What Plexus does
POS-GRIP, invented by the company’s chief executive Ben van Bilderbeek, is designed to prevent gas leaks, particularly methane, in wellheads and other connectors.
The system had been used in more than 300 wells worldwide.
In June, a new joint venture vehicle, Plexus Pressure Control (PPC) was set up to supply surface production Xmas trees and wellhead annulus outlet valves.
The unit will be majority-owned by Plexus and its partner is BEL Valves Limited, a subsidiary of Newcastle based British Engines Group.
The AIM-quoted company will control the intellectual property, design and manufacturing.
PPC will operate out of the Plexus facility in Dyce, Aberdeen.
Its aim is to enable Plexus to offer customers a full package of production trees and valves, together with Plexus’s flagship POS-GRIP wellhead systems.
How it's doing
Revenues rose in the year to June but so did losses following the switch in strategy.
The profitable wellhead rental business was sold in 2018, which meant statutory losses rising to £3.3mln from £372,000 in the year to June.
Revenues in the ongoing business rose to £3.61mln from £318,000, as the new strategy of licensing its wellhead IP gained momentum.
Losses from the ongoing businesses dipped to £2.5mln from £3.7mln.
Plexus is now focused on larger production wellhead equipment, outlet and 'Xmas tree' valves using its POS-GRIP Technology and HG seals.
Van Bilderbeek added that its PPC joint venture with BEL Valves also means it can bid for much larger production contracts.
What the boss says: Ben van Bilderbeek, chief executive
"Securing just one large production contract [from PPC] would be transformational for Plexus, not only in terms of the revenues that can be generated but also in terms of demonstrating to the industry that we can supply major projects with state-of-the-art equipment as part of a full-service package.”
Speaking to Proactive, van Bilderbeek said gas-proof technology like POS-GRIP was “ever more important” as it is now known that methane gas is “84 times as bad environmentally as carbon dioxide”.
“Methane is extremely damaging, so the race is on to improve the leakage rate before the gas is burnt … we have a technology that we can take to customers and say we are leak-proof and we guarantee it for the life of the well.”
He adds that the market the company is now in is worth “over US$2bn each year” and expects gas exploration in the sector to triple in 2019.
“The Exxon’s and Shell’s of the world are all bulging with gas assets because they know that eventually, gas will drive the future. For us, this is really good as we have a technical solution that will make gas cleaner than it is now ... .we are very bullish about where we might go from this.”
“We have the only metal seal that is genuinely gas-proof, and that’s the key.”