ENGINEERING consulting firm WS Atkins has announced the acquisition of Texas-based offshore oil and gas engineering business Houston Offshore Engineering (HOE) for US$73 million.

The purchase of HOE, which has specialist experience in the design of offshore deepwater floating production platforms, is set to boost Atkins’ oil and gas offering in Australia by creating a through-life solution for clients, particularly those involved in deep-water offshore exploration and production.

From the earliest stages of field development to long-term maintenance of operational projects, Atkins said it was ideally positioned to offer technical excellence through advanced complete integrated solutions.

“This acquisition considerably strengthens Atkins’ position in the active oil and gas design and engineering market and is in line with our strategy to invest in growing our energy business, our key sector focus area,” Atkins chief executive Dr Uwe Krueger said.

“As the oil and gas industry continues to look for ways to access more challenging deepwater oil reserves, there is a high demand for advanced, multidisciplinary engineering skills.

“HOE brings exceptional expertise and an outstanding reputation to our existing business in this market.”

HOE president John Chianis said becoming part of Atkins was an exciting step forward for the company.

“Our proven track record and expertise in the design of deepwater floating production platforms, in particular semisubmersibles, spars and tension leg platforms will complement Atkins’ expert capabilities in technical safety, process and subsea engineering,” he said.

“The technical calibre and cultural synergies of our two companies means an enhanced service offering for our clients and further development opportunities for our employees.”

Atkins oil and gas division managing director Alex Campbell said the company’s established local presence in Perth, Houston, the UK, Middle East and Scandinavia would enable it to provide its expertise on a truly global scale.