Tech focus to fore as restructured group seeks investment


Three into one as subsea energy specialists work to unlock further innovation

A trio of tech-focused subsea energy specialists are undergoing a structural shake-up to unlock and unleash even greater innovation.

Sister companies MCS Group, Cortez Subsea and DeepTech have operations spanning at least 20 countries, a wealth of proprietary tech and a bluechip client list. However, while each firm’s services are complementary, they have operated separately.

Now the companies are to be carefully restructured as the leadership team seek further investment to drive the continued growth of the group, which aims to turnover $100m per year by 2024. A major focus will be on enhancing its offering to the renewable energy sector.

Wael Bakr, pictured above, the Cairo-based Group CEO and Chairman said: “We are constantly developing new services and new technologies that allow us to deliver greater efficiency for our clients, particularly across the Middle East and Far East.

“During the global pandemic we took the opportunity to turn a critical eye on our own operations and we are delighted that we did, because we have identified a number of ways that we can be even more effective.

“Most crucially, the restructure will enable us to make the most of the technology and the innovations which have come from our intense focus on research and development.

“A particular area of attention will now be on how we can bring our tech and our services to the offshore renewables sector. We are extremely well-positioned for that.  It is an incredibly exciting time for us.”

Across the three brands, the group has almost a third of its 300-strong workforce involved in R&D, including experts in robotics, electronics, hydrodynamics, software and mechanical design. It has invested more than $8.5m into developing tech and now has seven commercialised technologies

That has seen the three firms make pioneering advances in ways to deliver subsea pipelaying, inspection and intervention. Those innovations make the process quicker, safer and cleaner, without putting people into potentially hazardous situations, while also reducing carbon emissions.

The group has four bases in the UK, Egypt, UAE and Malaysia. Among its most sought-after tech offerings is its cutting edge, subsea scanning, which produces hyper realistic images of underwater structures and pipelines, even where conditions are challenging or visibility is poor.

Its proprietary Photo Realistic 3D Clouds of Points (PRC) uses state of the art cameras – mounted on underwater drones or on divers – to scan any structure, creating a 3D cloud with millions of points. The eerily detailed images can be rotated and viewed from any angle and provide to-the-millimetre accuracy similar to that used in the original fabrication.

The group also offers the most advanced Asset Integrity (AI) data management systems. The customisable software enables clients to get easy access to asset data, condition information as well as planning and reporting. That is vital for risk management, gap analysis and scope of works planning.

In addition it provides bespoke tools for AI data management specifically for pipelines, for other subsea structures – and an advanced geographical information system (GIS) that links together all data on seabed, structures and other assets, giving instant, web-based visualisations.

One of its Egyptian bases serves as a hub from which the group operates a fleet of advanced subsea drones and ROVs that can operate to depths up to 3000m and are deployed all over the world. Those include a number of specially-developed machines.

Across the group, it has also developed a host of pipe laying technology, including its patented Modular Pipelay System (MPS), that dramatically reduces the time and energy required for both flexible and rigid pipelay. It can also remove the need for a laying barge.

Mr Bakr added: “Our restructure makes everything considerably more streamlined. Whichever technology or services our clients need or want, there will be no barriers to them getting access to it.

“Where previously there were three related companies, offering similar services, this flatter structure will make things clearer and more intuitive.

“We understand existing clients have grown used to doing business with Cortez Subsea or DeepTech, for example. We want to reassure them that while the names may be changing, they will see only benefits and enhancements from these changes.”

The biggest element of the restructure will see Aberdeen-based Cortez Subsea Ltd become MCS Ltd (UK), although the Cortez Subsea name will continue in Malaysia where it is particularly active and well-known in the subsea sector.

Cortez Subsea, founded in 2010, is a specialist in both mature and shallow water pipelay. It also offers expertise in hi-tech pipeline and platform inspection.