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Subsea Company Expands into R&D Facility

14 January 2010

Leading flexible pipe specialist flexlife has taken on additional premises at Aberdeen Science and Energy Park to create a world-class Research & Development facility specialising in flexible pipe projects and technological advances.

The 1,500sqft base in the Energy Development Centre is part of company growth that has seen flexlife also expand into additional office space at its HQ which was previously leased to tenants. The company is now occupying the whole 3,000sqft offices.

flexlife has grown from a team of eight 12 months ago to more than 20 people at present to service a number of major integrity management contracts with operators in the North Sea and internationally, including Hess, Apache North Sea and StatoilHydro.

The new R&D facility comprises office and workshop space and represents an investment of £500,000 over five years.

Stuart Mitchell, flexlife’s director of integrity, said: “We started out in business in 2007 with the aim of devising innovative solutions to the most common problems with flexibles. Our first product to detect leaks in flexible pipes was launched around a year ago and has completed nearly £2million of work in the North Sea alone since then.

“We are now in the process of bringing our next phase of the technology to market in the form of permanent collars that can monitor flexibles continually for breaches and corrosion. In addition, we have several other patents and are working to commercialise additional products.

“We believe moving into a dedicated R&D facility in a location devoted to the development of energy companies will be a fantastic boost to our continued business growth and are delighted to have secured space in such a high-quality enviromnent.’’

flexlife recorded turnover of £3million 2008/09 and is predicting growth of at least 70% in 2009/10. New operational bases are scheduled to open in Brazil and Asia Pacific by the end of this year.

The revolutionary scanning technology launched a year ago is the first to be able to successfully scan flexible risers in situ. The application can scan for a flooded annulus and flexible pipe armour wire corrosion, factors which significantly affect the service life of flexible risers commonly used on floating production vessels (FPSOs).

It is mounted on an ROV and can operate in deepwater, helping to extend the lifespan of flexible pipes and minimise additional cost, personnel and environmental impact for clients.