Company News

THE NORTH SEA: A YEAR IN REVIEW - A SUPPLIER’S PERSPECTIVE By Pete Bradshaw, Sales Manager, and Barry Rust, Marketing Manager Energy and Sustainability, Tata Steel

As one of the largest industrial employers in the UK with a track record of supplying over 1 million tonnes of subsea pipelines to the North Sea, Tata Steel is a key stakeholder in the North Sea oil and gas market and the region’s recovery is extremely important to us.

Last year was one of highs and lows for the industry as a whole. The early hopes of oil price inflation and stability did not altogether materialise, but despite this Tata Steel completed the supply of products to a number of oil and gas projects.

In the last 12 months we supported five pipeline projects in the North Sea, which is indicative of the returning optimism in the region. With the uncertainty around oil prices, this growth in the industry’s activity is a reflection of the real improvements that have been made across the board in efficiency, and an ability to operate in the current environment.

The further evidence for recovery is strong, with the North Sea expecting to attract around 30% of the global subsea contract awards in 2019 and exploration activity set to increase by 25 percent. A total of 23 projects are due to be sanctioned this year alongside a number of new independent operators establishing themselves in the market.

Despite a marginal increase in the average cost per barrel of oil equivalent in the UK Continental Shelf, average operating costs are still 37% lower than they were in 2014. It therefore appears the industry has captured all of the big cost savings and we are in a period of cost stability. This combined with an expected environment of price rallying, means the future could be considered bright.

Despite all the other uncertainties in the market, this environment provides suppliers like Tata Steel with confidence to continue to invest in both its products and processes.

In the last year some significant investment in our steel making capability came on line; a blast furnace life extension project and direct cooling facilities in our coil mill in Port Talbot are both providing for enhanced productivity and final linepipe properties.

If we look at the investment in our Hartlepool 20” pipe mill, our main linepipe mill, we have enhanced laser metrology to help our clients improve their offshore productivity as well as investments in less physical aspects such as data analytics, to drive both product capability and our understanding of performance.

It’s in this area of data management and analytics that perhaps the biggest change will come in the next few years. The drive for innovative data- driven approaches will be a game changer. The key to unlocking that will be engagement, and joint development, and some of this will need to be across the complete supply chain.

The five North Sea linepipe projects that Tata Steel delivered to in the past 12 months were for five different operators and included a number of additional services, from anti-corrosion coatings to sacrificial anode preparation. And the question over the sustainability of the oil and gas industry’s recovery is also being answered - with two further project awards at the start of 2019 for Tata Steel, for both linepipe and coatings.


offshore, the conditions can be some of the most hostile on the planet. Therefore, corrosion resistant alloys have been specially developed to retain integrity when pitted against salt water and extreme temperatures.

Naval applications include shafts and bolting for ships or submarines. Marine grade flanges, swash plate pump components, and mine detection equipment all use these materials. Where the ratio between strength, durability and weight is essential

within oil and gas

production and the wider marine industries, Langley Alloys has been at the forefront.

Supplying Corrosion Resistant Alloys to the World

Since 1938 the company has evolved and developed a rich and diverse heritage


Corrosion resistant alloys and their importance in the modern world cannot be underestimated. Without them, we would not be able to work, travel and play in marine


Whether you enjoy recreational boating, have travelled by ferry, transport tonnes of cargo on board ships or extract vital natural resources


from the deepest recesses under the ocean. All are possible thanks to the properties of corrosion resistant alloys.

The sea can be the source of much enjoyment closer to home but if a sudden change in weather occurs or you are hundreds of miles


manufacturing corrosion resistant alloys. From parts for the Spitfire through to 21st Century Formula 1 cars, high tech metals are Langley Alloys specialities. With locations in the UK, the USA, Singapore and the Far East, the company has the capability to supply industries around the world with the alloys they require to succeed in their field.

May 2019 Issue

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