Shetland engineering firm Ocean Kinetics is undergoing a major expansion to meet growing demand from the oil and gas industry.
From a workforce of less than 40 last year, the company now employs 50 staff and expects to have 60 on the payroll by 2014.
It has completed its move into a new purpose-built £3 million building in Lerwick.
The energy-efficient building at the Port Business Park, Gremista, houses specially-designed workshops, offices and a store.
It represents a major investment by the firm, which had a turnover of £5.5 million last year, amid a significant increase in oil and gas activity at Sullom Voe, as well as offshore and the prospect of large-scale renewables development in Shetland.
Ocean Kinetics managing director John Henderson said: “It’s an investment for the future.”
“We have invested in machinery, staff and space that will allow us to do more work to the very highest standards.”
“We use the skills and knowledge we have gained, in the tough maritime climate of Shetland, to successfully complete jobs both in the UK and internationally.”
The ambitious company, which already has a workshop at Altens in Aberdeen and operates throughout the UK, recently won a large contract in the Middle East.
The overseas contract is in Jordan, where Ocean Kinetics will be responsible for corrosion prevention at a new container port in the Gulf of Aqaba
The firm previously installed corrosion prevention systems at Harwich International Port, Cruise Terminal 2 at Dover Harbour and Felixstowe Harbour.
Ocean Kinetics is also designing and manufacturing specialist equipment for BP and other oil majors.
Mike Boyes, technical manager for the firm’s oil and gas projects, said “Ocean Kinetics is currently undertaking a range of projects for clients in the petrochemical industry.”
“We are part way through the design and build of an offshore pipeline PIG handling system, that will be used on a major oil installation in the North Sea.”
“Our design offers significant weight savings and operational improvements over the existing unit. This scope of work follows on from an earlier successful project to design and build an onshore cradle to handle and transport PIGs at a receiver.”
“Ocean Kinetics' ability to generate and render 3D models in Solidworks has enabled our clients to review and comment on proposals during the early design phases and has facilitated us to better embody their requirements and rapidly incorporate their feedback.”
The firm is also currently going through the auditing process for ISO 3834, the quality mark for welding and fabrication capabilities.
More than double the size of the company’s previous premises nearby, the new building, designed by architect Alan McKay and constructed by Shetland firm Hunter and Morrison, has more than 3,600 sq m of floor space.
There are areas for heavy fabrication and general engineering, machine shops, segregated areas for welding exotics and a dedicated NDT (non-destructive testing) and pressure testing area.
Upstairs, there is a sizeable office area for design, planning, quality control and draughting work.
The building conforms to the highest environmental standards, with biomass boilers feeding more than eight miles of underfloor heating to all areas in the offices and workshops and a very high level of insulation.
Billy Morrison of Hunter and Morrison said: “Having built John’s first premises, we were particularly pleased to secure the contract for his new building.”
“This was a major contract for us, which involved erecting 150 tonnes of steel work, more than 5,000 sq m of cladding, 13,000 concrete blocks and 1,000m 3 of concrete, which has been built to a very high standard.”
“We feel that the building reflects John and his progressive company and we wish them well in the future.”
Almost £750,000 of the funding for the new building came from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and the Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) scheme.
Mark Georgeson, HIE's head of business support, said: "We are delighted to have supported Ocean Kinetics' investment in the new facilities in Lerwick. We look forward to continuing to work with the business as it grows, building on its excellent industry reputation both locally and internationally."
He added: "It's another example of Shetland's focus on developing its capacity to meet the needs of energy developments in the North Sea and beyond."