Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Group Launches Latest Venture in North East

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Group Launches Latest Venture in North East

Article excerpt

Byline: ENGINEERING TOM KEIGHLEY tom.keighley@ncjmedia.co.uk

ENGINEERING group Royal IHC has launched a new subsea oil and gas business in the North East to ready itself for an upturn in the market.

ROYAL IHC, the Dutch shipbuilding group behind Stocksfield-based IHC Engineering Business, has opened the doors of IHC Concept.

The 11-strong business will focus on designing and manufacturing subsurface equipment and infrastructure.

Former Wilton Engineering Services Ltd man Andy Eaton leads the venture, which aims to create another 14 jobs over the next three years to take its workforce to 25.

Based out of offices on Newcastle's Grey Street, the business launched with work from elsewhere in the Royal IHC group and is now focused on outside contracts.

Mr Eaton explained that IHC Concept is already working with Floating Cable Tanks and IHC's newly formed rentals business.

Citing a wealth of subsea skills in the region, he said: "There was an opportunity to form a team of people highly experienced in the subsea hardware field, which is new to IHC. The reality is that it's a risk to establish a business in the oil and gas sector given the declining market conditions, but there's also a huge opportunity which IHC recognises in establishing itself now, ready for when it picks up again.

"This business will allow IHC to focus on complex subsea engineering technology. We're going to focus on working with local companies in the supply chain - companies like GE Oil and Gas and Technip."

IHC Concept's launch on March 3 came just before group sister company IHC Engineering Business (IHC EB) announced a relocation of its North East operations to the Port of Blyth.

The move is expected to complete in early 2016 and is said to be driven by uncertainty in the oil and gas industry.

IHC EB's managing director Paul Hardisty said: "The decision to move to a single site operation was largely driven by the uncertainty in the oil and gas industry in the short to medium term. …

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