TAM International: From 1968 Roots to Global Oilfield Innovation Leader

Epic solutions

Founded in 1968 and purchased by its current owners in 1972, privately owned TAM International, Inc., has evolved to become a leading global oilfield service company, providing inflatable and swellable packers and stage cementing solutions to the oil and gas industry. Headquartered in Houston, the company recently broke ground on its new manufacturing facility that includes 126,000 square feet of manufacturing space and 17,000 square feet of office space; this will triple capacityin the next few years and is due to open in late 2013. The company also has a £1.8 million site in Aberdeen, which opened in 2010 as part of its global strategy to expand the business.

“We have grown 25 to 30 per cent per year in the past two years and business in the region is still growing; the challenge now is keeping up with equipment and personnel demand,” says John Stewart, sales director at TAM International North Sea. “The new state-of-theart manufacturing facility in Houston opening in September this year will help us to deal with these challenges. In addition to the new site our existing facility will be converted into an R&D and testing facility, which will allow us to develop new tools to deal with future challenges.”

TAM International provides solutions to a comprehensive range of oil and gas operating companies around the world with the TAM North Sea regional office based in Aberdeen. TAM products are suited for many different applications, from the drilling and completions phase of a project to required remedial operations and on to the decommissioning efforts. Believing the success of TAM International is down to the specialist services it offers, John says: “We have unique, niche products and our focus is on providing a complete solution, from receiving the initial enquiry through to delivering the products and services at the customer’s location.” TAM International’s inflatable products have been used in decommissioning projects, with its permanent inflatable bridge plugs a popular choice for use during all stages of well abandonment.

Major challenges in offshore well abandonment include the hostile working environment caused by debris and simultaneous operations, damaged wellheads, and sustained casing pressure caused by gas migration and poor cement integrity. Aware that the conditions of tubulars or casing may be poor, considering many abandoned wells are up to 30 or 40 years old, TAM International can offer clients an affordable product range to handle difficult well conditions. Recent projects for the company include deploying a slickline plug in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) on a hurricane damaged platform that required complete P&A and removal. An inflatable bridge plug was used for the operation, which allowed a solid base to be placed in the well as a platform for abandonment.

Inflatable bridge plugs have also been deployed on coiled tubing and drill pipe both in Norway and the UK. Through these operations the company has developed a global P&A track record, including more than 30 packer installations on one project in the GOM over a six month period; with TAM inflatables used for bridge plugs, cement retainers, test packers and resin squeeze packers during that time.

With active involvement in well abandonment in the UK, TAM International has been enjoying the benefits of being a member of Decom North Sea. “It gives us the opportunity to network and to illustrate the technologies and solutions we can bring to the market place,” explains Ian Bayfield, senior account manager at TAM International Ltd. “I attended a Decom event in October last year and it was a great opportunity to meet with both major operators and smaller, newer companies that have invested in the North Sea arena.”

As a way to prevent issues surrounding well abandonment in the future TAM International has been focusing on its EPIC Solutions. EPIC stands for ‘Essential Products for Integrity and Containment’. “We aim to allow the customer to perform an improved cement job during the drilling and well construction phase,” says Ian. “Operating companies are now adopting a cradle to grave approach to constructing their new wells and considering the complete lifecycle of the well. We are seeing a large increase of interest in the UK, Norway and Denmark from clients who want to find out more about how they can improve the cement integrity in their wells.”

A key aim for TAM International over the coming years is to find and retain quality employees, a current issue for many companies within the offshore industry. Keen to bring in new staff, the Aberdeen office has recently hired four offshore trainees and has developed an improved global training programme. On top of this the company will focus on offering EPIC solutions in the North Sea and also developing its foothold in other emerging areas throughout the region such as Iraq and Russia, areas with great potential for growth. “Our aim is to provide the very best solutions to the industry through the complete life cycle of the well, starting from well construction right through to abandonment,” says Ian. As TAM International continues to grow and gain more interest from clients with its innovative ideas and products, this global company looks to have a promising future.

TAM International
Products: Inflatable and swellable packers, stage cementing and associated services