April 19, 2023

A New Dawn for the Energy Sector

The launch of a new Aberdeen-headquartered service provider to the international energy sector has kickstarted with the acquisition of two long-established north-east businesses.


Aurora Energy Services Limited (Aurora) has acquired Huntly-based offshore services and fabrication company R&M Engineering, following on from its first acquisition in December 2022 of rope access and training specialist Inverness Access Training Services (IATS).


All jobs at IATS and R&M Engineering have been secured and in the next 12 months Aurora expects to increase its current headcount of around 80 to 200 as it rolls out a programme of strategic acquisitions and invests more capital in organic growth.


Aurora’s business plan is to create a £100 million turnover international energy services provider over the next five years by continuing to provide services to oil and gas, and in parallel driving forward with the energy transition by targeting the wind, solar, hydrogen, carbon capture & storage, pumped hydro and waste to energy sectors.


As part of the energy transition, Aurora will develop three business streams – firstly, renewables services including inspection, repair and maintenance, engineering, and installation support; secondly, training and accreditation (providing the opportunity for the oil and gas workforce to add new skills and thus enabling a transition to renewables); and finally, design engineering, fabrication and site installation, initially in oil & gas but transitioning to provide the same services to the renewables sector. 


Owned by energy sector, serial entrepreneurs, Doug Duguid and Michael Buchan, through their I7V Renewables investment fund, capital has also been invested by Aurora’s senior management, including Alan McLean - who has been with R&M for over 30 years.  They are joined by Alan Bailey, who has been appointed as the new Managing Director at R&M, and who previously worked alongside Duguid and Buchan at EnerMech for 12 years.


Doug Duguid, IV7 Renewables Chief Executive Officer, said: “Aurora Energy Services is structuring its operational capability to deliver an integrated service to the renewables industry.  It is clear from conversations with wind farm developers and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) that there is some frustration with having to manage the various interfaces between different contractors, and the increased costs and inefficiency that this causes.”


R&M Engineering is one of the leading fabricators of pipework and structural steelwork in the northeast of Scotland and has provided fabrication services to the oil and gas industry for more than 40 years.  The business has already started the transition to renewables, winning a number of offshore wind contracts, and its 6.5 acre Huntly site and its highly skilled workforce will be central to Aurora’s expansion plans.


IATS co-owners, Andy and Lorna Johnston, will remain with the new entity and have also invested in Aurora.  Andy will play a central role as Aurora strengthens its rope access, inspection, and technical training credentials with the opening of a new 11,000 sq ft site in the Longman area of Inverness. 


The Renewable Energy Training Centre - a £750,000 investment - will offer safety training and technical courses for onsite renewables operations, and reskilling programmes for workers looking to transition into renewables sector jobs.  


The Inverness site is also Aurora’s Wind Energy service centre, delivering project engineering for onshore and offshore wind workscopes and will be the Highland’s first Global Wind Organisation (GWO) accredited safety and technical training centre when it opens in June this year.  A particular focus of the Inverness centre will be to deliver specialised blade inspection and repair courses – and ECITB controlled bolting – both of which will go well beyond the level of the GWO basic technical training. 


Aurora is investing in developing a full design engineering function at its headquarters in Aberdeen, this will incorporate a digital capability for customers to access real time progress on all aspects of the work Aurora is carrying out for them. The design engineering team will support the Inverness renewables service centre and the Huntly fabrication facilities, while further expansion will take place in Blyth and Great Yarmouth over the next few months.


Doug Duguid added “Aurora will be focused on providing localised support to our customers.  By developing our own workforce, working closely with our customers to optimise work planning and execution, we will ensure that our operations are streamlined, minimising both the cost of our services and our carbon footprint.  


“We have listened closely to the needs of both our renewable and oil industry customers who want their contractors to focus on minimising emissions and the life extension of energy assets, component refurbishment, and in cases where the former is not practicable, recycling.


“We see tremendous value in transitioning Scotland’s energy base and workforce towards more renewable sources and at the same time, utilising the immense offshore knowledge and experience from Scotland’s oil and gas industry and applying this to the new energy sources which will keep Scotland at the leading edge of energy production.”

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