Matrix Composites & Engineering Ltd (ASX:MCE) got a boost from oil and gas major Woodside Petroluem (ASX:WPL) this morning.

The company announced it’s inked a deal to provide engineering services to Woodside subsidiary Woodside Energy Technologies.

Shares in MCE found momentum at the opening bell with a gain of more than 30 per cent, before easing back slightly.

Getting back in the Matrix

While Matrix already has a commercial partnership with Woodside, this new deal will give it a platform to leverage its expertise in “advanced materials technology, composite materials and advanced manufacturing”, the company said.

The Woodside deal provided a much needed catalyst for Matrix shares, which got battered in the COVID-19 selloff as oil prices slumped.

The morning gain saw Matrix shares climb back to 17.5c, but the stock is still well off its pre-Covid high above 35c.

Commenting on the deal, Matrix CEO Aaron Begley said it aligns with the company’s strategic shift (first flagged in July) towards operational services on mature projects, rather than greenfields exploration.

Matrix ended up booking a net loss (including asset write-downs) of $64.5 million in FY20, on revenues of $27.4m “reflecting the dramatically weaker oil price and COVID-19 global impacts on the oil/gas industry”, the company said.

Matrix didn’t specify revenue figures from its latest Woodside deal. The contract has no “minimum value”, the company said, with “all work to be provided on an agreed schedule of rates”.

Begley said the company recently formed a dedicated group to explore opportunities for its advanced material capabilities to assist on operational brownfields projects.

“The combination of our expertise in materials science and advanced manufacturing enables Matrix to deliver solutions that traditional materials cannot, and this agreement provides us with an excellent opportunity to demonstrate our capabilities in the local market,” Begley said.