Engineering & Management – RK Herojit, Managing Director – Singapore
RK Herojit, Managing Director of Hask Engineering & Management, shares the company’s cost-effective, transparent and innovative technical support solutions for the EPC industry. Hask E&M undertakes fabrication sub-contracting; piping and installation of piping offshore platforms and has recently expanded globally, opening an office in Houston.
Your current role includes rolling out Hask Engineering & Management’s service overseas. What are the relative advantages and challenges of doing so from Singapore?
The chief advantage is strategic, rather than operational. Houston is a major capital for oil and gas markets and if Hask gains a presence there it will be able to leverage on the respect companies from the Far East currently have for our business, thus helping us to secure contracts and work. Simultaneously, Houston itself is often the location from which contracts are sent. As such, if Hask is able to connect with clients in Houston, we will also be able to deliver for them here in the Far East, where they may be less aware of the players operating. Expanding to Houston is an exercise concentrating on building awareness. Here in this region, we are focused on building operational capacity to directly help the oil and gas companies.
Within Southeast Asia, where do you see principal opportunity?
As of now, Singapore is still doing very well with enormous market potential. There are also other countries where large projects are proceeding such as Vietnam, which is capitalising on the opportunity to cooperate with Japan to utilize gas. Elsewhere, people are actively seeking opportunities, but in terms of the offshore market, this still is a key forte of Singapore first and foremost.
You offer engineering support, project services and construction. Of these, which are your principal growth drivers and how are you securing expansion in these areas?
We undertake fabrication sub-contracting; piping and installation of piping offshore platforms, which we have recently undertaken for SME and a field development PPT EPT project in Thailand. Another key project that we undertook was construction of living quarters and installation of HVAC systems for the Ekofisk project under ConocoPhillips. This was an offshore accommodation platform able to house 452 staff and represented a substantial job. That project has been a challenge in terms of ensuring a commercial return, as we have sought to shave down costs as best possible.
Our revenue generating activities are primarily in technical support operations. When a company is taking forward an EPC project, we are able to support their engineering or construction by hiring a good number of engineers and personnel who we then outsource to the clients such as CB&I or McDermott, amongst others.
With regard to securing engineering talent in Singapore– a notoriously tight resource- what is your approach to collecting human resources?
In terms of the working environment, our engineers work on the client’s site. Most of the clients we work for are world class clients and so provide good working environments. In order for Hask to be competitive, we seek to give our employees a good package, with solid support- paying for flights to the country of operation, offering cash advances and the like. Finally, we seek to be flexible with regard to leave and medical leave.
Could you tell us a little about your idea of client perceptions of Hask and give an example of a project which you consider to be exemplary of your reputation?
We are a young company, seeking to offer the highest quality service we can since our foundation in 2006. Our services are cost effective and transparent- these are the characteristics which really attract clients to us. We have around 50 staff working with Keppel shipyards on inspection services currently and this is the current embodiment of a relationship with the shipyard which we have been developing for years. Keppel is a brand synonymous with Singapore– it very much highlights the solid appreciation for our talents in the city.
What are the key market trends affecting Hask today, and what is your business’ risk strategy?
Although we are a very small company, we retain a fully dedicated research team which studies the broader market and updates our business development department daily with news and analysis of current trends or individual events in the sector. This focuses on key markets, here in the Far East meaning Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and further afield in Norway and the oil conglomeration over in Houston. As such, our business is highly responsive to market trends. Understanding and awareness means the company can react quickly to avoid adverse situations or to seize on advantageous opportunities. Innovation helps us capitalise on the latter. We seek to stay on our toes in order to offer solutions that can cut costs and deliver projects faster or more efficiently.
What are the key characteristics you consider an EPC company has to hold close to deliver success?
Value generation is essential. Any business must deliver value to the client, whether in terms of quality, pricing or productivity. It is not easy to achieve all these objectives at once, but our staff are seeking to train and educate our engineers to achieve this- we seek to regularly review and enhance the safety and efficacy of our operations. When it comes to improving productivity, however, one must look beyond simply improving the skill set of opportunities and encourage staff to want to contribute more to the project. Stimulating this attitude is important, and requires a great deal of attention.
You have personally worked at Sembawang shipyard, and also at HD Engineering on FPSO units. Given the importance of FPSO engineering to Singapore’s economy, what is the state of the FPSO market in the country right now in Singapore, and how might Hask capitalise on this?
The FPSO market will continue to be robust into the future. Considering the energy market more widely, there is much conversation about shale gas and other unconventional sources. New technology however, requires a certain period before it reaches sufficient maturity to have full effect. For this reason, I think the FPSO unit will continue to be central to the oil and gas industry for quite some time. There is nothing at the moment to challenge the need for these assets.
Hask must continue to grow- this requires a great deal of money and hard work. Hask is seeking to ensure its reputation for hard work is well- known, and as a small company would hope to catch the attention of a larger player who could provide the finance to really fuel Hask’s growth. This will enable Hask to move to the next level in terms of its capabilities.