber optic LSFLs. “Our new 215,000 square foot facility in Houston has been manufacturing a lot of steel flying leads as we speak. We recently received orders for steel tube flying leads and long-term associated services in the Gulf of Mexico and West Africa in 2013; these projects are proceeding perfectly. We also delivered a significant amount of flying leads to Australia, so there is a huge influx of deliveries going all over the world,” says Ron.
Another product to enjoy huge demand is the company’s patented non-helical umbilical (NHU), which combines its expertise inmaking miles of loose steel flying leads, of observing the installation behaviour of all umbilicals as well as terminating conventional steel umbilicals. The portable manufacturing and easily transported NHU System can be set up anywhere that full-sized steel tube infieldumbilicals can be produced up to ten miles in length. Super-duplex tubes of standard number and size, the NHU can be additionally equipped with either electrical or optical components and is intended for both static and short-term dynamic service applications.
“The beauty of the NHU is its mobilemanufacturing process. It can be taken over toany location that doesn’t have the Deep Downbrand; thanks to our mobile capabilities, themanufacturing equipment can be installed with minimal mobilisation or demobilisation costs through the utilisation of local content. This gives back to local areas and is getting a lot of people excited,” highlights Ron. “This product has some unique concepts and will be a majorpart of our future in the mobile umbilical making process.”
Despite a relatively small number of personnel, for a publicly traded company, thecompany boasts an excellent reputation and long list of major oil customers that stems from its long-term expertise and ‘can-do’ attitude inthe face of extremely challenging projects. “Weare growing, working for multiple customersrequiring subsea hardware and subsea servicesthen coming up with solutions for installation, production or emergencies and situations like that,” enthuses Ron. “We have so much going on in regards to solutions that we aren’t allowedto talk about, but a whole lot of people in theindustry know that if you are in a tight spot yougo to Deep Down because we get things done.”
An example of the company’s ability to prevent an uncontrollable release of hydrocarbons are its Riser Isolation Valve (RIV) and Subsea Isolation Valve (SSIV) control systems, which are being installed onto platforms as part of Emergency ShutdownSystems (ESDS). By integrating Deep Down’sinstallation friendly subsea distribution systemcomponents, the control rooms on platformscan thus operate SSIVs and also monitor thevalve position in open/closed circles. Designedto control and monitor up to 12 RIVs on asingle platform, the single RIV systems can be installed both onshore and offshore in additionto installations on new or existing riser systems. This innovative technology is leading the way in enabling a safer future within the oil and gas industry. “This product prevents a potential Macondo catastrophe where if the oil and gas gets past the BOP stack or the subsea tree the operators don’t want it creating a problem for theplatform. Our highly robust RIV systems blockoff the flow at the bottom of the platform andare perfect for retrofit projects,” says Ron.
Boasting approximately $29 million in back log and $200 million in quotes, Deep Down is enjoying ongoing demandfor its services and products that is certainto continue long into the future. Withclear aims for the ongoing success of Deep Down, Ron concludes: “Our plan is to increasethe installation of our flying leads then expand our NHU business to the point we can usemore of our subsea distribution componentsand connect the dots within the market. We also want to work in parallel in several of these market areas without compromising onthe quality of our services. Deep Down will expand into several teams of equal capability but still retain our mobile philosophy that will all be posted out of our Houston facility.Ultimately our aim is to increase our sales content in new locations through a potential new base facility and continue to demonstrateour expanded capabilities.”
Deep Down Inc
Services: Oil and gas support services