Digging deep for drill bits

Drill bit engineers Baker Hughes is investing a total off £4.6m in its Hughes Christensen Belfast facility, which is being supported by a £900,000 contribution from Invest NI.

Castlereagh-based Hughes Christensen specialises in the manufacture of drill bits for oil and gas drilling which are used worldwide.

The project, which could see the creation of 52 new jobs, will establish a new facility to manufacture innovative drill bits to meet the changing needs of the marketplace and the construction of an associated design facility.

Announcing the investment, Invest NI’s chief executive, Leslie Morrison said: ‘In today’s marketplace it is essential that firms continuously innovate to remain competitive. By developing its Northern Ireland production capability for the technologically advanced drill bit, Hughes Christensen is reinforcing its leading position in this sector.

‘In addition to the benefits to the company, including highly customised product design, the establishment of this new facility further establishes Northern Ireland as a prime location for high value added product design and manufacture,’ added Mr Morrison.

Ian Warke, general manager at Hughes Christensen Belfast, said: ‘To date, tri-cone drill bit manufacturing has been the core business of Hughes Christensen, Belfast. Global demand for technically advanced products, together with our existing manufacturing and technical skills, has resulted in this project being secured in Northern Ireland. This investment in Polycrystalline Diamond Compact (PDC) drill bit design and manufacture in Belfast confirms our commitment to meeting increased demand for innovative products.’