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Aker MH, Inc. is the North American oil drilling rig services and manufacturing business unit of Norway- based Aker Solutions. Keith Regan learns from the business unit's president how it is transforming from mainly a manufacturing business to one more focused on higher- value services and solutions 194 www. bus- ex. com JANUARY 10 service provider From manufacturer to

Aker MH, Inc. JANUARY 10 www. bus- ex. com 195 products and integrated solutions to the industrial, gas and oil, refining and chemical, mining and metals, and power generation markets. For instance, Aker MH has expanded into the construction and operation of oil drilling rig training simulators, facilities meant to reflect the cutting- edge design of the rigs themselves and to help drilling companies avoid costly downtime. " When we sell a deep- water drilling package now, we're talking about technology that can drill in water depths of up to 12,000 feet and drills that reach a total depth of up to 40,000 feet. The technology and equipment required to do that is pretty high- tech, NASA- level type of stuff. So the simulators we're building are meant to reflect that and be a replica of the actual rig we've been commissioned to build." Simulators enable would- be drill operators to be put in an operator's chair, with joysticks and display screens in each arm and a view similar to that from the actual drilling rig's cab, from where they can learn how the F or decades, Aker MH, Inc. has been a top designer and manufacturer of oil field drilling structures, doing the vast majority of its own manufacturing as it provided customized rigs for third- party owners and drilling companies in locations such as the Gulf of Mexico and other deep- water drilling locations around the world. While it remains focused on the same market, the internal business mix has begun to take a significant shift, and Katy, Texas- based Aker MH is embracing the change with a growing focus on providing engineering and design services, training, maintenance and related services while also moving to better manage the quality of its supply chain as it moves to outsource more of its manufacturing work. " We're moving up to the higher value- added areas such as engineering and services," says Philip Agnew, president of Aker MH, Inc., which in turn is part of Norway- based Aker Solutions, a leading global provider of engineering and construction services, technology