23 December 2021

Merry Christmas from Apollo!

As we approach the Christmas period, we caught up with our Managing Director, Ryan Menzies to reflect on the year we have had and his ambitions for the year ahead.

It has been a while since I have posted something, and time is very much running out for the year!  So I thought I would post a quick yearend review.  I am definitely guilty of looking ahead a little too much at times and missing the highs (and lows) of the here and now.

Within Apollo, I am enormously proud of the whole team for what they have achieved this year against stiff headwinds.  In 2021 our business development team has been busy with around 800 client meetings in the year creating over 400 enquiries. We have converted many of these opportunities and successfully delivered projects to old and new clients.  So well done to the whole team delivering the work, and to those keeping the show on the road, dealing with everything thrown at us!

And there has certainly been a lot thrown at us, as with all business in the energy sector.  The changes in the oil and gas sector continue to accelerate, and COP26 has generated a lot of debate around the future.  I have previously expressed my views and Apollo will continue to support our clients to accelerate their journey to net-zero. But it needs to be a fair transition, and the current European energy crisis is a stark reminder that there is a lot more to be done to balance things up.

Our Carbon Energy business has been busy with particular growth in our E&I team and subsea team and increasing demand across the board as the year progressed.  We delivered a staggering 196 projects in 2021 (up from 139 in 2020), and we expect this trend to continue into the new year.  Delivering to this scale, when we continue to operate a hybrid delivery model through the pandemic, is a testament to the quality and can-do attitude of the whole team.  We continue to create new opportunities so please check out our careers page.

We also continue to invest heavily in our Sustainable Energy business, and we have been active in this area since we formed apollo over 11 years ago.  Key highlights for me were making the cut for the third round of the Wave Energy Scotland programme, where we are developing a quick connect/disconnect mechanical and electrical connection not only for wave energy but also for floating wind and offshore power more generally.

That project moves into physical testing next year.  This is a real accomplishment.  Meanwhile, our Lucy Green was awarded a spot on the TE100 list of women working in the Energy Transition. We ended this year on another green energy high, delivering the first stage of an onshore hydrogen feasibility project and look forward to further work in this area next year.

Our Technical Placements business works across our core Carbon and Sustainable Energy streams and clients, providing people solutions in many shapes and forms.   We have seen over 200% growth in this area. Using our in-depth knowledge of the markets to provide the right people for the right roles.

Finally, the Digital Applications team continues to support Apollo KnowHow™, our flagship asset integrity product, and I was pleased to see new wins with operators in this space.  The software is designed to be industry agnostic and any asset that required data management can likely benefit from Apollo KnowHow™.  We are trialling the software in some applications in Sustainable Energy space, and this is a key part of the strategy in 2022.

I recently hosted an offsite strategy session for a couple of days in Edinburgh for our extended management team – we called it Back to the Future, the idea being we fast forward 3-5 years and got into that space – what do we look like, where are we operating from, how have we and our clients evolved, who are our clients, how has our service model changed, etc.  Lots of tricky questions like that.

By digging and exploring, we mapped out our business and then worked back to the present day. Consequently, we discovered to be what we want to be in 3-5 years time, there are things we need to consider right now.  Some are easy wins some require bigger changes.

This approach to strategy is a common one Apollo has employed, respecting what we are, but also what we want to be.  There is a lot more to it of course, but I highly recommend this sort of Back to the Future type exercise – you may unearth some easy wins, and I am happy to share more if anyone is interested!

One of the easy wins we identified in Back to the Future is that, to borrow BP’s “Beyond Petroleum”, Apollo is “Beyond Engineering”.  We knew this, as it has evolved in the business but how we present and articulate the business needs to catch up.

We have a successful advisory services capability that is active now in Carbon Energy, particularly in elements related to decommissioning and decarbonisation, but also in areas such as life extension and early-stage work.  We also have a Digital Application business that develops and leases software.  Our technical placements business, while engineering dominant, also deals in skills outside of engineering.  So we need to continue work to ensure we present and articulate ourselves to convey our diversified portfolio!

The last 2 years have been challenging for everyone but one thing I will say is that Apollo, our people and the wider industry continue to play their part in changing the world for the better. Have a lovely festive break and looking forward to seeing everyone else in the new year.

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