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Aquaterra Energy Case Study

10 July 2018
The oil and gas industry’s first choice for offshore products, systems, and projects are proud of their ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certification. 

Swift, flexible, and responsive, Aquaterra Energy’s engineers and analysts create the solutions that customers need, while delivering operational improvements and efficiency gains.

​Their expert in-house teams of analysts, designers and engineers cover:

  • Design: conceptual, FEED, analysis, 3D modelling
  • Procurement: specification, manufacturing, inspection, construction, FAT/SIT
  • Installation: procedures, supervision, commissioning, testing, handover

Operating across the UK, Egypt and Norway, the company currently employs 67 full-time members of staff, along with an established team of on and offshore contractors that support the delivery of projects as required.

Working in highly volatile marine environments, Aquaterra Energy’s customers understandably demand the highest standards in safety, quality, project delivery and responsive customer service. This is why they turned to NQA to audit and provide them with ISO 9001:2015 (Quality Management System), ISO 14001:2015 (Environmental Management System) and OHSAS 18001:2007 (Health & Safety Management System) certifications.

Simon Hatson, Aquaterra Energy’s Head of QHSE & Business Improvement explains the benefits for implementing their management systems and gaining certification within their company:

“Many of the team involved use the process as a genuine opportunity to review how we are performing against our own requirements as well as identifying opportunities to improve.  We like to keep the wider team involved to show that audits are not something to be afraid of, but rather an opportunity to share what we are doing.”

So, why did Aquaterra Energy look at integrating three standards? 

While it can be a lot neater to have separate systems and provisions, the most sensible approach was to integrate their systems to maximise efficiency by reducing unnecessary paperwork and demands upon on the workforce.

The main reasons that motivated Aquaterra Energy’s decision to apply for certification were:
That they wanted to know that they were benchmarking against an internationally recognised standard, making trading overseas much more efficient and safe.

Secondly, that the credibility of a well-known UKAS accredited certification body provided their customers with the satisfaction that they would be working with a company that is serious about quality, environment and health and safety.

NQA and Aquaterra Energy grow together

“It has been a long-standing commitment of the business to ensure our systems and provisions have been checked and verified by a credible body. When considering the platforms, riser systems and associated systems that we supply to the offshore industry, a UKAS accredited NQA certificate provides assurance to our clients that our systems enable us to provide to the highest level of quality.”

Aquaterra Energy achieved certification to ISO 9001 in 2006, and followed this shortly with ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001. Their integrated system, as well as their relationship with NQA is longstanding and has enabled them to develop and improve their operations as the business has evolved and grown.

“Due to the varied nature of our business, projects and global locations, it was really important for us to work with a certification body who not only understands our industry, our position within it, and what we, as a company, are looking to achieve, but who also can crucially meet the requirements of the certifications. Over the 10+ years that we have been working with NQA the company has grown and NQA have understood and supported us with that development.”

Preparation is key

Aquaterra Energy primed themselves for their audit by attending awareness sessions with CQI, taking part in NQA webinars and investing in training for their internal auditors. They also took advantage of the various tools that NQA offer to support the process including a Gap Analysis toolkit for both ISO 9001:2015 & ISO 14001:2015, helping them to understand what the NQA auditor would be looking for in their approach to the new clauses.

Simon explains “I really like the structure of the new standards. With ISO aligning the clauses across the three standards we were able to fully integrate our system into one efficient platform, simplifying its structure, the provisions within it, and most importantly how we apply it to our day to day business.”

Moving forward

The company’s recent focus has been completing the transition from ISO 9001:2008 & ISO 14001:2004 to the 2015 versions, this was successfully completed and they received their certificates in February 2018.

Aquaterra Energy’s next focus is going to be their migration from Occupational Health and Safety standard OHSAS 18001:2007 to ISO 45001:2018 which, following the updated standard release in March 2018, they are hoping to complete in the following 12 months. 

With release of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) in May 2018, NQA are already in discussion with Aquaterra Energy to decide on the suitability of ISO 27001:2013, the Information Security Management System, to ensure that they are able to easily comply with the impending regulations.

Many companies say that being audited against new clauses is like diving into the unknown, as an auditee you try to understand and anticipate what the auditor will be looking for as a suitable provision against that element of the standard while also ensuring it will fit into the company’s own requirements and systems.  Attending webinars, reading blogs and utilising Gap Analysis documents offer good opportunities to try and understand what is expected, but following the audit clients often explain about how much they have learnt.

To top it all off, winning a Queen’s Award for International Trade is testament to Aquaterra Energy’s hard work and achievements, confirming their position as a world-leading supplier to the international oil and gas industry.

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