Petrobras, Brazil’s biggest business and the world’s 12th largest oil company, has ordered equipment from Fast Engineering in Antrim as part of its strategy to counter pollution.

Fast signed a deal with state-owned Petrobras following participation on an Invest Northern Ireland stand at the Rio Oil and Gas Exhibition and World Petroleum Expo in Rio de Janeiro in September. The order was the first secured by the Northern Ireland company from the major oil producer in Brazil.

Petrobras will locate the FASTANKs, highly portable containment tanks pioneered by the Northern Ireland company, at a series of counter pollution bases along the coast of Brazil in the event of oil spills.

Alan Hingston, Invest NI’s Trade Director, welcomed the contract between Fast Engineering and Petrobras.

Said Mr Hingston: “Fast Engineering is a fine example of a small business which has become an international leader in a niche sector through continuous investment in trade and innovation.

“The company has used a broad range of trade services, including missions and exhibitions, to support an aggressive export strategy. By maintaining close contacts with its target markets Fast Engineering has been able to pinpoint opportunities to add value to its products.
“Our participation at Rio Oil and Gas is part of an ongoing programme of activities for this important sector. Over the past year, we’ve provided opportunities for Northern Ireland companies to build contacts with the oil and gas industries in the North Sea, Norway and in key Middle East markets including Iran,” he added.

Seamus Connolly, Fast Engineering’s Managing Director, commenting on the breakthrough order from Petrobras, said: “Taking part in the Invest NI stand at Rio Oil and Gas enabled us to follow-up initial contacts we had made with Petrobras at another oil industry show. At this show, in Aberdeen, where Invest NI also had a stand, we showed Petrobras our product and its wide range of applications.

“The Rio event was a very cost-effective way for us to follow-up and build a relationship with key Petrobras executives on their home ground.

“Petrobras is committed to environmental conservation and is investing in new equipment for an expanded network of emergency response bases. It currently has nine of these and plans to set up a further 13 throughout Brazil. Our tanks will be stockpiled at these bases for oil spill clean-up operations.

“The order means that virtually all the world’s oil exploration companies now depend on FASTANKs for spill emergencies,” added Mr Connolly.

Fast Engineering, which employs 10 people at Antrim, has also supplied tanks for use by Russian exploration companies on the remote Sakhalin Island. The company, in addition, recently worked round-the-clock to meet the demand for its tanks from emergency teams tackling the huge oil spill on Spain’s northern coastline.