OAA 2014 honors offshore industry talents

Some of the offshore industry’s most innovative and successful companies and individuals were recognised at the 2014 Offshore Achievement Awards, with Decom North Sea chief executive Brian Nixon picking up the Significant Achievement Accolade.

OAA 2014 honors industry talents

Brian Nixon, winner of the Significant Achievement Award
Young Professional winner Raymond Mckenzie
Inspiring Leader winner Steve Nicol

Hydrasun received the award for Great Large Company, whilst Coretrax was named Great Small Company. Steve Walton, highly-regarded across the industry as a driving force for improving safety, received a posthumous Significant Achievement award for the contribution he made during his career. His widow Anne Marie collected the award.

More than 500 industry professionals came together at the 28th OAA awards ceremony at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre. The Society of Petroleum Engineers Aberdeen Section organised and hosted the awards for the third consecutive year, with the support of main sponsor TAQA.

Talent, technology, safety and success were key themes. The two new categories for this year – Environmentalist and Inspiring Leader – were awarded to TWMA and Steven Nicol of Halliburton respectively.

Ian Phillips, director of Pale Blue Dot Energy Limited and a director of SPE Aberdeen, chaired the OAA organising committee. Talking after the event, Ian Phillips said: “Judges were impressed with this year’s nominations, which were of an exceptionally high calibre and demonstrated expertise, innovation and great promise. We introduced two new categories to recognise the importance of environmental performance and strong leadership which proved popular. With record numbers of entries, all of the finalists should be extremely proud of themselves.’’

Anthony Onukwu, chairman of SPE Aberdeen, said: “Since re-launching the OAAs three years ago, the awards have gone from strength to strength, attracting record breaking audiences and increasing entries each year. SPE Aberdeen is proud to support innovation and recognise success across the UK energy industry.”

Brian Nixon, chief executive of Decom North Sea, said: “I am absolutely thrilled and most grateful to receive this prestigious industry award. It couldn’t come at a more appropriate time, as I will shortly be ‘decommissioning’ myself and heading into partial retirement.

“I believe the award recognises not just my efforts, but also those of the quite exceptional team that I have at Decom North Sea, and in particular Sarah Hillyear. So I was delighted to accept the award on behalf of the whole DNS team.”

Bob Drummon, chief executive of Hydrasun, winner of the Great Large Company category, said: “We are very honoured to have been chosen for such a prestigious award, especially in recognition of the world class calibre of the other nominations.

“Winning it is a fantastic achievement and clear recognition of everyone at Hydrasun’s hard work and dedication, and of the strong growth, development and overall performance of the company in recent years.”

The 2014 Offshore Achievement Award Winners in each category are:


Great Large Company (sponsored by Offshore Europe)



Great Small Company (sponsored by Wood Group PSN)


Working Together (sponsored by Robert Gordon University)

The Underwater Centre

Environmentalist (sponsored by AMEC)


Export Achievement (sponsored by Saltire Energy)


Safety Innovations (sponsored by Petrofac)

Stork – ERBAS

The Innovator (sponsored by BG Group)



Emerging Technology (sponsored by Nexen)

Guardian Global Technologies

Young Professional (sponsored by Maersk Oil)

Raymond MacKenzie, Nexen Petroleum UK


Inspiring Leader (sponsored by DOF Subsea)

Steve Nicol, Halliburton

Significant Achievement (sponsored by Aker Solutions)

Brian Nixon, Decom North Sea


More detail on winners:




This award recognises the professional capability and the wider contribution made to the offshore industry by a man or woman over the age of 35. The judges looked for clear evidence of their vision, achievements, milestones and the esteem in which they are held among their peers and the wider industry.



Brian Nixon’s long career in the energy industries started with private sector engineering organisations, including Motherwell Bridge and Wood Group.

Brian also has many years of public sector experience which started with a UK industry secondment as 1st Secretary, Oil & Gas, to the British Embassy in Angola in 2001, followed by a long period as Director of Energy with Scottish Enterprise.

He accepted his role as Chief Executive with Decom North Sea at the beginning of 2010 and is due to retire within the next few months. He has grown Decom North Sea to the successful organisation it is today, ensuring decommissioning activity is undertaken in the most safe, environmentally responsible, efficient and cost effective way. It now has more than 230 members drawn from a wide range of organisations from operators to supply chain companies.

Brian is a European Engineer, Chartered Engineer, Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and Fellow of the Energy Institute.


POSTHUMOUS – Steve Walton

Steve Walton started with Wood Group in 1989, making him one of the longest serving employees. He was a materials controller in the core services team and recognised as being one of the best in the business. He served as a safety rep for more than 23 years and was known to many for contributing to help make the North Sea Oil & Gas industry a safer place. He was regularly recognised for his role in developing and championing safety and latterly participated in the Step Change in Safety Leadership team to enhance workforce engagement. Sadly, Steve died last year.



The Inspiring Leader Award recognises the professional capability and the wider contribution made to the offshore oil and gas or renewables industry by a leader who has inspired their team, either in a mentorship capacity or as a manager, to deliver an outstanding result.


Steve Nicol has been described as a natural, inspiring leader and with 14 years of industry experience he is highly regarded throughout his workforce. As Red Spider Technology’s first employee, he showed both strong commitment and leadership that led him to be appointed as CEO. He was critical to securing the investment required for growth and signing the acquisition with Halliburton 2012. Post-acquisition, Steve continued to drive and focus the team to meet the challenges of integration. As Senior Product and Service Line Operations Manager, Steve’s global remit is to deliver aggressive growth, with a 50% increase in order book already recorded. Steve is truly an industry leader of significant standing with a considerable record of success.



The Young Professional Award recognises the professional capability and the wider contribution made to the offshore industry by a young man or woman under the age of 35.


Aged 26, Ray MacKenzie has already impressed Nexen’s senior management with the level of trust he has gained so early in his career, and by showing a real commitment to embracing the company’s core values. As a Subsea Controls Engineer, Ray has demonstrated the Nexen values: protecting other people and the environment and a commitment to excellence, accountability, integrity and courage. The latter has been displayed as Resident Engineer and Company Man on the Golden Eagle development, which saw him manage and co-ordinate engineers, many senior in age and experience. During the project he also identified and resolved issues safely, ensuring the work scope was delivered in a safe manner and there were no major delays. Ray’s can-do and pleasant nature has made him a real asset to Nexen. His professionalism is now being set as a benchmark for the company’s next intake of graduates



For businesses with fewer than 50 employees, judges sought evidence of the company’s development to date – including successful creation and growth of the company, clear strategic direction and strong product / service differentiation.


Coretrax was formed in 2009 with the aim of addressing the wellbore clean-up and well abandonment markets, with specific focus on developing innovative tools and fluids for the sector. Since its inception the company has added to its product offering, including services designed for the specialised well abandonment and drilling sector. Quality products and service, technical expertise and dedicated staff have allowed Coretrax to enter markets in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, with 100% client retention. Turnover doubled in 2013 to almost £4 million and international sales account for 70% of the business. Coretrax recently moved its local operations into larger, purpose-built premises in Aberdeen, with further facilities in Saudi Arabia and Iraq due to open this year. Employees have increased from two to 23 and this is expected to double within the next 12 months.




For companies with more than 50 employees operating in the offshore energy industry, judges looked for evidence of the company’s development to date and plans for the future success and growth of the company.



Hydrasun is a leading specialist provider of integrated fluid transfer, power and control solutions to the global energy industry. Hydrasun has developed from a local distributor into an international provider, currently exporting to over 58 countries worldwide. The company has operational bases and facilities in UK, Holland, Caspian, Dubai, Brazil and Angola. Sales offices and strategic partnerships have also been established in the Gulf of Mexico, Trinidad and Houston. Turnover for the year to the end of March 2013 was £106m whilst the company has achieved average growth of 27% per annum over the last 2 years. Forecast turnover is £130 million for the current financial year and its global staff numbers have increased by 60 (10%) within 12 months to 667. By presenting an integrated offering, Hydrasun is able to offer customers a unique service that goes beyond the supply of product, covering design, specification, engineering, manufacture, installation, flushing & testing, on-going inspection, maintenance and associated support services. Hydrasun continuously supports the geographical areas in which it operates and giving something back to the local community is high on its agenda. The company’s community involvement initiatives contribute to staff engagement and motivation.




The Emerging Technology Award recognises innovative new technology ideas developed in the UK for the offshore energy sector (oil and gas and all forms of renewables). The technology is expected to be at an early stage of development (up to and including the pilot installation or trial deployment stage). The judges looked for evidence of novelty and innovation in the idea, clear evidence that it addresses a need within the industry, and has a clear business case to take it forward.



Guardian’s integrated Ballistics Delivery System is a step-change in wireline perforating operations. Eliminating the need for multiple systems, it blends new technologies with traditional tools in a single unit. On surface, Guardian has integrated three separate items of surface equipment.  The unit consists of a logging panel for depth control, a control panel for deployment devices and a perforating panel. Real-time operation of the system can be accessed remotely through any web browser. This innovation continues down-hole, where the system can incorporate a multitude of systems including depth control devices, full orientation systems and digitally controlled detonator select fire switches. The Ballistics Delivery System is entering the commercialisation phase and can be described as a revolutionary advance in perforating.




The Innovator Award recognises excellence in innovative technological solutions developed in the UK for the offshore energy sector (oil and gas and all forms of renewables). The judges looked for evidence of how the technology is innovative and in particular how it is already contributing to the overall objective of reducing costs, increasing reliability, maximising recovery of hydrocarbon reserves and/ or improving the capture of renewable energy, as well as a strategy for successful market penetration and further development and/or deployment.


Tendeka’s FloSureTM Autonomous Inflow Control Device helps operators overcome the challenges of early water and gas breakthrough. It preferentially chokes unwanted produced fluids whilst promoting production of oil from an entire horizontal well. Responding to fluid velocity, FloSure has transformed the traditional Inflow Control Device from a passive technology to a fully autonomous device and adapts to changing parameters across production, allowing for a greater control of output. With over 1,000 units manufactured per month and 5,000 successful applications since early 2013, Tendeka is the first service company to commercialise the technology for high volume implementation.





The Safety Innovations Award recognises excellence in innovative technology and products that have been developed in the UK and which contribute to offshore safety. The judges looked for evidence of how the technology or system is innovative and in particular, how it contributes to the overall objective of improving individual, plant or operational safety in the offshore energy sector (oil and gas and all forms of renewables). They also looked for a clear strategy for further development and/or deployment of the technology or system.


Stork has identified a safety improvement for deep confined space operations, such as platform legs and FPSO tanks. Due to travelling distance inside these locations, conventional breathing systems cannot supply sufficient air to escape in an emergency. Stork’s solution is the Extended Reach Breathing Apparatus System (ERBAS) which is compact and easy to deploy inside confined spaces. As with traditional air supply methods, multiple refill stations are deployed throughout the exit route. However, ERBAS replaces the cylinder change out method by refilling the cylinder whilst still being worn by the operative. This allows the operative to refill their air cylinder in less than 60 seconds in one simple connection. The refill stations also contain a failsafe of six cylinders. ERBAS provides a safer and a more efficient method and ultimately may save lives.



This award celebrates business growth resulting from successful development of export activity in the offshore energy sector. The judges were looking for businesses that had instigated a clear and thorough export planning process, identified key export markets, achieved a successful market entry strategy and captured market share.


Over the last 3 years EV has gone from a small Norwich based company to a global leader in downhole video technology. Using in-house research and engineering capabilities, EV design and build wellbore camera systems that work 10,000m below surface in extreme environmental conditions. EV’s cameras can be deployed on electric line, slickline, coil tubing or drill pipe to provide video imagery in real time or memory mode. With over 90 employees at 17 worldwide locations, EV makes over 100 well interventions a month. Currently servicing over 300 clients across the globe, 80% of the company’s revenue is generated through exports. With a growth of over 2000% over the last 4 years, EV is a clear market leader in downhole video.



The Environmentalist Award recognises an outstanding environmental technology developed for and deployed in the offshore oil and gas or renewables industry. The award recognises technology that has reduced the environmental impact of the industry, supported sustainability and created new business opportunities as a result.



TWMA’s unique TCC RotoMill® and TCC RotoTruck® are designed to handle and treat drill cuttings at source. This eliminates cost, environmental impact and safety risks. Designed for the offshore environment, the TCC RotoMill prevents rigs producing drilling waste by using a process of thermal desorption. This separates drill cuttings and associated materials into their three constituent parts of oil, water and solids for recycling and reuse. Working on the same principal, the TCC RotoTruck is a fully mobile truck-mounted unit, designed specifically for treating drilling waste at an onshore rig site. Treating materials at source entirely removes the requirement to transport drilling wastes offsite for treatment or disposal. This technology eliminates drilling waste, ensuring minimal environmental impact, whilst maximising efficiencies and cost savings to operators.



The Working Together Award highlights excellence in collaboration between companies and organisations on an offshore oil and gas or marine renewables project.  Judges looked for evidence that working together had effectively delivered project objectives.


In recent years, the barrier to entering the subsea industry as a diver has been financial, rather than one of aptitude. The Underwater Centre identified an opportunity to work with Skills Development Scotland to train Scottish candidates to become commercial divers. Skills Development Scotland provided a funding package that meant that training became significantly more accessible for Scottish candidates. The project sought to create a means for workers to transfer their land based skills in engineering, fabricating and construction to the subsea sector. In 2012, The Underwater Centre trained eight Scottish candidates to become commercial divers and in 2013, this figure exceeded 60 candidates.


Press Release, March 21, 2014