Cygnet Group founders meet the Queen at Palace awards reception

Cygnet Group founders Colin and Janet Smith enjoyed the great honour of meeting the Queen when they attended a royal reception on Monday 14th July, after the company was awarded a coveted Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

Colin and Janet took their places alongside fellow award winners and business leaders at the celebration at Buckingham Palace, to mark the achievements of British business.

They were also part of a small group invited to meet and chat to the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. The award comes in the year Cygnet Group celebrates 40 years in business and recognises its outstanding international sales record over the last three years.

Speaking about their experience, Janet Smith said:

“Meeting the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh is one of the greatest highlights of our careers, and for it to happen in our fortieth year in business makes it even more awesome.

“They were very interested to understand what Cygnet Group does and chatted easily with us. The whole event was breathtakingly beautiful.

“When we set up the business, we could never have imagined we would be celebrating its 40th anniversary year in this way. Our only regret was that everyone involved in Cygnet Group, past and present, couldn’t be there to celebrate with us.”

Colin and Janet founded Texkimp at their home in 1974 to provide machinery for the textile industry. Four decades on, the original Texkimp business is still thriving as part of Cygnet Group, which remains a family business and is now based in Wincham, Northwich, employing over 100 people.

Cygnet Group was awarded a Queen’s Award for International Trade for outstanding overseas sales growth over the last three years, during which it saw overseas earnings growth of 255% to £23m and almost doubled its number of employees. In the same period it opened new offices in China and the USA and entered a number of other new markets including Africa, Scandinavia and Northern Canada.

SECC appoints Dr Paul Armitage as MD

Dr Paul Armitage has been appointed as the new managing director of UK-based subsea connector company SECC Oil & Gas.

Dr Armitage has a PhD in petroleum engineering and has held senior commercial and engineering roles in the oilfield chemistry and speciality chemical industries. He is the former managing director of OMG Borchers in Germany which develops market-leading technologies for the coatings and composites market.

He says his focus will be to capitalise on SECC’s intellectual property and develop SECC’s portfolio of emergency breakaway connectors as enabling technologies for the well-intervention and other oil and gas markets.

“SECC offers some of the most intelligent and versatile safety solutions in the subsea intervention market and the opportunity to expand our interests in this area is tremendously exciting for me,” says Dr Armitage.

“The role allows me to combine a true understanding of the issues facing operators with my broad commercial and product development experience in order to deliver exactly what our customers need.”

He believes the technology has the potential to fundamentally change the way operators approach intervention:

“The oil industry is now more than ever focused on the development of its subsea infrastructure, and as the number of subsea wells increases so does the need for intervention.  Pretty much any intervention which requires an Emergency Disconnect Package (EDP) provides an opportunity for SECC’s connectors.

“Maturing oil fields that require specific chemical treatments and interventions are of particular interest to us. Our connectors enable these interventions to be carried out extremely successfully using more cost effective “vessels of opportunity” rather than Light Well Intervention vessels.  Whilst cost savings are important, it is vessel availability that is attracting operators to SECC’s  EDP solutions.

SECC’s DNV-qualified emergency breakaways are pressure-balanced and self-sealing.  They provide a dry disconnect and re-connect at working pressure and therefore help operators address some of the industry’s most critical safety needs by protecting against the risk of fluid spill, loss of equipment and injury to personnel.

Since its launch in 2008 SECC Oil & Gas has become a global supplier to the oil and gas industry.  It has supplied various Hot Make Hot Break (HMHB) and Mid Line Weak Link (MLWL) connectors to operators, subsea system providers and EPC contractors alike.

SECC Subsea Tie Back 2013

SECC will be exhibiting again this year at Subsea Tieback in San Antonio, Texas.  Please come and see us at Stand 877 in the main pavilion to view our range of emergency disconnect systems and subsea connection options.

SECC will also be welcoming its new distributor partner AWC, based in Houston.

AWC are the North American distributor for all SECC products.

SECC showcases emergency breakaways at ONS 2012, Stand B288

Subsea connector specialist SECC Oil & Gas will showcase a range of self-sealing emergency disconnect solutions at ONS, alongside its Norwegian distributor Norwegian Hose Supply.

SECC’s stand will feature its two-inch Hot Make Hot Break and Mid-Line Valved breakaways, both of which are based on a unique pressure-balanced, full-bore, external check valve design to instantly seal under full working pressure in a drive off emergency, removing the risk of pollution and protecting offshore personnel and equipment.
The company will also demonstrate a range of high-performance hot stabs and unveil its new seal change-out tool, which has been shortlisted for the ONS 2012 Innovation Awards. The ground-breaking change-out tool was designed to transform the Hot Make Hot Break connector into a permanent solution by enabling operators to replace its elastomer seals subsea.

British-based SECC shares a stand with Norwegian Hose Supply, the distributor and technical support partner it appointed earlier this year to serve customers in the Norwegain market.

“SECC’s connectors are extremely relevant in the Norwegian market where managing pollution risk is the number one concern and operators are looking for proven, DNV-qualified, high specification emergency breakaways,” says Roar Riseth, sales manager at Norwegian Hose Supply, the hoses, valves and studs specialist which forms part of Norwegian Oilfield Supply and the Hitec Products Group.

“Major investment in vessel-operated stimulation projects, which are the ideal application for this technology, is also fuelling demand from oil companies in our region.”

Offshore Technology Conference 2012 show report

The record attended show was a large success for SECC where we were able to showcase our unique subsea connect and disconnect systems.

Located in the Scottish Pavilion, SECC presented for the first time its new range of hot stabs including the patented straight through bore ‘Max Flow Hot Stab’. Designed to increase flow capacity for subsea applications the new hot stab connector has raised the industry standard when it comes to achieving ‘max’ flow rates.

SECC will next be exhibiting at ONS 2012 which is being held in Stavanger at the end of August. Come and visit us there.

Hot Make Hot Break subsea connector achieves PR2 rating

SECC has achieved API 6A PR2 certification for its Hot Make Hot Break connector. The API 6A PR2 testing is designed to test the connectors ability to withstand extremes of temperature and pressure as well as simulate operational conditions by undergoing a series of pressure cycling tests. The certification work was performed by DNV on the connectors as part of a project to install them permanently onto a subsea manifold in the North Sea. This milestone, along with the recent certification to ISO 9001 with DNV, demonstrates SECC’s commitment to assuring the quality and reliability of its products.

SECC ISO 9001 certification with DNV

Due to the hard work of the SECC team, and following a series of audits, DNV have awarded SECC ISO 9001 certification.

This is a big step forwards for SECC as DNV are widely recognised and respected in the Oil and Gas Industry.  The certification demonstrates SECC’s commitment to quality and continuous improvement.

SECC Host Successful Supplier Development Day

SECC hosted a successful supplier development day on 10th January at their facility in Northwich. The event was well attended by suppliers from all over the UK.

SECC Supplier Day Presentation

The aim of the event was to develop relationship/partnership with suppliers that can be mentored and developed by SECC utilising the skills and knowledge of suppliers. The partnerships established will be beneficial to all parties in the future supply of the SECC product with the goals of reducing supply leadtime together with cost benefits to SECC the suppliers and ultimately the customer. The day was a great success and was led by John Culshaw, SECC Production Manager, John has received excellent feedback from the attendees and is now looking forward to implementing tailored programmes for each key supplier.