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Cylinder firm targets fracking market
A HYDRAULIC cylinder specialist is aiming to create jobs on the back of the emerging fracking market.
Sunderland-based Cylinder Service Centre, which manufacturers and repairs hydraulic cylinders for sectors including oil and gas and the car industry, has added a 6,000 sq ft extension to its 24,000 sq ft premises at Wear Industrial Estate, Washington, Wearside to cope with demand.
Set up by managing director Gary Davison nearly 20 years ago, the business works with local customers including Nissan, Tata Steel and SSI UK, and counts international oil and gas companies, construction, rail, ship builders and the Ministry of Defence among its clients.
Mr Davison said: “We’ve been expanding since 1994 when I started by myself, and we now employ 44 people and are taking people on virtually all the time.
“We constantly reinvest in unique machinery because our facility is our product. We’ve had three factories progressively increasing in size in Washington over the past 20 years.
“Hydraulic cylinders from all over the UK are set here. We don’t just deal with UK clients because with oil, gas and shipping, we could be dealing with Norwegian ships or work from anywhere.”
The £3m turnover company has worked with Sunderland City Council at each stage of its expansion and has tapped into the advice and funding it provides to support growing businesses on Wearside.
Mr Davison said: “This location is key. One of the beauties of the site is that we’re adjacent to the A1 and just a stone’s throw from the A19. We’re next to all the main arteries, so we have very few traffic problems. It’s ideal for communications for us.”
The Cylinder Service Centre is now considering sites for an additional office in the UK’s oil and gas headquarters of Aberdeen. A Scottish branch could act as a hub to help win work that will be sent to Sunderland.
Mr Davison said: “We are looking to position ourselves in the market to exploit the possible fracking boom because we are already established in the oil and gas industry, which will be developing the fracking sites. This could potentially be an exciting period of growth for us.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves high pressure liquid being pumped deep underground to split shale rock and release oil or gas supplies.
Opponents have highlighted concerns about potential water contamination and environmental damage, as well as small-scale earthquakes.
Mr Davison added: “One of the main reasons for our success to date is because to become established and trusted in the oil and gas industry you need to have all the relevant qualifications and accreditations in place. We’ve invested a lot of time and energy in achieving these. Now companies send major contracts to us, based on the accreditations and qualifications that we have. We are continually investing in the quality side of our work and high tech design solutions.”
Councillor Harry Trueman, Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “Offshore and subsea businesses are growing into a major industry in the region, and the presence of Cylinder Service Centre in Sunderland is a major attraction for companies basing themselves here. Having specialists like this on their doorstep adds to the benefits of the North East as a location for both domestic and international businesses.
“As a City Council, we are proud to be supporting Cylinder Service Centre’s growth. The business is a great example of a company that has benefitted from the advice and support the council can provide.”
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