Q&A: Alderley CEO on its fresh start

Colin Elcoate, CEO of Alderley since August 2019, comments on the future for the engineering solutions company in a changing market and in the era of climate change

Colin Elcoate, CEO of Alderley
Colin Elcoate, CEO of Alderley

Where do you see the biggest challenges for Alderley in 2020?

One of the biggest challenges for the industry is the energy transition and the need to improve the efficiency and reduce the carbon intensity of energy.  We all have a part to play in this important journey.  And as an integral part of the supply chain, this becomes a challenge for Alderley with new and innovative solutions required for our customers.

As an independent, family business with an extremely talented team, we are very well placed to adapt and support our customers in meeting the challenges of the evolving energy industry. 

We have already started on this journey, by providing dynamic metering systems capable of operating at LNG’s cryogenic temperatures; delivering innovative and compact process solutions for FPSOs; supplying proven produced water treatment technologies to cleanse the produced water prior to reuse or return; and developing enhanced condition-based monitoring technologies with remote diagnostic capabilities. 

We will continue to partner with our customers to understand their challenges and work collaboratively to identify the right solutions.  And we will continue to invest in new technologies to remain at the forefront of delivering innovative, integrated solutions for our customers.

What are the key growth opportunities in 2020, and what are your plans to leverage those opportunities?

Throughout the next year, we will continue to focus on best supporting our customers throughout the life of their assets. We are seeing increasing demand for our life of field services.  And our expert service engineers are best placed to inspect, repair, maintain and upgrade systems from across our entire portfolio, including cyber security solutions. 

In addition, digitalisation has been a key theme for the last couple years and it is something that will continue to grow and develop for the foreseeable future.  There is such a broad scope of digitalising operations, and I believe that we have only just scratched the surface. We already see this in the strong demand for our digital applications designed to enhance operator safety, efficiency and performance. 

For example, there is growing demand for our digital inspection tool, Inspection ManagerTM.  This application enhances the efficiency, accuracy, traceability and security of an inspection.  And with real-time updates through its syncing mechanism, any punch list items can be immediately flagged and promptly resolved.

Similarly, our condition based monitoring system with an in-built troubleshooting tool helps our customers to identify and begin working to resolve an issue before needing additional resources on-site – again expediting the resolution process and maximising uptime. We expect demand for digital solutions such as inspection manager and our enhanced condition based monitoring system will only get stronger.

What is your long-term vision?

We want to continue to deliver the best-for-application and best-for-business solutions for our customers, and always maintain the quality and customer service that is expected of Alderley.

There are a growing number of competitors in our market.  We’re seeing OEMs vertically integrate their offering to become both an instrument manufacturer and a systems integrator.  And with an EPC procurement model focused on low piece cost, new non-specialist integrators are entering the market. 

However, despite the increased competition, Alderley continues to perform strongly in our target markets.  Our unrivalled technical abilities, quality, customer service and reputation stand us apart as we always strive to deliver technical excellence.  

Furthermore, our independence means we can select and integrate the best equipment to achieve the optimum solution for our customers, without bias towards a single system or OEM.  And with a full and strong Services proposition, we partner with our customers to support them throughout the life of their assets. So, although there are an increasing number of competitors, we continue to strengthen our position as a leading provider of integrated solutions in the energy industry.

And with a shifting industry dynamic from expansion to efficiency along with pressure to expedite the energy transition, our goal is to stay abreast of our customer’s needs to remain the preferred partner for advanced digital, mechanical, process and service solutions in the global energy industry.

How important is the Middle East market to Alderley?

We have supplied over 750 systems into more than 50 countries worldwide, including to energy majors across the Middle East region such as ADNOC, Saudi Aramco, KOC, BP and Shell.  So, the Middle East region has and continues to be extremely important to us.  And we have established facilities in the United Arab Emirates and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to best support our key customers in the region.

As well as continued demand for our new-build capital equipment - such as metering, produced water treatment, chemical injection and modular wellsite skids - we are now seeing increasing demand for our inspection, maintenance and upgrade services from customers across the region.    

This is also true for operators whose equipment wasn’t originally supplied by Alderley.  We have seen significant growth for our Services from operators in need of a local, single-source solutions provider capable of working across different process areas and instruments, regardless of the original equipment supplier.

Our suite of proactive services – including inspection, condition-based monitoring and obsolescence management – ensures we can provide the right service at the right time; preventing unplanned downtime and helping to reduce the high operational costs associated with reactive maintenance.  And with a team of locally available service engineers, we can provide a rapid response to promptly support in the event of any reactive requirements.  

Do you have GCC expansion plans?

We will continue to invest in our facilities to get closer to our customers and also to further enhance our services provision to best support them throughout the life of their operations. 

This includes a recent investment to develop a mobile small-volume prover solution from our UAE facility.  This solution enables us to calibrate an operator’s liquid metering system at their site – helping to ensure ongoing measurement system performance, reducing the costs associated with off-site calibration and minimising the need for downtime.

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