Underwater Engineering Services

Steadfast support

Highly regarded for its reliability and in-depth product knowledge, Underwater Engineering Services (UES) possesses years of experience in the subsea industry worldwide.

Focusing on the diving, ROV, construction and survey sectors, the company designs, manufactures and rents equipment to the subsea marine industry from its purpose-built workshop and facilities in Scotland.

Underwater Engineering Services’ managing director, Jeff Riddoch, provides an overview of the Aberdeenshire-based service company: “We’re a small business with 11 full time staff, who have been in the industry for a long time. We were formed three and a half years ago and have grown steadily, to the point that we now offer 200 items of equipment. Although we’re serving mainly major subsea contractors in the UK, the nature of their businesses means that our equipment works worldwide. Moreover, our website generates business from across the globe, particularly the Far and Middle Eastern regions.”

Elaborating on Underwater Engineering Services’ scope, Jeff adds: “We operate in the North Sea, and the European sector is by far the biggest region for us. However, our equipment has been put to work wherever the oil industry operates, from Brazil to West Africa to Greenland, so there are very few areas where we haven’t been as a company.”

UES operates an accredited IS0 9001:2008 Quality management system and works closely with both clients and suppliers in order to meet the demands of the industry.

Clients tend to appreciate Underwater Engineering Services’ straightforward approach to designing and purveying subsea equipment. “We do not regard ourselves as being a ‘high-tech’ organisation,” Jeff reveals. “Our approach has always been to simplify whenever possible. It is easy to complicate situations however it requires more thought in order to make things simpler and more reliable.”

Expanding on the business’ qualities, he continues: “Our key strength is experience, coupled with the ability to look at problems within a specific project and come up with a cost effective solution.

In terms of recent work and current developments, Underwater Engineering Services has made modifications to its tools for ROV and diver use. Jeff elaborates: “We’ve added a Jupiter 3000-metre subsea Torque Tool counter system which allows us to use the tools anywhere in the world.

The business has also recently added a dedicated Rentals manager to its workforce in order to ensure efficient and quick response to client’s enquiries. “This will probably be the limit of our investment in people this year,” Jeff says. “Finding the right people is always a challenge; we started the company when the industry was at a peak, which made it difficult to find the best people at the right price, and the same challenge still exists now that there are more people out there looking for work.

Indeed, it is Underwater Engineering Services’ reliable workforce and industrious attitude that has fortified the business in respect of the current global recession, and Jeff feels confident about the company’s ability to secure future work. “It would be foolish to say we aren’t concerned but we increased our turnover last year by 15 per cent in 2009 and our aim is to maintain that level for 2010. “The first quarter will be particularly challenging but we believe that the market will pick up in the second half of the year. Some of our customers are experiencing difficulties at the moment but there’s still work our there, so our approach is to try harder to win contracts and complete them to the best of our ability.”

It’s likely that there’ll be a shift in the work undertaken as more opportunities related to renewable energy enter Underwater Engineering Services’ market. Already, 20 per cent of its business is directly connected to renewables and a lot of offshore oil and gas technology will migrate into the renewable market.

Considering the future, Jeff concludes: “We’ll be consolidating the business over the next few years and plan to expand our range of tooling and our capabilities. We don’t necessarily want to become a huge company or a one-stop-shop – we simply aim to be the best at what we do.”

Underwater Engineering Services
Products: Marine and subsea support equipment