In the first of two features with Julia Lutfy, Business Development Manager, IWOCS, we discuss the past year, and how she and the team have handled the different challenges that 2020 has brought.

The site at Skene in Aberdeen has been a hive of activity with a new delivery. Can you explain what happened?

We were very excited to receive four complete, new intervention workover control system (IWOCS) spreads to our equipment fleet.

How will the new IWOCS help our customers?

The new IWOCS equipment is DNV GL rated and NORSK certified. This will allow us to work in markets such as Norway, which has stringent requirements. The units have up to 33 functions, are 10,000 pounds per square inch (psi) pressure rated, with emergency shutdown as standard. They will boost our capabilities running deepwater umbilicals.

The addition of four systems will also help us with utilisation levels, which have historically been high. We now simply have more capacity to take on work in different regions across the globe, which is a real focus for us.

This is a fantastic achievement, especially considering the changes that have happened to the IWOCS team over the past year.

Indeed! This has come about after years of hard work by a group of people who’ve seen the downturns and the challenges this industry has thrown at them and still managed to come to work and get the job done every single time – resulting in a multi-million pound investment by Proserv into their futures.

Following the sale of our field technology services business unit last year, we became our own standalone team. We took on new people, relocated, built a new global strategic growth plan, and have had to deal with COVID-19. To say it’s been a crazy year is an understatement!

How has COVID impacted IWOCS operations?

COVID is something none of us predicted at the start of this year and yet it continues to dominate our weeks. For us, the most important thing has been to keep our team and our clients safe. Proserv acted fast, with diligence and, most importantly, focused on keeping communications open with everyone.

Within the IWOCS team, the office staff went to work from home early in the outbreak, so that the operations team could then have as much space as possible on-site. We worked with our clients to understand their processes and procedures as soon as possible and managed them in line with each project. Our team has continued to monitor every aspect of the pandemic and communicates daily, as we understand it has affected every part of people’s lives, work and home, as well as physical and mental health.

We are proud to say we have continued to manage each project and come in on time, within budget, meeting every client’s different needs with regards to COVID. It’s not been easy some days, but this is a formidable team that knows how to focus on the job in hand.

What has been the biggest achievement regarding the changes you’ve experienced over the past 18 months?

For the business, it’s been a phenomenal year of progress through the formation of a clear strategic growth plan, with the right people in place to execute it. Continued positive customer feedback has led to enhanced capabilities on-site and expansion of our work scopes globally. Most recently, of course, we received backing from the management to purchase new equipment as part of that growth plan.

For me, the biggest achievement has been seeing our team go through all this turbulence yet learn, develop and grow. When I first joined, it was just a few people working exceptionally hard every day to get a job done. Now I can see the change in them as they know they are part of something bigger. Their expertise and relentless ‘can do’ attitudes are shining through, as they build this business into a global operation and the opportunities become limitless.

No matter what challenges have been thrown at us in the past year, we have pivoted and adapted. It’s a sign of the strength of the team that they come in every day and keep one thing in mind – no matter what is going on around us, we will get the job done for our clients. They always come first.