The Plexus Group is an established oil and gas engineering, and service business based in Aberdeen, with an office in London and a presence in Houston, Texas through PDT. Plexus began trading on AIM in December 2005. The Plexus Group has developed and patented a method of engineering for oil and gas field wellheads and connectors, named POS GRIP™, which involves deforming one tubular member against another to effect gripping and sealing.
POS-GRIP technology was invented by the Plexus Group's founder, Ben van Bilderbeek, an accomplished engineer and successful entrepreneur with over 30 years' industry experience, and a track record of developing and commercialising specialised wellhead and drilling equipment.
The Directors believe that by using POS-GRIP technology in wellhead systems a number of significant advantages over existing 'slip and seal' and 'mandrel hanger' wellhead technologies may be offered which can include, depending on application:
Larger metal to metal seal areas
Virtual elimination of movement between the sealing parts
Simplified design and assembly
Enhanced corrosion resistance
Simpler to manufacture
Reduced installation cost
Lower unit cost
As oil and gas exploration and production shifts to more extreme operational environments in response to increasing demand, the Directors recognise that there is a significant marketing opportunity in unconventional fields. They believe that the POS GRIP wellhead technology is ideally suited to enable some of the more extreme fields to be commercially viable.
Notwithstanding what the Directors perceive as the clear advantages of POS-GRIP technology in niche markets, which can generate high operating margins, the Directors consider that the greatest commercial potential for POS-GRIP technology is in the mainstream production wellhead market. In order to exploit this market, the Company recently introduced a further proprietary POS-GRIP product line known as the HG wellhead (the patent application for which is at the publication stage). The current worldwide market for wellheads and x-mas trees is estimated by the Directors to be in excess of US$2 billion per annum.
POS-GRIP wellhead systems have been used in more than 100 oil and gas wells to date by international customers and end users including, BP, Brunei Shell Petroleum, Maersk, Petro-Canada Trinidad and Tobago, ConocoPhillips, BHP Billiton, Talisman Energy, Tullow Oil, Global Santa Fe, Gaz de France and Wintershall. In February 2004, BP contracted to purchase POS-GRIP gas platform production wellhead systems for the US$4.1 billion Shah Deniz development, one of the major gas fields in the Caspian Sea. Between 2005 and the end of 2008, the Directors estimate that this relationship has and will generate revenues in excess of £6.5 million for the Group.
The Directors believe that its admission to AIM and the resulting raised profile, combined with access to additional working capital facilities, will accelerate the roll out of POS-GRIP technology as a superior alternative to current wellhead technology. It has particular advantages in High Pressure / High Temperature (HP/HT) oil and gas environments for which there is increasing demand throughout the world. The Company's long term goal is to develop POS-GRIP technology as the future industry standard for wellhead design. This objective includes the distribution of POS-GRIP technology through licensees to maximise market penetration. The Directors believe that over time the Plexus Group can become a member of the ‘first tier' of global wellhead systems suppliers.