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New kid on the block

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Oilfield Technology,

Celeros Flow Technology is a new name in the upstream arena – but some of its brands will be very familiar. Oilfield Technology caught up with CEO José Larios to find out more.

You may not have heard of Celeros Flow Technology (Celeros FT) yet, but it is a company with big plans and much to offer the upstream oil and gas sector, according to CEO José Larios. The company was formed following the divestment by SPX FLOW of its Power & Energy brands and is backed by Apollo Global Management.

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“Our aim is to serve as a full-lifecycle optimisation partner and as an experienced advisor on all matters concerning critical flow systems”, explains Larios. “Our brands are well-known in their chosen fields of expertise, and we’ve spent the last few years getting the business into good financial shape. Apollo recognised that we had earned the right to grow and, with the right investment in capital, that we can grow at a rate faster than the market.”

The Celeros FT portfolio is certainly filled with brands that will be familiar to most upstream operators and engineers. They include original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as Copes-Vulcan, M&J Valve, GD Engineering (inventors of the original BandlockTM pipeline closure) and ClydeUnion Pumps, to name a few. Indeed, the flow control and fluid handling engineering inherent in these brands has been pivotal to the success of countless exploration projects, enabling the extraction of oil and gas products from wells situated across the globe – both onshore and offshore.

Larios explains: “We have a proven track record in helping to significantly reduce the overall costs involved in upstream applications – thereby making extraction from even the most hard-to-reach reserves economically viable.”

Examples include enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and other forms of injection equipment, engineered to maximise the effectiveness of extraction activities. In addition to hydraulic drive pumps for challenging downhole applications, centrifugal and reciprocating pumps for water injection, main oil line and condensate export applications, the company also manufactures steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) pumps which are increasingly used to extract unconventional oil reserves from shale and oil sand deposits.

However, OEM manufacture is not the only string to their bow.

“Aftermarket is a key differentiator for us,” says Larios. “Our equipment has a long service life; it is highly engineered and usually mission-critical. So, we are aiming to be the lifecycle partner of choice for OEMs and end users of our valves, closures, pumps and filtration equipment – as well as providing support for third party equipment. That means taking the time and effort to ensure that every piece of equipment delivers optimum performance in the field for the whole of its operational life.”

One of the biggest challenges that Larios and his team have faced to date has been launching the company in the middle of a global pandemic.

“Having nearly every border closed and the ability to visit customers taken off the table ten days before launching your company isn’t ideal!” he says. “However, we’d been communicating about the formation of Celeros Flow Technology since May 2019, so we knew there was an appetite for news.

“Because we were already sensitive to the changes which our customers and employees were likely to experience following the divestment, keeping them informed about the additional changes due to COVID-19 didn’t catch us off guard, as it might have done with other companies. In fact, some aspects of the global pandemic have actually helped us to communicate better. People were more accessible because of the travel restrictions and so were available to view video introductions, for example. We also encouraged our teams to make personal contact via Skype or video link to personalise the contact and field questions.”

The leadership team continues to take a highly visible role in ensuring that its employees and customers remain safe. For example, Tim Old, VP Aftermarket, personally hosts a call each morning to review all field service jobs. He checks that the team has the right protection available, and that procedures at the customer site are adequate. He then approves the jobs to go ahead if all safety measures are in place.

Global pandemics aside, what does the future look like for this new kid on the block?

“COVID-19 has challenged and affected production across all industries and the ramifications will go on for some time,” observes Larios. “It seems likely that business focused around capital investment may be paused or reduced, but that there will be a greater demand for servicing and maintenance. Critical equipment will always need maintenance and emergency service even if customers are not replacing or ordering new equipment.

“Because Celeros FT operates in mission-critical markets, we are cautiously optimistic about our ability to survive and thrive post-COVID. The challenge for us will be focusing on whichever markets come back first and making sure that we are in the vanguard of recovery, providing competitive solutions for our customers.”

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