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US deal follows success in trials.

A pounds 1m-plus deal has given an engineering firm a massive boost.

The signing of a formal agreement on the 18-month deal helped Express Engineering make the perfect start to a year. The company will supply specialist subsea drilling components to US-based FMC Technologies, securing existing jobs and creating three new posts at the Tyneside plant.

The success comes after a 12-month trial during which a series of operational, technical and quality audits were carried out at the Team Valley operation, while components were supplied to FMC Technologies on a job-by-job basis.

Nigel Davison, Express Engineering managing director, said: "This is great news for us and a great reward for everyone here who has put so much effort into winning the contract.

"FMC is a major player in the oil and gas subsea industry which is going through something of a boom at present, so we hope we will also have opportunities to secure additional work with a valued new customer."

Ewen MacPherson, of FMC Technologies, said: "We have been working with Express over the last year on this product line and have continually been improving on time delivery and quality performances.

"The next natural step was to formalise the agreement. We look forward to working closely with Express over the coming months."

In addition, a new automated welding process ( known as hot wire TiG ( has been installed and launched by Express Engineering, allowing the company to carry out more processes on site, improve production and lead times and create further new jobs.

The pounds 250,000 investment has already led to three new appointments in order to operate the tungsten inert gas welding equipment which will enable Express to line pipes, used for oil and gas extraction, with corrosive resistant nickel alloys.

Previously this expensive work had to be contracted out, adding cost and time to the process.

Mr Davison added: "This means that a string of orders we currently have for subsea projects in the North Sea, Gulf of Mexico, West Africa and Singapore can be delivered completely in-house.

"It will make the process much quicker and price competitive which we believe will help us to win other new contracts and further expand operations at Team Valley. We are constantly looking for ways in which to improve product quality and services and we believe this will allow us to make significant additions to our offer."

Express Engineering is also expanding its apprenticeship programme.

During the past two years, 11 new recruits have joined the company ( including its first female engineering apprentice, Rebecca Stearman.

Express Engineering employs 120 people at its 40,000 sq ft facility, supplying precision engineering services to the subsea oil and gas exploration and production, power generation, defence, aerospace and medical equipment sectors.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 20, 2007
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