Aberdeen training firm on road to recovery following oil and gas downturn

An Aberdeen-based training provider which saw its sales revenue drop by 70% during the recent global downturn in the oil and gas sector has turned a corner after an encouraging period of growth.


MDT International has experienced a significant increase in revenue and training-related business performance in the past 18-months. The return to form for the 27-year-old company, which has worked with some 500 organisations in more than 80 countries around the world, has resulted in the development and delivery of new training courses and the addition of three new trainers to its current pool.


The company provides a portfolio of both off-the-shelf and bespoke financial, commercial and management training for businesses and organisations ranging from national and independent oil companies to major service companies, energy ministries and regulatory authorities.


Managing Director Drew Leitch said the company had successfully navigated industry downturns in the past, but none as severe as the most recent one.


“The economic crash of 2008 resulted in a big drop in the oil price, and we saw a 35% drop in our sales in the year following,” said Drew.


“We recovered relatively quickly from that and went on to enjoy a three-year period of record performance between 2012-2014, when the average oil price was above $100/bbl. The difference in the more recent downturn, however, is the fact that the oil price dropped significantly and stayed lower for longer.


“During 2015-2017, our client base was forced to dramatically cut its discretionary expenditure and training budgets were among the first to be hit. As a result, we had to complete a full business review and put in place changes which would give the company the best chance to survive the downturn. These changes coupled with our global reputation for consistently delivering high quality training courses, meant we were able to continue to deliver our courses around the world.


“More recently, we have been seeing clients returning to MDT and, in some cases, attendance for the first half of 2019 was up by more than 30% on the equivalent first half of 2018.”


Drew, who has more than35 years' petroleum accounting and operational management experience in the international oil and gas industry,joined MDT International in 2004, taking on the role of Managing Director just two years later. In 2011, he bought the company.


MDT International offers a portfolio of both open/public courses which attract a wide international audience, as well as in-house training, with courses being delivered in more than 80 countries around the world, including several in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, South America and Europe.


The company employs five staff and has a pool of 12 trainers, who between them have more than 300 years' experience in the energy industry and more than 100 years' training delivery. They are acknowledged experts in their specialist disciplines and shape course delivery to ensure participants get the most from the experience.


Courses offered include E&P Accounting, auditing, economics and contracting as well as MDT's Introduction to the Oil & Gas Industrycourse. The newest addition is - Mergers, Acquisitions & Divestments (MA&D) in the Upstream Oil & Gas Industry.


The second half of 2019 is looking equally as exciting for MDT, with training scheduled to take place in Angola, Austria, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Norway, Uganda and United Arab Emirates. A range of open/public courses will also take place in Aberdeen, Dubai, London and Kuala Lumpur.


Drew said: “We are quietly confident that the positive trend will continue. Client companies significantly reduced their headcount during the downturn but, with the market environment and higher oil price, there is once again a need to be investing in the learning and development of employees.


“We work incredibly hard to keep our courses topical and packed full of industry specific exercises – this helps ensure that participants are not only fully engaged but leave with the knowledge they want.”

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