Andrew Duncan moved his family overseas to Houston earlier this year as he started the new Bibby Subsea Inc. USA company for offshore energy construction.
The company is the new and independent American arm of Scotland’s Bibby Offshore Ltd. Bibby Subsea could finalize a decision on its new office in the Houston Energy Corridor as early as next week, said Duncan, who is the new president and managing director of Bibby Subsea.
The Bibby move is part of a broader trend of more Scottish energy companies, particularly those out of Aberdeen, moving to Houston to take advantage of the resurgence in the Gulf of Mexico and the ongoing shale boom.
“We realized the time was right,” Duncan said, noting that the Gulf is now rebounded from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon tragedy that had delayed Bibby’s potential move to Houston until now. “Houston is the energy capital. All of our client base generally is in Houston.”
Other Scottish companies recently moved to Houston this year include Aberdeen and London-based engineering group Houlder Ltd., Aberdeen-based AEL Specialist Electrical Distributors and Aberdeen’s Magma Products.
Houlder, an energy engineering firm, recently opened in San Felipe Plaza in Houston with seven employees and plans to hire another 10 or so soon.
Magma Products, an energy engineering consultancy, plans to add 10 new jobs in Houston by the end of 2014.
Rachel McIntyre, Magma’s new vice president in Houston, said she believes there are strong opportunities for growth in Houston and the U.S.
“We believe there is strong growth for our services in the U.S., and the addition of a Houston operation gives us the opportunity to grow by delivering a high-quality and value-added service to the market.”
A record number of 63 Scottish businesses participated in the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.
Fergus Ewing, Scottish minister for energy, enterprise and tourism, said Scotland and Houston make for natural partners in the energy sector with Aberdeen’s expertise in North Sea production.
“Move over Wall Street; Houston is where it’s at,” Ewing said. “To be serious, Scottish companies do see it that way.”
As for Bibby, Duncan insisted the company will not operate as a fly-by-night foreigner.
“We are a U.S.-based business here,” Duncan said. “We are invested here for the long run. We’re just in the very beginning of this adventure.”
Bibby has already grown to about 15 employees in Houston and offshore, Duncan said, with plans to grow to about 65 employees as soon as the end of the year. The goal also is to buy a new marine vessel by year’s end, he said.
“We have an understanding leadership who are in it for the long run,” Duncan said, noting that it is a family-owned company without shareholder pressures. “My personal goal is to build a legacy here.”
Sourced from bizjournals.com. May 16th, 2014.