Michael Lewis, Ottoway Engineering Group Business Development Manager, at the construction site of the Drilling Fluid Supply Base at Berth 25, Port Adelaide. (Photo 414789)
South Australia’s first drilling fluid supply base is taking shape as local industry excitement grows in BP’s Great Australian Bight Exploration Drilling program.
Approximately 1000 companies across industry sectors have registered an interest in participating in the landmark project, which is generating much needed economic activity for the state.
The level of interest on the Industry Capability Network (ICN) Gateway portal is one of the highest on record and further evidence of how local industry is throwing its support behind the project.
One South Australian company that is already heavily involved is Ottoway Engineering, which has designed and constructed the large tanks crucial to the recycling of drilling liquid to be used by the mobile offshore drilling unit.
Weighing in at 20 t a piece and measuring 12 m high, a total of 10 bespoke tanks will be installed in March for commissioning by August at the Berth 25 site in Port Adelaide, which is currently under construction.
Design coordinated in Ottoway’s Adelaide office to high industry standards and constructed at its Whyalla manufacturing facilities, the tanks will be used to store and treat the various types of spent drilling fluid which is then recycled and re-used in the drilling process.
BP is proposing to drill four exploration wells in Commonwealth marine waters in the Great Australian Bight to determine whether commercial quantities of hydrocarbon resources exist within the permit areas. The proposed drilling area has water depths of 1000–2500 m and at the closest point is ~400 km west of Port Lincoln and 300 km southwest of Ceduna. This follows a 3D seismic survey completed in 2012 by the international oil and gas company, which was one of the largest surveys of its kind in Australia with the acquisition of 12 417 km2 of data.
Formed in 1995, Ottoway Engineering and sister company Ottoway Fabrication is a leading mechanical fabrication and installation contracting company. Employing approximately 280 staff it provides specialised services to the petrochemical, mining, defence, civil infrastructure and water industries. The company, which is wholly owned by the publicly listed E & A Group of Companies, has also been awarded the Phase Two Piping, Manifolding, Mechanical, Structural Electrical and Tank Installation Site Works Contract to be undertaken at Berth 25 which is expected to be completed by midyear ready for drilling to commence later in the year.
Group Business Development Manager at Ottoway Engineering, Mr Michael Lewis, said the firm prided itself on providing high quality fabrication and installation solutions to the oil and gas sector where it had strong pedigree and serviced many large international companies.
‘To be working on the state’s first drilling fluid supply base is an exciting challenge for our local team,’ Mr Lewis said.
‘It’s a great opportunity for our team to be working closely with such professional international operators as M-I SWACO, Schlumberger, Case and BP and open global networks that may create further business outcomes in the future.
‘We were keen to be involved in such a high value project taking place right on our doorstep.
‘Winning contracts for projects such as the drilling fluid supply base is a real vote of confidence in our business and allows us to maintain our skilled workforce in the state.
‘There is no doubt the market is very competitive but we are cautiously optimistic for the future industry outlook. Our firm has grown steadily over the years based on our ability to identify and pursue new business opportunities, not be afraid to take on new challenges but most importantly deliver to our client’s expectations.
’Ottoway Engineering is targeting future growth within and beyond the energy sector with the defence sector, where it already has an impressive track record, another key market it has earmarked for expansion.
‘Geographically we’ll go where the work is, but we see strong potential for our business particularly in Queensland and Western Australia as well as South Australia,’ Mr Lewis said.
‘Our long-standing relationship with ICN has been very beneficial along this growth path. We place high value on the ICN team’s ability to help get our company in front of international procurement managers.’
ICN SA Supply Consultant David Land said Ottoway Engineering had proven time and time again it had the transferable skills and approach to meet any industry challenge presented to it.
‘Ottoway Engineering typifies the high calibre of supply companies that project procurement managers can tap into here in South Australia,’ Mr Land said.
‘The exploration drilling program is very important to local companies like Ottoway and the wider industry. It’s pleasing to see so many companies putting up their hand to be involved in this project. It further demonstrates the strength and hunger of our local supply industry.
‘We need engineering projects of this kind to maintain industry capability and a skilled workforce, particularly as we are between shipbuilding projects and experiencing tough conditions in mining.
’While the greatest scope for local input in the exploration drilling program lies in a potential future development and production phase, in the meantime there have been opportunities to support supply vessels, aircraft and drilling rigs with a range of services, products and infrastructure. Logistics and warehousing, machine shop, environmental, medical and catering services with work packages at lower supply chain tiers are also available on ICN Gateway.
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