LONDON, March 27 (Reuters) - Oil and gas equipment supplier Plexus said on Thursday pre-tax profit for the six months up to the end of last year increased 10 percent as the company expands beyond its core North Sea market into Asia and West Africa.
The British company, which supplies wellheads - the taps controlling flow on an oil well - made using a patented engineering technique it says gives a stronger and safer product, is attempting to move into new markets because drilling in the North Sea continues to decline.
One of the few small companies operating in an area dominated by big players like GE Oil and Gas and FMC Technologies, Plexus is hoping to become the go-to provider of subsea wellheads for high pressure high temperature (HPHT) wells which mark the next frontier of big oil finds in places like the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil and the Caspian Sea.
To achieve this the company said it had increased spending in research and development by 21 percent.
Plexus reported interim revenue of 12.64 million pounds ($20.94 million), up 12 percent on the same period last year, with pre-tax profit up 10 percent to 1.9 million pounds. ($1 = 0.6037 British Pounds) (Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer; editing by Keith Weir)