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Subsea demand drives strong growth at Express Engineering

Posted on 16 Jun 2024. Edited by: John Hunter. Read 425 times.
Subsea demand drives strong growth at Express EngineeringGlobal demand in subsea markets for oil and gas continues to drive growth at Gaeshead-based manufacturing, assembly and testing specialist Express Engineering, which is investing in new equipment and its workforce.

The business has been enjoying a period of unprecedented growth during the last 12-18 months — and has invested in expanding its workforce while building a record pipeline of new work. With buoyant oil and gas prices and optimistic five-year forecasts from energy specialists like Westwood, Express Engineering is seeing a strong upturn in sales for its key products and services.

Chris Thompson, Express Engineering Group chairman, said: “The subsea sector is in a strong position for the next five years. I am delighted to say our order book has reached record levels, the highest in our 50-year history, and it is only expected to increase further across the remainder of 2024. With demand for products high, we hope to invest further in our capability this year, which will include an investment in a coordinate measuring machine and a horizontal borer.”

The current order book stands at around £70 million for the next 12 to 18 months – with the group receiving an intake of £10 million in new orders in the last month alone. Express Engineering has seen sales in the oil and gas sector grow significantly in recent years resulting in a jump in revenues from £20 million in 2019 to more than £60 million in 2024/25.

Mr Thompson added that the acquisition of QA Weld Tech in 2023, which is based on the Riverside Industrial Park in Middlesbrough, had made a positive contribution to the Group’s overall turnover. The company is a leading provider of integrated welding and engineering services. “Since acquiring QA Weld Tech, we have integrated the business into the Group and invested in new processes, shift patterns and capital equipment while also expanding the team in Middlesbrough. In fact, we have doubled turnover and are securing more work from overseas, as well s breaking into new international markets. The future bodes well for all our manufacturing facilities on Teesside and Tyneside.”

Building and strengthening the workforce and skillsets has been a major priority during the last year or more. Around 260 people work across multiple Team Valley sites for Express Engineering, while the headcount at QA Weld Tech has risen to 46.

Express Engineering managing director Gary Thirlwell added: “Our overall order book is so strong that we expect to increase our shift patterns and grow our head count even further during 2024, both in Gateshead and Middlesbrough, and we are looking to take on more apprentices.” The Group is currentlylooking to recruit fitters, assembly and test operators and CNC machinists at Express Engineering, while welders, platers and technical support staff are required at QA Weld Tech.

Internationally, Express Engineering has become a renowned global supply specialist for actuator assemblies, connection systems and tooling for wellheads, drilling and subsea tree structures. The company is also getting involved in subsea carbon-capture projects.

Collaborating with customers like TechnipFMC, Baker Hughes, OneSubsea and Aker Solutions, Express Engineering is a significant exporter of products, operating within various geographical regions, such as the North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, east coast of Brazil, east and west coasts of Africa, Malaysia and Australasia.