Interview with CEO: UIS for New Approach to Subsea Integrity
This year’s Offshore Technology Conference has seen the launch of a new subsea company, Underwater Integrity Solutions (UIS).
The Houston-based UIS, is an independent company, focused on underwater integrity, production assurance and life extension for subsea fields.
UIS leadership team comprises of Chief Executive Officer Bill Boyle, Chief Financial Officer Mark Webster and Chief Operating Officer Guido Bressani, and in Aberdeen, Chief Commercial Officer Neill Kelly, and Chief Technology Officer, Geoff Fisher.
Subsea World News spoke to UIS CEO, Bill Boyle, in order to bring you more insight into development of UIS, it’s plans for the future and the advantages that the company brings to the market.
Congratulations on the establishment of Underwater Integrity Solutions. What better place to announce the company than OTC, what were the initial reactions?
Reaction and feedback have been extremely positive from across the industry. There is real inerest in a dedicated, independent and global approach to subsea integrity which will enable operators to drive more value from their underwater assets. We have also received interest from companies who are interested in talking to us about strategic partnerships and acquisitions.
The concept for a new, dedicated, independent and global approach to subsea integrity has been in the gestation period for about two years. UIS has been in the planning stages since the end of last year.
What makes UIS different from the other buy and build strategy companies and what advantages do you bring to the market?
It is not so much our buy and build strategy that will differentiate us. It is our approach to the current market.
UIS is aiming to change the approach to subsea integrity, over time, by providing a different choice to the market. Currently, E&P companies have two main choices. They can engage a major vessel owing/operating contractor or a large engineering company, both of which offer some underwater integrity services as part of much wider offerings. These companies are not solely dedicated to integrity nor are they independent. For example, a vessel owner / operator’s priority is on the utilization of the vessel, not the operator’s asset. Or they can manage a variety and number of smaller suppliers with specific capabilities and integrate the service offering themselves, in different parts of the world.
UIS aims to offer a new approach, free from the constraints of owning vessels or ROVs, independent and dedicated solely to delivering the best solution for underwater asset integrity. Essentially, we are proposing a joined-up approach to a fragmented market, offering customers broader and better access to specific and bundled services, where the customer wants this.
There is no one company in the market today that is solely focused on delivering an independent, end-to-end underwater asset integrity services that addresses the multiple challenges of cost, production assurance and field life extension.
Our independence, global presence and sole focus on subsea integrity and assurance will be our competitive edge, differentiating UIS from what is currently being offered in the marketplace.
The company is backed by $150 million from private equity player HitecVision, what are your plans for this year, can we expect any interesting developments soon, first acquisitions?
HitecVision has committed $150m of equity finance to UIS. Leveraging this investment to secure additional funding, UIS will have significant capacity to invest in acquiring businesses to build an independent, global capability in subsea integrity with the aim of maximising oil and gas operators’ financial return on subsea assets over their operational life.
We are in discussions with a number of companies with a view to making our first acquisitions in September this year, with two other to follow very shortly after that.
Our acquisitions will be focused predominantly on small to medium-sized companies with specialised offerings in the areas of engineering and consulting; inspection and condition monitoring data management; sensor, monitoring and repair products; and subsea services.
In addition we will be researching a number of other opportunities to service the operator’s subsea assets in a more cost effective manner, two of which are gaining real early prominence. These are outsourcing integrity to the supply chain from operators and strategic partnerships across the supply chain to develop new technology.
Do you think it is the right time to launch the company considering the market uncertainty, project delays and E&P cost cuts?
Absolutely yes. UIS is launching at a time when the trend for operations in deeper water and in more hostile environments is continuing. There are about 5,000 operational subsea wells around the world with almost 7,000 predicted by 2020. Subsea global annual operating expenditure is currently around $10 billion and expected to grow strongly over the course of the next few years.
Today, there is a need to significantly reduce subsea operating costs, increase efficiency and extend field life and hence value from subsea fields. Against that background, the UIS vision is to become a leading provider of independent underwater integrity and production assurance solutions.
As you already mentioned, UIS will buy businesses and form strategic partnerships, any partnership in particular?
We will be looking to partner with organisations who can add value to what we are aiming to do and help us deliver a joined-up approach to a currently fragmented market and to help us achieve our vision of becoming a leading provider of independent underwater integrity solutions.
Since 2013 you have been Senior Vice President of Subsea Technologies at Forum Energy Technologies, what made you take the job at UIS?
This is a unique opportunity to build a global company of scale that will play, in time, a major role in the sustainable future of the subsea oil and gas industry. In a way it’s the challenge of creating a global independent dedicated subsea integrity player and in so doing being able to focus on subsea assets in a way that has not been done before by the supply chain, in pursuit of the operators goals.