OIL services heavyweight Centurion Group has said it sees lots of potential in the North Sea and underlined its appetite for acquisitions that could increase its presence in Scotland.

Directors of the Aberdeen-based firm highlighted a range of factors that make the North Sea an attractive place for Centurion to invest in under its global expansion drive.

Read more: Oil and gas independent eyes bumper deals amid North Sea shakeup

The company’s North Sea business forms part of a portfolio spanning different market segments and geographies which Centurion expects will allow it to prosper in all market conditions.

Backed by US financiers, Centurion provides services ranging from accommodation module rental to support with pipeline development.

Chief executive Fernando Assing noted activity levels have increased in the North Sea amid the recovery in the crude price in recent months.

Oil and gas firms slashed investment in new developments in the area during the downturn triggered by the oil price fall from 2014 to 2016 causing pain across the supply chain.

However, Mr Assing noted: “2018 was much better, 2019 feels promising.”

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He is confident the trend will continue as entrepreneurial new players that have bought oil and gas assets from majors help stoke activity in the area, where some big finds have encouraged exploration interest.

“Recent discoveries have proved there’s more to do in the North Sea than it was thought,” said Mr Assing.

He noted that efforts to cut costs in recent years combined with the use of new technologies have helped to increase the competitiveness of the North Sea.

Created by US private equity business SCF last year, Centurion has extensive oil services and infrastructure operations in the US and Canada, which Mr Assing described as attractive growth markets.

However, he stressed the company expected to keep its headquarters in Aberdeen.

“There is a huge amount of installed capacity, significant technical capabilities and good access to resources in Aberdeen, which make it a great place to run a global OFS (oilfield serves) business,” noted Mr Assing. "In addition, this market offers numerous potential opportunities for mergers and acquisitions activity.”

He reckons Centurion has put itself in a good position to act as a consolidator in what remains a fragmented market.

The group increased its firepower for deals in May when it secured a $60m increase in the size of a credit facility provided by a group of banks, to $250m.

Read more: Aberdeen energy services group set to hit acquisition trail

Chief financial officer Euan Leask said Centurion could use Aberdeen as a hub from which to service operations in areas ranging from Africa to Australia.

He noted that companies such as Wood had built global oil services business from Aberdeen.

Wood said yesterday it is on course to achieve strong growth in earnings in the current year.

Read more: Wood shares surge as Scots engineering giant highlights strong oil and gas market activity

Mr Leask said Centurion’s growth could result in employee numbers in Scotland increasing.

The group employs 270 in its North Sea operations.

Earlier this month Centurion bought Texas-based TotalFrac, which provides specialised valves used for production from shale basins.

The deal was the fifth completed since the group was created by SCF, which merged rentals specialist ATR with firms serving the oil services and mining sectors.

Centurion made $71m trading profit last year compared with $34m in the preceding year.

The downturn in the North Sea triggered a shakeup in which majors sold assets they decided were non-core to independents. Private equity-backed Chrsyaor Energy has bought big portfolios from Shell and ConocoPhillips.

The slump also encouraged consolidation in the oil services sector.