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The ability to re-locate a critical manufacturing plant without severely affecting production output is no mean feat. But when you add to the equation that a total of 67 machines had to be de-commissioned, transported 100 miles and re-commissioned, then the task becomes more onerous.

Especially when, as part of the move, a number of large-capacity machines had to be taken out of action and totally re-engineered.

But that was the project that confronted Andy Simpson, General Manager at Weatherford Manufacturing & Services in the United Arab Emirates, part of the leading global network specialist supplier of components and services for the world's oil and gas industry.

For its part of the project, T W Ward engineers not only carried out the transfer and re-commissioning of 67 machines from sites in Dubai and the USA to Abu Dhabi, they also reconditioned two large Butler Elgamill bed-type milling centres. One of the company's senior engineering technicians remained on-site for the duration of the project as the ‘on the ground general'. He was complemented by a squad of service engineers flown in from Sheffield, and T W Ward also sent engineers to North America to de-commission 17 machines, then expertly re-commission them upon their arrival in the Middle East.

Paramount to the success of the process was the expertise of the highly-skilled Ward engineers, many of whom are apprentice-trained in the machine tool industry and with many years' experience across all disciplines.

Operating in over 100 countries and employing more than 50, 000 people worldwide, Weatherford is one of the largest global providers of advanced products and services that span the drilling, evaluation, completion, production and intervention cycles of oil and natural gas wells. Its business is focused on a number of core service lines - artificial lift, drilling services, well construction, drilling tools, completion, wireline, and re-entry and finishing, stimulation and chemicals, integrated drilling, and pipeline and specialist services.

Andy Simpson explains the reason for the move: "In short, we decided to relocate to be closer to our customers. Abu Dhabi has a larger oil and gas industry than Dubai, and most of the larger companies have offices, workshops and bases there.

Outlining how the project discussions started at the end of 2009, Andy Simpson says the first machines were moved from Dubai in the middle of July 2010 and the last machine from Dubai arrived in Abu Dhabi in the middle of December 2010. The remaining 15 machines - re-located from Weatherford's Houston site in North America - were installed in Abu Dhabi by the end of April 2011.

"We selected T W Ward CNC Machinery as our project ‘partner' after a number of discussions involving local and other UK companies," he says. "T W Ward's Senior Engineering & Service Manager, Mario DeVito, travelled to Dubai initially to discuss the project. After talking to him and with the prior knowledge we had of T W Ward's expertise in the field of machine removal, re-commissioning and re-engineering - the company was selected, not only on price but, crucially, on its expert ability to help us project-manage this enormous undertaking as well as providing on-site breakdown support during the full transition period if required, which gave added peace of mind."

"Importantly, too, T W Ward's impressive track record [its origins stretch back over 130 years] and the team's extensive knowledge - I understand that between them there is well in excess of 500 years' experience in the machine tool industry - also clearly demonstrated how they could not only apply the required skills also exercise a level of flexibility during what would be such a challenging time."