A NORTH-EAST engineering offshore protection specialist is continuing its growth after expanding into South Korea. MTE Ltd, based in Darlington, has opened a factory in the Busan region to attract potential new work from key Korean fabrication yards.
The company, which makes fire and blast protection for oil and gas platforms, says the plant will build on its worldwide reputation by strengthening its North-East base and opening new markets previously dominated by Korean firms.
Projects for Korean yards will be designed and engineered in the North-East, with workers fabricating fire and blast protection products both in the UK and locally in Busan.
The firm employs in excess of 170 workers and has a second UK manufacturing base on the banks of the River Tees, in Middlesbrough.
It has worked on a number of high-profile projects, including a £1m deal to make fire, blast and heat shield protection for modules and staircases on the Forties Alpha platform, which was the UK’s first custom-made North Sea platform for 25 years.
Mech-Tool Korea Director Phil Bullock said: “This is a considerable investment for us, and the plant will be manufacturing fire and blast protection systems as we do here but on a larger scale. It will also facilitate securing work from South East Asia.
“The setup there is for the company to win work that we would never have got previously, as many of the Korean yards only award work to Korean companies.
“But it will also generate work for us here because the design and engineering for work won in Korea will take place in the North-East, as will much of the fabrication, so it strengthens our business and creates additional work that we would never have had.”
The company is split into four divisions; fire and blast wall sector, a heat shield division protecting workers against radiant heat and extreme weather, its pioneering module and living quarters design team, and its design consultancy arm, which works with clients on designs and cost projections.
MTE Ltd recently secured a £4.5m Philippines contract to supply 25,000sq metres of carbon steel fire and blast walls for onshore modules in Australia, and is making fire blast walls for ExxonMobil’s Hebron oil project, off Canada’s east coast, which is expected to produce up to 150,000 barrels of oil every day from 2017.