Paul Hennessey,atg UV Technology

Oil and Gas Business Manager Paul Hennessey takes Energy Focus behind the scenes at atg UV Technology

Can you tell us a little bit about atg UV Technology?

atg UV Technology is a specialist UK manufacturer of UV disinfection systems and advanced water treatment packages. Specialising in oil, gas and energy applications, we’re often described as a ‘boutique engineering company’ as we excel in new research, bespoke equipment designs and solution engineering.

How did atg UV start out?

Once part of the larger Automated Technology Group, in 2005 we became an independent company that focused solely on water treatment solutions using UV treatment systems and other complementary technologies such as filtration and membranes. Since then, we’ve grown from six employees to more than 80 full time staff. We place huge emphasis on reinvestment, product development and leading R&D.

What are the main services you offer the energy industry?

UV systems are used as a final treatment technology in all areas of water treatment, such as boiler feed water in power stations or seawater injection used for oil recovery. We provide chemical-free solutions for disinfection projects to protect equipment such as reverse osmosis membranes, pipelines and oil reservoirs and also photocatalytic applications, using advanced oxidation solutions to break down and remove micropollutants and trace organics.

What’s a typical day like?

We specialise in providing solutions to problems, often where there are no easy answers and very high specification requirements. Typical days involve managing lots of cross-departmental work, researching water chemistry and microbiology challenges and then working with our engineering disciplines and partners. This ensures we are able to establish the right technology options and electrical and mechanical engineering requirements in order to develop the perfect solution for our clients. 

What is the best thing about running an independently owned business?

We are owned and operated by engineers who all work in the organisation. Great engineering is what really drives the business and, with our flexible and agile business model, we get involved in really exciting and novel projects worldwide. I have been fortunate to work on seven world-first research/product development projects during the past 10 years.

And the toughest?

With any SME, allocation of resources is key. We have no limit on opportunities or requests for collaboration worldwide, but with finite resources, we have to be careful and selective about where we channel our efforts. As engineers with a passion for problem solving, it can be quite tough to make those decisions.  

If you weren’t working at atg UV, what would you be doing?

I’ve been heavily involved in the shale gas industry for a number of years and developed a great understanding of the water treatment challenges facing that industry. If I weren’t at atg UV, I would most likely be continuing that work in some way or another.

What’s been the biggest highlight to date?

My own personal highlight was during a joint industry partnership with a large oil and gas operator. From the research and pilot trials we undertook, I was subsequently invited to join a parliamentary technical working group, briefing cabinet ministers and secretaries of state regarding best available techniques for water management in the onshore oil and gas industry.

What’s next for atg UV?

As operators seek to reduce chemical use, UV treatment of seawater used for enhanced oil recovery and produced water re-injection is set to be a major new market for us. We’re currently involved in two joint industry projects trialling our technology with some of the biggest O&G majors in the world.    

How can energy companies futureproof their businesses?

Investment in green technologies and best available techniques are likely to become a requirement in the future, so early investment that delivers a greater ROI is a smart choice that many operators are already making.