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That’s winter here with a vengeance and hopefully 2016 will be over before we can blink.
Why? Because it’s been a hard year in our oil & gas bubble and one we will not be sorry to put behind us.
We’ve all had to dig deep and put on our best game face, but there are very positive signs going forward for those who have thus far
survived the current upstream downturn.

The exchange rate is most positively in our favour and, whilst the North Sea home market struggles, our export sales are doing very well, allowing us to take our products and experiences into new markets.

For me personally, it’s amazing to learn that whilst the exchange rate is a key factor, we are also significantly cheaper and more efficient than some of our European counterparts at delivering services and products safely, on time and on budget.

For those of us in the know, that won’t come as a big surprise because the “inefficiencies and extreme costs” that have blighted oil & gas of late were never at the bottom end of the food chain.
What we have learned though over the years in our industry is to embrace change, challenge the norm, seek new innovative solutions, and deliver.

It is through possessing such abilities that we have found new customers and markets that keenly embrace our “intelligent” ways of working in collaboration to mutual benefit.

As we look towards 2017, we have become subject matter experts, delivering new technologies and offering smarter working methods to a wider audience.

However, oil & gas is now only a small part of the potential revenue stream for Blaze, with 75% coming from other energy markets, such as wind, waste to energy and wave energy; also other sectors such as mining.

Our innovations are winning Blaze global awards and being hailed as breakthrough technologies in the engineering world.

But, wow, we’ve never had to work harder.

That said, we’ve never had so many major opportunities coming together at the same time and so, as 2016 slips away, perhaps that’s testimony to all the hard work the team have put in during these times. Here’s a specific new opportunity that has come our way.

On July 1, the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) agreed a new scheme with the oil & gas industry aimed at addressing deficiencies in the fire-fighting provisions on the 116 normally unattended installations (NUIs) operating on the UKCS.

We are assisting with the development of codes and standards and providing solutions to the industry, whilst exporting our technologies into Europe.

We have addressed these technology challenges and developed standardised products that not only fulfil such criteria, but will also become the backbone of our rental solutions market for decommissioning, as standalone fire-fighting packages become required as existing infrastructure is removed.

The new markets we find ourselves in all present similar challenges to those we have faced over many years; that is, designed and made for deployment in harsh, corrosive marine environments.

That means highly reliable, safety-critical technologies and systems honed for the job.

In the oil & gas context, especially where downward pricing pressures have been incredible, we’ve managed to delivery without compromising safety and reliability.

However, it has needed and continues to require the entire Blaze team to work in a totally cohesive manner, so enabling us not just to survive but to lay the foundations for sustained growth in the new markets we have found, as well as our recovering core market, namely upstream oil & gas.

Of course, there are other challenges on the horizon, not least Brexit and fast-changing global politics, but we always seem tofind a course to navigate safely through troubled times, all the while growing stronger too.

Howard Johnson is MD of Scottish control & safety systems specialist Blaze Manufacturing.

Originally posted : https://www.energyvoice.com/opinion/126366/promoted-navigating-harsh-storm-adversity/