Asco secures $100m oil services deal in Tanzania

Asco: $100 Tanzania deal struck. Picture: AP
Asco: $100 Tanzania deal struck. Picture: AP
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OILFIELD services provider Asco has won a major contract in Tanzania to further the Aberdeen-based group’s international expansion drive.

Valued at $100 million (£63.3m), the three-year agreement to provide supply base services to BG is the largest yet for Asco’s Middle East and Africa (MEA) division.

The contract will be operated out of the East African port of Mtwara and will employ more than 100 local people.

The win comes just three years after Asco set up its MEA business from an office in Oman. The division, headed by Euan Lockhart, more recently opened a second regional office in Dubai.

Lockhart said the new contract would give the company a firm foothold in East Africa.

“Slowly but surely, we have been building our reputation across the region,” he said. “This contract gives us an excellent foundation from which to grow our business.”

In addition to BG, Asco will also provide warehousing, vessel loading, pipe yard storage and facilities management to Statoil, Petrobas and Ophir.

The four operators are all involved in deep-water exploration off the coast of Tanzania.

Owned by private equity group Doughty Hanson, Asco has been expanding its reach into Africa, the Americas, Asia and Australia.

About 45 per cent of its business is now generated from work outside the North Sea, versus just 5 per cent five years ago.

The group, which recently posted a 21 per cent rise in profits to £36.5m, employs more than 2,100 people around the world. About 900 of those work at UK bases in Aberdeen, Peterhead and Great Yarmouth.

The Tanzania contract was flagged up last month by group chief executive Derek Smith, pictured below, who told The Scotsman that he was within weeks of announcing contract wins in east Africa and Alaska.

“Asco has undergone major international expansion over the two years and we now operate in four key regions – Americas, Europe, MEA and Australasia,” Smith said yesterday.

“This contract is our largest in the MEA region, and gives us a tremendous boost as we continue to build our profile and reputation in this part of the world.”

The company’s expansion has been fuelled in part by acquisitions backed by Doughty Hanson, which bought Asco in a £255m deal in 2011 with an eye towards international growth.

Asco upped its presence in the North Sea market after taking over NSL Training Services in July of last year before going on to reel off four overseas acquisitions.

They included a trio of firms active in the oil sands market in Canada, followed in November by software business Oniqua of Australia.

Asco is now looking to open an office in Australia by the end of this year, and is also eyeing acquisitions there.