Switch to renewables reaps Scottish success

ESS managing director, Mike Wilson ESS managing director, Mike Wilson
Industry Database

Scotland-headquartered subsea and engineering technology company, Ecosse Subsea Systems Ltd (ESS), has said it has benefited as an ‘early adopter’ as it has moved from its traditional focus in oil and gas in to the renewables and interconnector markets.

ESS forecasts turnover in the current financial year will double to between £23-£25 million, with profits jumping to around £5 million and staff numbers growing from 35 to 50 employees.

ESS said that this growth was a response to fresh opportunities to deploy its innovative technologies in emerging markets in the Baltic Sea, the Far East and USA.

The latest accounts for the year to 31 March 2016 lodged at Companies House, show a turnover of £12 million compared to £17.6 million the previous year, while profits were £704,000 compared to £1.3 million.

ESS managing director, Mike Wilson, predicted a bright future following the transition in to renewables and after a year which included exceptional R&D investment of £1.4 million on the company’s SCAR 2 seabed preparation system, which the company says is the largest subsea boulder clearing tool in the world.

Mr Wilson said: “Our traditional revenue streams have been replaced after successful diversification into offshore renewables and interconnector projects, and the company has strong growth opportunities in these areas.

“The rates of very fast turnover growth and profits seen in previous years are likely to be sustained, the last year of consolidation and continued investment in research and development in our new technology products have paid off, and we have had great success building the order book of contracted work.”

In the current financial year, as reported in Maritime Journal, ESS has executed a £5 million project on the Race Bank Offshore Wind Farm on behalf of DONG Energy, and extended a trenching scope on an earlier project on behalf of Prysmian Group on Iberdrola’s Wikinger offshore wind farm in the Baltic Sea.

An international infrastructure group also commissioned ESS to design and build a £3 million1500-ton carousel and associated spread to be used in the storage of spare cables required for UK offshore windfarms, while other technologies including a backfill plough have been contracted for a major interconnector contract.

The company has been supported by Scottish Enterprise and part funded by the European Structural and Investment Funds Programme to develop SCARJet, a water jetting tool which it hopes will double trench production rates in seabed trenching operations.

ESS clients include: ABB, Bibby Offshore, BP North Sea, CNR International, DONG Energy, Eon Renewables, Prysmian Group, Shell Exploration and Production, Siem Offshore Contractors and Subsea 7.

By Jake Frith

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