The Magazine for Underwater Professionals

Mar/Apr 2017


Bibby Offshore appoints director of diving and extends 'Bibby Topaz' charter

Aberdeen, UK-based subsea services provider Bibby Offshore has announced the promotion of Allan Nairn to director of diving and the long-term extension to the charter of its dive support vessel Bibby Topaz.

Nairn joined Bibby Diving Services in 2010 as offshore project manager with more than 30 years of experience in the subsea sector. In his new role, Nairn will be responsible for leading all diving related activity within the business. He will ensure day-to-day diving operations are executed safely, efficiently and continue to meet the high standards Bibby Offshore is known for, said the company.

Commenting on his new position, Nairn said: “I am excited by the opportunities my new role will create. To date, I have worked on operations throughout the company’s South East Asia and Houston bases, as well as its headquarters in Aberdeen.”


He continued: “I look forward to using my experience and industry relationships to enhance Bibby Offshore’s diving operations, while playing a key role in delivering strategic results for long-term success.”

Howard Woodcock, chief executive at Bibby Offshore, said: “We are delighted to promote Allan to the position of director of diving, Allan’s commitment to the Group and many years of experience makes him ideally suited for the role.

“The creation of this position was part of our management restructure, designed to ensure we are well placed to continue to succeed in this competitive marketplace and meet our long-term strategic objectives.”

  • Allan Nairn

Woodcock added that the charter extension of the DSV Bibby Topaz, owned by Volstad Maritime, Norway, allows Bibby Offshore to maintain and grow the Group’s market share in the North Sea DSV market. The Bibby Topaz has been a core part of Bibby Offshore’s fleet since its delivery in 2008, and has been identified as the best technical and commercial option for the Group, he said.

The new contract sees Bibby Offshore secure exclusive and uninterrupted access to the DSV until 31 December 2019, with flexible options to further extend the charter to the end of 2024.

“The Bibby Topaz has built a strong reputation with clients and is well established as our premier DSV in the North Sea. We are delighted to have secured an extension to the charter, which will maintain our capacity in the North Sea over the next two and half years, and allow us to continue to deliver comprehensive support for clients in this region,” said Woodcock.

M2 invests in people and premises

UK-based M2 Subsea reports it has opened a new office in Aberdeen and created 30 jobs.

The fledgling subsea business, which secured private equity investment towards the end of 2016, said it has moved people and equipment into substantial, headquarter premises in Arnhall Business Park at Westhill in Aberdeenshire.   

Aiming to become one of the largest independent providers of ROV services globally, M2 Subsea has got off to a flying start in 2017, recruiting onshore commercial and operational personnel, taking possession of 27 remotely operated vehicles and mobilising 10 of them onto a diverse fleet of subsea vessels.

The company, which is also based in Houston, USA, expects to create 50 onshore and 100 offshore jobs by the end of the year. Around 30 people have joined the management team in the UK and the US with more expected to be recruited as imminent contracts are signed, according to the firm.

M2 Subsea’s management team are confident of meeting their ambition to become a leader in remote intervention services in 18 months. They aim to do this by “offering safe, cost-effective services including survey, engineering, inspection, repair and maintenance, project management and execution and supply of personnel to the oil and gas, renewables and decommissioning markets”. 

Mike Arnold, chief executive officer of M2 Subsea, said: “The time is absolutely right for a new ROV services provider with a fresh approach that can, through experience, expertise, the correct asset base and lean management, dramatically reduce both cost and risk whilst continuing to provide a professional and quality service.”

UK subsea sector set to increase exports in 2017

British subsea companies are expecting to increase overseas activity in the next 12 months, according to a survey conducted by industry body Subsea UK. 

Of the 300 Subsea UK member companies surveyed, 27% are predicting increasing exports by 50% or more in 2017. More than half (56%) expect overseas sales to increase between 1% and 49% with only 17% not expecting any increase in export revenues. 


A third of companies surveyed do not yet know what effect Brexit will have on their export plans, with 49% believing that it will have no impact on their plans.


By comparison, 32% expect domestic revenues to remain static in 2017 while 22% are anticipating a decline in domestic sales. Of those who expect domestic revenues to increase, the majority are forecasting between 10% and 30% additional revenues from the UK Continental Shelf.  

Export sales currently account for more than half or more of the annual turnover of 32% of respondents with 55% seeing less than half of their turnover attributed to exports and only 13% with no export revenues.  

The majority of export sales are related to oil and gas, however 58% of respondents are also exporting to the renewables industry (33% in offshore wind and 19% in tidal). A quarter of respondents export to the defence sector, 22% to subsea mining and 18% to ocean science. 

Subsea UK chief executive Neil Gordon said: “The subsea industry remains a British export success story. These findings underline the global demand for UK subsea engineering, technology and services and the fact that our enterprising companies are increasing their export efforts in a bid to reduce the reliance on the mature North Sea. It is no surprise that the majority of growth will come from diversification, both into other sectors and other geographies. 

“However, companies must strive to maintain their market share in the North Sea where the focus on subsea tie-backs, squeezing more out of older assets and late life extension presents opportunities.” 

So-called “small pools” of hydrocarbons in the North Sea will also be a significant prize that will help achieve MER (maximising economic recovery) of the UK’s Oil & Gas reserves, according to Gordon. The technologies, methodologies and experience gained in unlocking these pools will be highly exportable, he said.  

“The potential on our doorstep is important but we have to react and adapt to the greater, longer-term opportunities that lie in international waters,” Gordon added. “And our findings reveal that our subsea companies are doing just that.” 

According to the survey, the United States is the largest export market for UK subsea companies, followed by West Africa, then South East Asia, Australia and South America. However, a third of respondents are also exporting to Mexico, China, India and Russia. 

The picture changes slightly for 2018 and beyond when companies are looking to increase exports to West Africa, South East Asia and the Middle East. 

When asked what support they receive from government and economic development agencies, 49% of respondents answered none while 32% receive support, ranging from market intelligence and advice to trade missions, grants and support.


More than a third made positive comments about the support they receive from Subsea UK but would like to see increased support from agencies such as the UK Department for International Trade and Scottish Development International in the form of more subsidies for trade missions, more targeted advice and intelligence and less red tape in accessing grants or funding. 

Rovco dives into international waters

UK-based Rovco reports it has taken its firsts steps into international waters and made significant progress towards growing its global footprint following the completion of two subsea survey contracts in South East Asia and the Middle East.  

The contract awards saw Rovco perform advanced subsea survey work in Fiji and Oman, utilising its state-of-the-art Forum (USA) sub-Atlantic Mojave, Seaeye (UK) Falcon and VideoRay (USA) Pro 4 ROVs.  

Launched in September, the company said it has also been awarded its first ROV consultancy project with one of the UK’s leading engineering solutions providers and recently employed two new ROV pilots. It said it is now looking to appoint a chief technology officer as it continues to grow its UKCS position and gear up for further overseas expansion.  

“It has been an incredible first few months in business,” said Rovco chief executive Brian Allen. “We have far exceeded our initial sales predictions and we are currently preparing for a number of projects that are due to start this month. 

“These contract wins are testament to the hard work and dedication of our team, who have made a concerted effort to explore markets and developments which could really benefit from the expertise of the UK oil and gas industry.  

“Looking ahead, we aim to form strategic partnerships with local companies across the globe in a bid to increase trade opportunities, exporting our skills and expertise to overseas markets. We are in a strong position to support both existing and new clients, delivering cost-effective engineering methods for even the most complex projects across the globe.”





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