From East Anglia to the Arctic – Reydon firm looks abroad to survive oil and gas downturn

EDP Business feature with Tony Dale, director of Geo Therm, Reydon.PHOTO: Nick Butcher

EDP Business feature with Tony Dale, director of Geo Therm, Reydon.PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

A surveying firm is determined to survive the oil and gas industry downturn as it aims to diversify and continue its globe-trotting work.

From its office in Reydon, near Southwold, Geo Therm sets out across the world, taking its infrared imaging and ultrasound equipment to far flung oil rigs and wind farms.

In the 14 years since the firm was founded by Tony Dale, it has worked as far north as the Arctic Circle and as far south as the Falklands, visiting every continent along the way.

Using thermal imaging, Geo Therm - which at its peak, before the oil and gas downturn, had a turnover of £500,000 although it has fallen since - surveys electrical boards to check for overheating caused by faults, as well as for areas where heat may be escaping from buildings or ships.

The downturn in the oil and gas industry has hit the business but has also led to Geo Therm branching out into onshore sectors, checking factories and homes, as well as building links with others in the industry.

Mr Dale said: 'A couple of years ago we did 70/30 offshore/onshore, now it is more like 60/40 and I want to get that down to 50/50 in the next 18 months. We had foreseen the downturn in oil and gas – the bubble had to burst at some point – so we had started looking to develop the business.'

He added the struggles in the offshore industry had seen the business initially lose around half its work, but it had been able to survive.

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Geo Therm has diversified into selling and installing monitoring systems to help with facilities management, including one which can send a message when wiring reaches a certain heat.

Mr Dale said the aim was to prevent faults before they led to a problem which could cause a piece of equipment to shut down – costing time and money.

He said: 'If we can find several issues in a factory and prevent those from happening we can save potential downtime which in some factories or rigs can cost tens of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, of pounds a day.'

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