A winning combination
In January 2017 two giants of the oil services sector formally came together with the completion of the $13 billion merger of Houston-based FMC Technologies and French company Technip. With three headquarters in Houston, Paris and London, TechnipFMC boasts a workforce of more than 40,000 men and women, making it one of the world’s largest players on the global stage.
“From the perspective of the umbilical side of the business, the merger of Technip and FMC Technologies has been such a good fit and one which has already revealed synergies on many levels,” explains Sarah Cridland, Managing Director of TechnipFMC Umbilicals.
With its own roots dating back to when the business was known as DUCO, the umbilical arm of TechnipFMC remains an industry leading provider of high quality, customised umbilical systems and associated subsea products and services.
“The umbilical has always been a key component for the entire subsea control system and therefore one of the biggest benefits of the merger is that it allows us to offer our clients a complete system, which we are able to optimise for operation and installation,” Sarah continues. “In the past, there have been contracts with clients where we may have had to bid for different parts of the project separately, whereas now we can approach them with an optimised product and service offering that guarantees proven quality, reduces schedule risks and is cost effective.”
An example of both TechnipFMC Umbilicals and its clients benefiting from its ability to provide a complete, end-to-end service comes in the form of the contract awarded by Statoil for the Trestakk field off the coast of Norway. This project sees TechnipFMC Umbilicals provide engineering and the manufacture of over nine kilometres of static steel tube umbilical.
“At the time when TechnipFMC approached Statoil regarding the Trestakk project one of their key requirements was to identify cost savings,”Sarah says. “By providing the control equipment for the project including the umbilical, in addition to conducting all installation, this combined, integrated package of services helped bring project costs down significantly.”
Additional benefits created through the merger of Technip and FMC Technologies can be found in the sharing of technological developments and improved efficiencies at the company’s manufacturing plants.
As successful as the merger between the two companies has undoubtedly been, it has played out over the backdrop of what Sarah herself describes as a challenging market. “With the oil price being where it is, it has understandably led to a situation where almost every company operating in the sector has experienced a reduction in volume,” she states. “Where we have managed to prosper in the face of this is by maintaining a pragmatic approach to these market conditions, one where we focus our efforts on helping our clients identify how they can move their projects forward at a time when the oil price hovers around the $50 a barrel mark.”
One of the ways in which the company has looked to achieve this is through financial investment in its own assets. “When we spoke roughly a year ago our new vertical helix assembly machine had been in operation for just over 12 months,” Sarah recalls. “Since then we have continued to upgrade and optimise this and our other assets in order to place TechnipFMC Umbilicals in the best possible position to meet various market challenges.”
Investment in its product offerings has also opened up new avenues for the company in the domestic gas market, specifically the large gas tieback projects occurring in the offshore waters of countries such as Egypt and India, as well as off the coast of East African countries like Mozambique.
“These projects tend to feature very long large steel tube umbilicals which are often tied back to shore or to platforms situated in shallow waters,” Sarah states. “The improvements to our vertical helix assembly machine over the last year has allowed us to take advantage of opportunities within this market sector and places the company in an excellent position to capitalise on the projects that are coming in the months ahead.”
A demand for thermoplastic hose umbilicals has similarly contributed to an increase in upcoming projects for TechnipFMC Umbilicals. “In response to market demands we have invested in our next generation hoses,” reveals Sarah. “These hoses are specially designed for use at higher temperatures, higher pressures and deeper water environments, and themselves offer considerable cost benefits when it comes to both supply and installation.
“Our focus on developing and perfecting new technologies that result in cost savings for our clients will remain at the forefront of our plans,” Sarah enthuses. “Our clients are increasingly experiencing how tried and tested, supplier-led solutions like those offered by TechnipFMC Umbilicals are not only continuing to deliver industry-leading quality and safety, but are also resulting in reduced schedule risks and huge cost efficiencies.”
Sarah is also keen to emphasise one other core asset of the company, the one that she believes TechnipFMC Umbilicals’ success is intrinsically linked to, its people. “Once again, the merger of Technip and FMC Technologies has resulted in a real boost, this time for our people,” she concludes. “For our technical experts within the company, the merger has created a wider range of opportunities and projects for these men and women to become involved in. In turn, this offers them new challenges and new avenues for growth which can only help in the long-term retention of the skilled people who contribute to our continued success.”
Services: Subsea umbilical systems