FTSE 250 Wood Group eyes up Humber opportunity

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 8 Jun 2017

FTSE 250 listed Wood Group has underlined its clear intentions to become a force in the Humber region, with work ongoing to win business that could see it employ between 200 and 300 people.

The Aberdeen-headquartered giant is emerging from a purely upstream oil background to embrace a mixed energy portfolio, with offshore wind, gas and pharmaceuticals also in the mix.

An eight-strong senior team met with more than 250 business representatives at Grimsby’s Humber Royal Hotel as the gravitas of the opportunity was made clear, while the strength of the area’s industrial cluster shone through.

Total, Dunlop Oil & Marine, Fes-Ex and Inter Terminals Immingham were just some of those represented, with support from Grimsby Renewables Partnership, Team Humber Marine Alliance and Humber Local Enterprise Partnership leant to organiser NOF Energy.

Brian Chalmers, strategy and business development director at the 105 year-old business, which employs more than 7,000 people in the UK and has revenues of $5 billion globally, said: “We are pursuing a number of opportunities around the Humber region. At this stage we are positioning for these opportunities, and if successful we will definitely be looking to set up here.

“Typically the sites we support require 200 to 300 people, it is mostly large infrastructure.

“We are in a process at present, and it would be in appropriate to talk about that, but we can talk about our strategic vision.

“20 per cent of our UK revenues will be in downstream by 2020. That gives an idea of the effort we are putting in. We believe we have something to offer the sector.

“We also know you don’t get a free pass to enter in to a new sector, so that’s why we want a world class supply chain to come with us. Hopefully this is the start of that journey.”

The company has acquired more than 60 businesses in the past decade as it focuses on providing maintenance, modification, engineering, operations and industrial services.

It appears an arrival would take the form of a handover of operations of an asset rather than building new.

Steve Henry, Wood Group’s UK business manager, said: “Success for Wood Group is success for our customer and our supply chain. Success breeds success and that success creates an environment to sustain and develop our businesses, and to grow, and that’s what we’re all after.

“To be successful we need to surround ourselves with great people. What are we looking for from our supply chain? We want great players, players that can be strategic partners, people we can call on and depend upon.

“We need to make ourselves as local as possible in a particular sense. We are looking at what services you provide, what facilities you have, where you are based and what your capability is. Within that there is a question of flexibility. The past two years have been pretty dramatic and I am sure you have felt that as well. We have got to be adaptable, we are interested in history, you have existing relationships and credibility, and we want to capitalise on that.”

He spoke of the importance of aligned values over safety, assurance and integrity, adding: “If we can establish good working relationships it will provide foundations and cornerstones to place our business and grow.”

In terms of scale the event was on a par with Dong Energy’s last major supply chain event at Grimsby Town Hall, with delegates taking over the hotel for the day as the morning session broke out into one-to-one meetings and speed networking.

 Mandy Liddell, European supply chain manager, said: “We are here because we know we need to find new suppliers from this area and help us broaden our service in downstream and midstream markets.

“We are delighted about how many people have come. We have already seen some interesting new products that we will definitely be taking back to engineers, project managers and our wider supply chain team.”

Wood Group already has links to the area, with clients including BP, Total and ConocoPhillips, with AIS – a recent addition to the Catch beacon training facility at Stallingborough - the training partner.

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