13th March 2019
What was the motivation behind starting up your own business?
I had been involved in the industry since 1994, working for BD Kendle Engineering & Weatherford in Europe and Asia Pacific. It was during my time in Asia that I could see a clear opportunity to develop my own business, offering well intervention products. Confident with my regional knowledge and local contacts I took the leap and LiMAR International was born.
Where did the name LiMAR originate?
The initial company name was LiMAR International Pte Ltd. My sister Lisa was an initial Shareholder and the name LiMAR was derived from our names LIsa & MARk.
Describe the early years in Singapore?
The first few years were extremely hard, working 16-20 hour days, designing a new range of CT products. The team was very small, with only myself and 2 machinists on board. We built all of our products in-house using only 2 manual lathes and a manual milling machine. The first tool we ever designed and built was a Motorhead Assembly for Owen Oil Tools. They standardised our MHA products as we designed and tested to their requirements. To date, the LiMAR MHA is still one our bestselling tools, although it’s progressed through many stages to what we believe is the best on the market, for ease of use, redressing and higher working pressures. It was during these early years that strong relationships were built with customers, Owen Oiltools and Chevron Thailand. These relationships helped make the decision to relocate to Thailand extremely easy, as growing the business through Singapore had become challenging.
How did the move to Thailand impact the business?
In February 2006 we relocated as LiMAR Engineering & Oilfield Services Co., Ltd. We purchased our first MAZAK 2 Axis machine and the business expanded rapidly as we were the only company in Thailand offering CT & WL products. This meant our team increased to over 20 within the first year of operation. In 2008 Dudley Whitwell came on board as a director from Peak Well Systems, where he was one of the founding directors. With Dudley’s operational experience and my manufacturing and design background, we had the perfect fit to move forwards on further product development. We were focusing more on the WL product ranges and very quickly established ourselves as a main supplier to Chevron Thailand. From there we quickly expanded, increasing our manufacturing capacity with new MAZAK machinery. To date we currently house 6 in Thailand and 2 CNC VMC machines with a wide range of Manual machinery and in-house Wirecut machine. This growth allowed us to purchase our own facility in Thailand, where we still remain now.
What was behind the decision to expand the business to the UK?
By 2011 we were looking to advance our Product Development department in order to compete further in the global market. The UK offered us access to highly skilled personnel as well as a starting footprint in Europe. In 2012 LiMAR Oiltools (UK) Ltd was born. We purchased 2 new MAZAK machines in the first year and the workforce quickly grew to 10. It wasn’t long before we became established in the region. In 2015 we invested in our own facility in Oulton, Lowestoft. This new location has enabled us to expand our business further and we now have 3 MAZAK machines, a small manual machine section, and an increasing workforce of 25+. The move has helped us significantly expand our global customer base. From both locations, we now supply Coiled Tubing & Wireline products to over 200 customers, on all continents.
LiMAR celebrates its 15 year anniversary this year. What would you say is the driving force behind the success?
Quite simply; our People. We at LiMAR believe that we are second to none when it comes to reaction times, customer and technical support. Without our dedicated, highly skilled personnel, of which we have upwards of 100, we certainly could not achieve growth and client satisfaction. And our loyal clients, who have stood by us and believe in LiMAR as a global supplier of quality CT & WL Products.
What does the future look like for LiMAR?
The past few years have been very challenging, to say the least. The downturn in the industry has thrown us our fair share of challenges to overcome and only recently have we seen enough confidence in the market to commit to new investment. That said, during these times we allow ourselves time to focus on the development of higher end product ranges. Increasing our portfolio has enhanced our position as a leading global supplier. Going forwards, we will continue to focus on our strengths of high quality, safe solutions as well as bespoke options such as higher specification materials for a wide variety of applications. We believe we are in a very good position to continue and grow as a leading supplier of CT & WL downhole products.