Optima founder Jamie Oag to take helm at Spex

Jamie Oag
Jamie Oag
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ENTREPRENEUR Jamie Oag is returning to the oil and gas industry’s frontline by taking over as chief executive at engineering firm Spex Group, less than a year after selling his last company for £40 million.

Oag netted £17m after New York-listed Tetra Technologies bought oil rig cooling company Optima last March.

Now he is taking the helm at fast-growing Spex Group, in which he is ­already the majority shareholder, to oversee projects including the development of a well closure and severance system for oil giant Shell.

His first move has been to create three divisions – offshore, production and services – at the group, which originally focused on supplying explosives to the oil and gas industry.

Spex Group in its current form was created last year when Spex Services took over engineering design firm Cognity, creating a business with 74 staff and revenues of about £10m.

Managing director John Fox, who had been running the combined business since the merger, will remain in charge of the Spex Offshore division.
Oag said: “My role within Spex will be to oversee existing projects to completion and then lead the commercialisation of these technologies so Spex can offer them to the wider market.

“Having these new products in the field will add real value to the brand.”

News of Oag taking up the reins at Spex Group comes as figures for 2011 show that Aberdeenshire grew its contribution to the economy by 6.5 per cent to just under £16 billion, the highest for any region, according to the ­Office for National Statistics.

By comparison, Scotland grew its “gross value added” (GVA) – a measure of economic output – by 1.9 per cent.

Tom Smith, chairman of the Aberdeen City & Shire Economic Future (ACSEF) group, said: “The figures show what we have known for a long time – that Aberdeen city and shire is the driving force behind Scotland’s economy.

“Once again the region has outperformed the rest of the country. Even in the face of the harshest global trading conditions in living memory, businesses in the North-east are continuing to thrive.”

ACSEF’s target for economic growth during 2011 had been 2.5 per cent.

Aberdeenshire grew its GVA per head of population by 5.3 per cent to £31,944, the second-highest total for the whole of the UK behind central London, which stood at £62,398. The average GVA per head of population figure for the UK as a whole was £20,873, while Scotland’s average was £20,571.