Pipeline Precision Engineering Ltd (PPE) is an engineering design, fabrication and precision machining company providing multi-disciplined project management, design, manufacturing, installation, maintenance, testing and commissioning services to multi-national oil, gas, petrochemical and mineral extraction companies across the world.
The business was founded in 2010 by its directors Simon Hannar and Stewart Walker. With a background in pressure vessel design and fabrication, Simon brought with him a wealth of experience that was complementary to the experience of his partner, Stewart, who comes from a precision machining background.
The UK based business today remains predominately focused on pressure vessel/ piping design and fabrication, utilising its in-house precision machining facility to deliver its services to a broad section of industries. With the flexibility to supply a single item or a complete multi-disciplined turnkey project, its extensive portfolio provides an insight into its strengths. Extending from its general design and fabrication capability, it has built up an international reputation for the design, fabrication and testing of high-pressure pipeline pigging systems for the oil, gas petrochemical and mineral industries. Originally manufacturing for third party specialist suppliers, the majority of its business is now carried out directly with the end user or multinational Engineer, Procure, Construct (EPC) contractors.
As a natural progression from its factory design, fabrication and machining capability, PPE has also moved into on-site fabrication and erection of storage tanks together with the associated interconnecting pipe work systems. Currently, this side of the business is specifically focused on UK based oil, gas and petrochemical plants, particularly in the North East of England. “By its very definition, PPE’s main products are pressure vessels, piping systems and precision machining,” begins George Bailey, business development manager. “However, within those three core areas there is an extensive list of specialist items, with some of the more important being pipeline pig launchers/receivers for onshore, topside and subsea, together with the associated pig lifting/handling/loading equipment,” he continues.
The business also undertakes on-site fabrication and installation of general pipe work, as well as the supply of specialist machined components where required. “The application of our products and services spans all sectors of the oil, gas and petrochemical industry, and to a large extent depends on the type of projects being planned and executed at any particular time. Currently the construction of high pressure gas and oil transmission pipelines is very buoyant so we are seeing enquiries for pipeline pigging systems, required on all new pipelines to facilitate the commissioning, cleaning, gauging and inspection over the life of the pipeline,” says George.
With a client base on both national and international levels the company has completed a wealth of successful projects, and whilst busy executing ongoing contracts, it seeks to expand its business with potential clients, both in the UK and overseas. “We are actively promoting ourpipeline products in the UK, UAE, Algeria and Oman, and would hope at least to see enquiries for the pigging systems for theTrans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) in Turkey/ Greece/Albania, as well as markets in Korea and Iraq,” highlights George as he expands on current projects: “We currently have an order from Genesis Oil & Gas in Aberdeen for a subsea pigging structure. Genesis is the engineering and procurement contractor for the Aberdeen-based Nexen Petroleum company. The order is for subsea pig receivers, temporary tie in spools, mud mat and Alignment frame. The project will allow Nexen Petroleum to conduct cleaning and intelligent pigging of the 18” Buzzard Export Pipe line.”
PPE is certified to ISO 9001:2008, accredited with engineering, design and fabrication, installation, testing and commissioning on a worldwide basis. Further still, through its registration with First Point Assessment Limited (FPAL), it is initially pre qualified to bid for work to the oil and gas majors together with themajor FEED and EPC contractors working in the UK Continental Shelf. “Additionally we are registered with the Utilities Vendor Data Base (UVDB), a similar system to FPAL but applicable to the energy utilities such as National Grid,” adds George.
Reviewing how the market has faired over the past few months and what the future holdshe adds: “Obviously the oil industry is being hit quite hard by the reduction in the price of oil, and regrettably this is resulting in staff reductions both in the UK and overseas, but more importantly from our point of view we are starting to see some of the oil and gas majors cutting back on their 2015 Capital Expenditure budgets, resulting in some quite large offshore projects either being put on hold or abandoned completely. This will obviously reflect in the level of enquiries that we receive for both UK and overseas oil based projects. Where the oil production price is relatively low, such as in the Middle East, I would expect existing projects to carry on to completion.
“Fortunately the high pressure gas transmission pipeline sector is still buoyant with some very large projects already committed for construction. We obviously need to ensure that PPE, working where applicable with our overseas based colleagues, is in a position to bid for any equipment that falls within our scope of supply.” The business faces a tough market, with some very strong competitors operating on the international scene, but as George points out, PPE’s size and resilience plays an important role: “The phrase “large enough to cope, small enough to care”, is very much applicable to our organisation and reflects our attitude to our to clients.” As well as aspiring to develop this ideal throughout the company, it recognises that the future of the business is dependant on many other factors.
It seems to be generally accepted within the industry that the price of oil will remain at around $50/barrel for the foreseeable future. If this is the case then we will need to work extra hard to ensure that PPE is on the bidders list for every major pipeline project. This means continuing to work very closely with the government export support organisation, UKTI, and trade organisations such as NOF Energy and the Energy Industries Council.
A complete overhaul of our export communication system is currently underway, and our use of social media sites will need to be looked at carefully to ensure that PPE keeps in step with current trends,” says George as he draws to a conclusion. “Through a combination of promoting our services, expanding our core products and services and listening carefully to our clients’ requirements we would hope to see a steady growth in sales over the next three to five years in all three areas of our work, factory design and fabrication, precision machining and on-site fabrication and installation. To ensure that PPE has the skilled personnel to meet the predicted future growth we currently have six young engineering apprentices under training, all recruited from the area local to our works.”
Pipeline Precision Engineering Ltd
Services: Pressure vessel/piping design and fabrication and precision machining company