The UK’s leading onshore deep drilling specialist has secured a seven-figure loan to help finance its work on the construction of two ‘green’ power stations in Ethiopia.
The Marriott Drilling Group has raised the funding from NPIF – Mercia Debt Finance, which is managed by Mercia and is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF). The projects at Tulu Moye and Hawassa will be the country’s first independent power stations and will run off geothermal energy harnessed by drilling deep into the volcanic rocks below.
Marriott, which is based in Chesterfield, has already invested in two new rigs that are currently being shipped to Ethiopia. The funding will provide working capital to support the ongoing operations, which will last for four years and require up to 160 technical staff between the two sites at any one time.
Marriott, which won the Queen’s Award for International Trade earlier this year, provides services worldwide to the geothermal, water, mining, and oil and gas industries. The business was founded in 1947 by agricultural engineer Richard Marriott to drill wells for water supplies. In the 1990s, it began to diversify into other industries and played a key role in discovering oil in Belize and developing the country’s first oil field.
The company, which is now run by the founder’s grandsons Paul Marriott and Jonti Hobday, employs around 300 staff and is currently working on other projects in Ireland, Switzerland, Mozambique, Kenya, Ethiopia and Bolivia. Over the past two years, it has increased its annual turnover from £33m to £42m and aims to raise this to over £70m over the next two years. The funding is expected to create around 18 new jobs in Chesterfield.
David Jones, Financial Controller at Marriott Group, said: “The projects at Tulu Moye and Hawassa will be critical in rolling out renewable energy to meet Ethiopia’s growing power needs and we are delighted to be playing our part.However large-scale contracts like these require us to have the right finance in place. The funding from NPIF – Mercia Debt Finance will provide additional capital to support the day-to-day operations on site.”
Andy Tyas of Mercia added: “Growing interest in geothermal power is opening up new opportunities for the Marriott Group. It is great to be able to support its work on these projects, which will enable it to continue to build its international reputation while supporting sustainable development in Ethiopia.”
Sean Hutchinson at British Business Bank, said: “We’re delighted that the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund has provided funding to one of the UK’s giants in international drilling, particularly as it is developing sustainable geothermal energy solutions across the world. This investment helps to showcase the Fund’s diversity of businesses it can support, and the impact it can have in helping companies, such as Marriot Drilling, kickstart new projects and ventures. We would encourage other businesses that are seeking to grow to see what funding options are available from NPIF.”
The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.