3i backs merger of oil and gas clean-up companies

The merger gives ‘ the opportunity to create the global leader in mechanical wellbore cleanup’, according to the head of the new group.

SPS-AFOS, a filtration services provider which has its headquarters in Aberdeen, and Global Completion Services (GCS), a Louisiana-based company which operates in the clean-up segment of the oil and gas service market, have merged.

The deal is backed by venture capital company 3i, which brought about the original SPS-AFOS merger in May last year. The venture capitalist's involvement dates back to 1999 when it acquired AFOS and went on to combine it with SPS, maintaining a majority shareholding in SPS-AFOS. Speaking about the scale of the new company, Graeme Sword, an investment director with 3i, said: “This merger sees the combination of two complimentary businesses operating in different geographic areas. It provides global oil and gas operators with a truly international wellbore clean up service, and is good news for the oil and gas industry worldwide.”

The new group will provide technical and operational experience in downhole tools, fluids and filtration services to the oil and gas service market. The company will work with distribution networks and partnering relationships.

Richard Ellis leads the management team of the newly formed group. Prior to last year’s merger Ellis was the managing director of AFOS. Billy Brown, founder of GCS, will join the management team as Western Hemisphere president and will take responsibility for the US and Houston based international sales team. Management will focus on rapidly expanding operations in both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.

This second merger is meant to expand the company's international presence. Ellis commented: “This merger has given us the opportunity to create the global leader in mechanical wellbore cleanup, which is in line with our strategy at the time of the merger between SPS and AFOS last year. The resources and expertise of 3i supported by the Bank of Scotland, and facilitated by Simmons and Company International Ltd., have allowed us to make this merger, which ensures the rapid growth of the business in the international marketplace.” Simmons & Company International is an investment banking firm which specialises in the energy industry.

SPS-AFOS has a significant presence in the North Sea and selected areas in the Eastern Hemisphere. GCS has a similar market position in the Gulf of Mexico. It was founded in 1996.