Magma’s On Fire: An Employment and Technology Success Story for UK Oil, Gas

by Andreas Exarheas, Assistant European Editor

Following a recent trip to Magma, a subsea riser specialist based in Portchester in the UK, I can safely conclude that the company is on the up. The firm, which specializes in subsea carbon fiber pipes, is currently in the process of constructing a new manufacturing unit at its UK base, which will include four new production lines that will “increase production eight-fold”, according to the company’s CEO Martin Jones. This construction is expected to be finished in February 2016, with production anticipated to begin by mid-2Q 2016.

Magma is in the process of developing products for companies such as Statoil ASA, Royal Dutch Shell plc, Total SA, BP plc and the team at the firm’s Portchester site is also working on building a four-inch 20,000 psi (pounds per square inch) jumper for Deepstar. This is a joint industry technology development project – involving BP, Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips, Maersk Oil, Statoil, Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras) and BG Group plc – that is focused on advancing technologies “to meet its members’ deepwater needs to deliver increased production and reserves”.

The company’s success is great news for locals seeking work in the oil and gas industry, as Magma will be looking at plans to increase its workforce, which currently stands at 160 employees, once the new manufacturing unit is built. This is good news for university graduates too, as the company has previously employed young engineers straight from Southampton, Cambridge and Bristol Universities. Magma also recently had its first undergraduate intern finish a year at the company, and the firm is currently in discussion with Bristol University to take on more undergrad interns.

Jones was keen to emphasize the company’s commitment to quality on my visit and its influence on everything I encountered, from equipment and testing to staff and safety procedures. This is a relatively young company in the oil and gas industry, at just half a decade old, but its top brass already understands the importance and value that a dedication to excellence can achieve.

At a time when so many firms in the oil and gas industry are down-scaling operations and letting staff go, it’s refreshing to see an engineering company involved in the sector prospering.

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