The end-to-end solution
With roots dating back to the mid-1960s, the EUPEC Group has over five decades of industry experience in the provision of reliable solutions for the ‘end-to-end’ protection of steel pipelines on both onshore and offshore pipeline industries. The company was founded as ISOPIPE SA in Sedan, Eastern France in 1964 and then a decade later the business was expanded with the establishment of an anti-corrosion plant in Grande-Synthe in 1974. Over the subsequent years, EUPEC continued to develop by adding further services and facilities to its portfolio. Today the company operates as a subsidiary of Mutares AG, employing some 250 employees across sites within France and Germany.
The portfolio of services on offer from EUPEC is today comprised of solutions including internal pipe linings, external coatings, concrete weight coatings, thermal insulation, bends and fittings, as well as unique reel-to-reel coating services. The provision of these services has allowed EUPEC to develop a flexible base of services that has been applied within several industry sectors for clients operating across the globe. “Over the years EUPEC has grown to include further applications such as concrete weight coatings and custom coatings, as well as specific coatings for bends and other subsea structures. The latest addition to the company’s portfolio is its reel-to-reel service, where EUPEC loads the client’s pipes onto a reel before recoating them and placing them on another reel for delivery. This is for small diameter reeled pipes of between one inch to three inches that are typically used with umbilical offshore equipment,” elaborates CEO Bernard Guisol. “Today the company’s main activities are spread across three sites in the vicinity of Dunkirk and we have further people attached to clients’ yards and pipe lay vessels in Angola, Nigeria and Norway for example. Previously EUPEC has recently deployed staff in Texas and Brazil, but these jobs have now been completed.”
Throughout all of its activities EUPEC has delivered services to the offshore industry’s main contractors, including Subsea 7, Saipem and Technip. Furthermore the company is also able to work with major oil operators directly, including Total and Exxonmobil. During April 2015 it was announced that EUPEC had signed a frame agreement with North Caspian Operating Company (NCOC) for a major project to supply up to 200km of pipe coating. “The range of the contract is more in the range of €30 million and will be completed by the end of the year or early January 2015,” Bernard says. “It consists of anti-corrosion coating and concrete weight coating of about 180 km of 26 inch pipe, which are fabricated mainly in Germany and are clad pipes. The pipes will be delivered to our facilities here in Dunkirk to then be shipped aboard the client vessels to Kazakhstan. This job has kept around 100 members of the team busy throughout 2015.”
In addition to its on-going operations for NCOC, EUPEC was recently awarded a large contract relating to the Egina project in Nigeria with Saipem. “This project is starting now and will keep us busy throughout 2016 and 2017. It consists of field joint coatings in Nigeria and will later involve field joint coatings onboard of Saipem’s pipe lay vessels,” Bernard explains. “This will be our major project for the moment but we have also been invited to tender for the second phase of the Nord Stream project. EUPEC executed the Nord Stream phase one concrete weight coating by implementing two concrete plants, with one located in Finland and the other in Germany. This job was completed in 2012 and was a €700 million project for EUPEC. Now there is a second phase, which is of a similar scope for two power lines of 48 inch and 1250 km each to be laid in the Baltic Sea. We should receive tender documents in November or December 2015 and should we be awarded the project, work will begin later in 2016.”
Although the company has remained highly active in recent years, EUPEC is aware of the tough trading conditions that have come about due to the deflated price of oil. While the number of new projects is slowed and oil operators seek to reduce costs, EUPEC will consider new partnerships and markets in the future to ensure that the company is able to maintain a healthy level of activity. “The oil business is a bit volatile at the moment, due to the oil barrel price, which is still down to $45 or $50 per barrel. This had certainly delayed some of the major projects that we were expecting to go ahead and we know that the major oil companies are looking to reduce their investment over the next few years,” Bernard reveals. “This may create a challenge for EUPEC and as such we are looking to diversify our activities. We have been talking to potential partners in the Middle East and in the Gulf of Mexico and believe that we could soon sign joint ventures, or co-operation agreements with partners in the Middle East, Far East or Gulf of Mexico.”
Despite the challenges created by the current price of oil, EUPEC is confident that through its experience and professionalism, the business will remain strong and in an excellent position to assist operators once they have established that the time is right to invest in new projects. “The flexibility of our teams and the quality of the work that we have undertaken over the past five years represent a key strength for EUPEC,” Bernard concludes. “Certainly we are in a very strong financial position at the moment and that will assist EUPEC in securing more work in the future.”
Services: Pipeline and field joint coatings