The Sniffers NV: A Year of Expansion with the Strategic Acquisition of Leak Consultancy

Sniffing out opportunities

It has been a busy twelve months for The Sniffers NV with major developments including the acquisition of Dutch company Leak Consultancy, a specialist in infrared thermography.

“This acquisition means we can bring new skills to our portfolio in thermographic imaging and thermography management. It also means we now have a base in the Netherlands where we can serve our Dutch clients and offer a more local and interactive service,” says Hans Hooyberghs, chief executive officer of The Sniffers.

With international experience in fugitive emission monitoring, storage tank emission monitoring, flare emission monitoring, LDAR (Leak Detection And Repair) and Smart LDAR, pipeline integrity inspections, leak detection and energy audits, the ISO-9001 certified firm’s recent acquisition allows it to further expand its services in helping customers improve efficiency and limit heat loss via infrared thermography. Through this acquisition The Sniffers is also aiming to roll out its pipeline services towards the Netherlands, where it anticipates potential high demand.

Following a tender, the company has also recently extended its contract for LDAR management with Gasunie, a gas infrastructure firm with one of the most extensive high-pressure gas transport networks in Europe. “It was a combination of our experience in these services and the quality of our software, along with very good pricing, that led to us getting the highest scores in technical and commercial values. It means we can continue to work together to reduce the CO2 and fugitive emissions for another five years,” says Hans.

The Sniffers strengthened its presence in GCC by setting a local structure with a permanent GCC area manager. “We have hired a GCC area manager who is now present in Abu Dhabi, which is part of the structure we have set up to ensure we are able to serve our GCC clients. It is a very big market for us and serving our customers locally means we can offer the same high quality service as we do in the Netherlands,” explains Hans, an international consultant at the environmental consulting firm.

“As society becomes more aware of emissions we have noticed a definite increase in interest it what we do, particularly in Europe and The Middle East,” he highlights. “We recently finished a major lead detection project for Takreer Ruwais in Abu Dhabi, which achieved a very high emission reduction. This project proves, not only to Abu Dhabi and The Middle East, but also to the whole world that The Sniffers can achieve massive emission and cost reductions for our customers.”

These developments, along with the firm growing its employee level to approximately 140, led to it being in the top three in the Trends Gazellen award 2013 in the medium-sized companies category. “We used to be classed as a small company, under 100 personnel, but in the last two years we have jumped up to the bigger category and are now classified as a small-medium sized company. Although we offer niche services it was a great achievement to win this award and be recognised,” enthuses Hans.

“The Sniffers still achieved growth in 2012 despite the industry being more cautious and projects being delayed while companies reviewed budgets. Compared to low activity last year in the market we see a totally different picture this year as the industry settles itself into a more secure situation than it was in one or two years ago.”

It is partly due to the economic crisis that the company’s energy loss reduction projects have increased in importance as they offer high financial payback in a short amount of time. Through its fugitive emission management product (SFEMP) and flare emission monitoring service, its pipeline integrity management software (PERSEUS) and its steam loss reduction management software (SNIFTRAP), it can offer cost effective services that deliver results that are beneficial to the industry as a whole. “It is not only the reduction of energy, the reduction of process optimisation can really gain customers hard cash, even after a few weeks or a few months,” says Hans.

As governments across the globe look into lowering effects on the environment, The Sniffers’ years of experience in emission reduction projects and techniques gives it a strong advantage in the industry. “We have always been at the forefront in the development of these techniques, even though it wasn’t a requirement,” says Hans. “This gives us a huge advantage as we have been working on these emission reduction projects for more than five years and we feel that the government is consulting The Sniffers for advice and support to gauge what is possible. Over the next three years we expect to play a major part in emission reduction as we can be a big advantage to both governments and the industry. The Sniffers is also seeing that several countries and governments around the world are beginning to look to the emissions from storage tanks, and in this field The Sniffers is a frontrunner with its seven years of experience in storage tanks emissions projects.”

The Sniffers NV
Services: Emission management and pipeline inspection