Jim Smith, CEO, Flowline Specialists

Expansion to MENA Hub: Flowline Specialists


Very few firms that make up the North Sea oil and gas supply chain can be accused of lacking tenacity or ambition. They ride the peaks and troughs of the production rollercoaster, and are quick to embrace new opportunities, innovations and markets.

For many in the industry that have managed a period of consistent growth, a new challenge can be to break into international markets or diversify into a new service offering.  For those who are looking to combine those challenges, the Middle East is often on their radar.

This was the case for Scottish energy equipment manufacturer and service provider Flowline Specialists.

Established in 2001, the firm, which has bases in Oldmeldrum and Fyvie, designs, engineers, manufactures and supplies a range of cable and pipe handling and deployment equipment for use in the oil and gas, subsea and renewable energy industries. Having achieved consistent domestic growth and completed a number of international projects, including in the Middle East, Flowline Specialists set its sights on launching a subsidiary in Dubai.

 CEO, Jim Smith, explained: “The business had achieved strong growth, driven by requests for our services in overseas markets. There was a noticeably high demand in the Middle East, where a number of our clients were based.

“With the UAE becoming an important business hub, and featuring excellent connections into Asia and North Africa, we thought that creating a base there would be the best option for our business.”

Although Flowline Specialists had already set-up European operational centres, it was the first time that the company would open and operate an office in the Middle East.

Jim said: “For the company to achieve further growth and expansion we knew that we had to reach out to the market in the Middle East. After visiting the region on trade missions and undertaking our own fact-finding trip and receiving a positive reception on each occasion, it was clear there were ample opportunities which we didn’t want to miss out on.

“When it came down to the commercial and legal side of establishing our business and premises, we had no doubt that we needed the expert advice of a legal professional. Particularly one with a strong background and experience in setting up businesses in the Middle East.

“The team at HFI provided us with a process map of setting up the hub in the DMC free-zone in Dubai. We found that the knowledge and advice offered was highly specialised, tailored to our company’s individual strengths.

“Being able to consult a legal team with significant experience in such a niche field of business expansion truly facilitated the creation of our base. Their professional support ensured the efficient set-up of our Middle East hub in order to service new and existing clients in the region and internationally.  

“Continued international expansion is integral to the growth of Flowline Specialists. With a base set-up in Dubai, we now provide our clients with a more geographically efficient and easily accessible service.  Through our Middle East subsidiary, we have already extended our reach to markets around the wider region.