Express Expands in Recovering Subsea Equipment Sector


Subsea manufacturing specialist Express Engineering is enjoying buoyant growth and during 2020 will be investing and recruiting to meet further expansion in the oil and gas sector.

The international business is investing in a new £3.5m 48,000 sq ft assembly and test facility near its Gateshead headquarters in Team Valley, expecting to create another 30 posts.

Since embarking on a refocused business strategy at the end of 2018, Express Engineering has seen sales in the oil and gas sector grow significantly resulting in a jump in revenues to around £20m in 2019, on target to reach £40m during this year.

The company has recruited around 100 people in the last 12 months taking the workforce to more than 235.

This growth coincides with the re-appointment of a former management team which features original owner, Chris Thompson.

Chris Thompson, chairman of Express Engineering said: “Shortly after re-joining the company late in 2018 we took the decision to move away from a diversification strategy to refocus around the subsea oil and gas sector, where we made our reputation before the market collapsed in 2015.

“We’re well placed to take advantage of increasing enquiry activity and order levels in a recovering oil and gas sector. Based on current projections we see no reason why we cannot reach record revenues in two years time.”

Market intelligence shows a positive outlook for subsea ‘tree’ awards for the next few years, placing Express in a key position with customers in the subsea equipment sector. Outsourcing and supply chain management will also be an integral part of the accelerated growth strategy.

During the last year, Express Engineering focused on a new product strategy to become a supply specialist for actuator assemblies, connection systems and tooling for wellheads, drilling and subsea tree structures.

Managing director Gary Thirlwell explained: “We are transforming the business through an experienced management team, a new product strategy and an investment in infrastructure.

“It’s also fair to say we’re in the right place at the right time – we have the capacity and expertise to be able to respond to market demand.

“We currently have an order book of more than £40m for core products and connection systems. The pipeline for future business looks very strong, ensuring we continue to grow and strengthen our financial position.”

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