Growing Engineering Business Delivering North Sea Cost Reduction Need

An Aberdeen-based engineering and design business is seeing rapid growth as it changes the way oil and gas engineering projects are delivered, whilst providing the industry with significant cost savings at a time when cost efficiency is taking centre stage.

Established six months ago by Colin Bruce, an experienced chartered engineer in the oil and gas industry, Step Change Engineering is taking an innovative approach to delivering design and engineering projects for clients. It has identified a gap in the market for an engineering and design firm to deliver smaller projects and repair orders for oil and gas assets with significant cost and schedule savings.

Step Change Engineering is changing how engineering projects are delivered by efficient use of engineering applications, new technology, and challenging non-essential work that does not affect the asset’s overall integrity or safety. It is also working closely with fabricators to reduce project lifecycle costs and schedules. This method has in the past six months seen the firm achieve a minimum of 30% cost savings on projects for clients.

With the oil and gas industry currently facing a balancing act of investment to extend the operational lifespan of North Sea platforms to maximise exploration – while meeting stringent health and safety legislation – and cost cutting to improve efficiencies, innovation is needed. By collaborating with clients and fabricators, utilising new technologies such as hand-held scanning technology and more effective use of engineering software, Step Change Engineering is delivering this.

Integrity and taking ownership of projects are at the core of the business, and as such all key personnel within the business have a shareholding in the company. The firm has established a hand-picked team of experienced oil and gas professionals to manage its projects.

To date Step Change Engineering has gained £250,000 of contracts and is on target to turnover £1.5million in 2015. It has expanded its workforce to manage the growing workload and the recent appointments of managing director John Wilson and consultancy director Satnam Shoker has taken the workforce to 20. This is anticipated to double to 40 by the year end.

In order to accommodate this growth the firm last week relocated to new offices in Regent Centre at Aberdeen Harbour, with room to expand to 5,000sq. ft.. Step Change Engineering plans to increase turnover to £5million in 2016 with a 60-strong workforce, while its long-term aim is to employ a maximum of around 130 staff.

Managing director John Wilson, technical director Colin Bruce and consultancy director Satnam Shoker

(L to R) Managing director John Wilson, technical director Colin Bruce and consultancy director Satnam Shoker

Colin Bruce, founder and technical director, said: “The North Sea oil and gas sector has entered an interesting phase of its development, one where both investment and cost savings need to be delivered hand-in-hand to ensure a sustainable future. It was clear that to achieve this an innovative, collaborative and flexible approach was required, and only a smaller more responsive business could deliver this, which led to Step Change Engineering’s creation.

“It is our aim to grow Step Change Engineering at a manageable rate and not become unwieldy in size.Growing too large would dilute the flexibility and responsiveness that we as a smaller organisation can achieve.

John Wilson, managing director, said: “The changes to the tax regime announced in the budget will put confidence back in the market, but all sectors have a role to play in helping to reduce costs. It is in everyone’s interest to increase the longevity of North Sea exploration and production and as an industry we need to look at all the potential efficiency savings that can be made. This is exactly what we as a company are doing.”

“We are already making a huge difference to at least six North Sea assets. Our approach is dramatically reducing costs by changing both technical and commercial approaches to delivering the project lifecycle. This is an exciting time, where making a difference in this time of uncertainty is extremely rewarding for all parties. We are keen to make a step change in engineering across the whole of the North Sea’s assets”

Step Change Engineering is an Aberdeen-based engineering and design business focussed on changing the way in which repair orders, minor modifications and small brownfield projects are delivered to the oil and gas industry. Working closely with operators and fabricators, the firm aims to remove non-essential engineering activities, while maximising the use of fit-for-purpose technology to provide cost savings of at least 30%.

For further information, please contact Step Change Engineering at or 01224 460460.