TWO sister oil services companies based in Aberdeen have secured total backing of £5 million from the Scottish Loan Fund to pursue international growth ambitions.

The companies, Meta Downhole and READ Cased Hole, are pursuing expansion in what is a tough climate for the global oil and gas sector in the wake of the tumble in crude prices.

Both are trading companies of READ Well Services Holdings, which is in turn owned by private equity firm Energy Ventures.

READ, which specialises in the provision of integrity and production evaluation services used during well construction, production and intervention operations, also has offices in Norway, Australia and Qatar. It is targeting sales growth in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific.

The SLF noted that Meta offers patented technology that provides customers with certified gas-tight barrier solutions, which span the life of a well from architecture through to decommissioning, even in deep-water environments. Meta also has a range of cladding products which extend the life of wells in production.

At its facility in Aberdeen, Meta is able to test and qualify products, replicating extreme high-pressure and high-temperature well environments. The company also has offices in Houston in Texas, Dubai, and the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.

Glasgow-based private equity house Maven is fund manager of the Scottish Loan Fund. The SLF was established, with Scottish Government backing, to address a need for additional debt finance for small and medium-sized enterprises.

The SLF was set up by the Scottish Investment Bank, part of taxpayer-funded Scottish Enterprise. It received £55m of public sector funding from Scottish Enterprise, the European Regional Development Fund, and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Additional funding from private sector investors, including Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale Bank, Santander, Strathclyde Pension Fund and Aberdeen City Council Pension Fund took the fund to its final size of £113m in March 2012.

Michelle Kinnaird, investment director of the Scottish Investment Bank, said: “(The) news reflects the determination of the supply chain during these challenging times. Like many oil and gas companies, Meta and READ recognise the important role international activity can play in their long-term ambition, and we are delighted we can help, through the Scottish Loan Fund, to support their growth in this area.“