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Interview

Geeta Thakorlal – Senior Vice-President Global Offshore Select & INTECSEA ANZ, INTECSEA, Australia

INTECSEA’s Geeta Thakorlal details how she aims to position the Offshore Select division globally and steer the Australian affiliate to better meet her clients’ evolving needs, while strengthening the company’s reputation as a trusted and innovative partner that allows its clients to more efficiently conceive and develop oil and gas projects in a challenging pricing context.  

First of all, could you please provide our readers with a brief overview of INTECSEA’s positioning within the WorleyParsons Group?

Our parent company, WorleyParsons Group, is an international Australia-based provider of professional services, project delivery and project management and services to the Hydrocarbons, Minerals & Metals, Chemicals, and Infrastructure industries. Within the WorleyParsons group, Advisian stands as the independent consulting business line of WorleyParsons’ portfolio. Advisian’s ambition is to become a leading global consulting company, offering management and technical advisory, consulting, and implementation capabilities. INTECSEA is part of Advisian’s Upstream Offshore service line. In this regard, INTECSEA is one of the world’s leading independent deepwater engineering, project management, and consultancy companies. In terms of synergies, being part of Advisian’s two-fold offering provides INTECSEA with the ability to more holistically approach our clients’ needs, notably by leveraging Advisian’s commercial expertise to complement INTECSEA’s focus on technical solutions. In this way, we can help our clients to choose the technical solutions that will also display the most promising commercial impact.

INTECSEA’s Offshore Select division is the specialist offshore front-end division of INTECSEA, focused on project viability assessment and development concept selection. Beginning at the feasibility stage, we help get our partners’ projects to Final Investment Decision (FID) and we protect their investment all the way through to first production and beyond. As Global Senior Vice-President of this division since July 2015, I have been coordinating and implementing the deployment of our international strategy over our Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East, and Americas hubs. We are still undergoing an exploration phase, which aims at better understanding our different markets’ key specificities. Nevertheless, this crucial and necessary process is particularly ramped up by the long-standing international presence of WorleyParsons and its various offices in 46 different countries.

Considering the current pricing context, do you feel that your clients are putting greater emphasis on quality decision-making and pre-FEED activities?

While we observe a massive cutback in greenfield developments on a global scale, operators all over the world are currently focused on developing their existing portfolios and, given the current pricing context, they indisputably need to assess development options with more scrutiny than ever. Although many companies have cut their CAPEX, they nevertheless still need to generate new sources of production to fulfill their requirements, which on the other hand bolsters a certain upturn in consulting services.

However, this context above all stands as a unique opportunity for operators to rethink the way they conceive their projects and how they choose the best manner to exploit their assets. In the meantime, service providers also need to challenge themselves and generate more cost-effective solutions. Low prices force us to rule out most of the solutions we would have historically advised, and to look at new technologies and processes that would better fit with our clients’ evolving needs.

How is INTECSEA currently adapting itself to better meet these evolving needs?

First of all, we now have to adopt a completely different mindset: clients not only want to reduce project expenditures, but also want to tremendously shorten construction timelines, as operators are indeed looking for faster project delivery and want to get their return on investment much sooner than two years ago. This sense of urgency is relatively new for oil and gas developments, where most of the project constructions have historically been spread out over decade-long timelines.

To better meet client needs and further develop its footprint, INTECSEA is retooling and repositioning its services. In this vein, we are meticulously evaluating our current offering, in order to steadily reduce our capability for services that would appear as less relevant and less in demand within the current pricing context. We plan to strengthen the front-end capabilities that have recently seen their demand increased.

We are strengthening our field development, work scope planning, and asset management skill sets, as brownfield developments usually entail different skills and competences than greenfield projects. Furthermore, being a true global player is a particularly valuable asset in these challenging times. For instance, being involved in projects in the Gulf of Mexico, where the projects’ speed to market remain probably higher than in Asia-Pacific, clearly helps us to sharpen our added-value when tendering for Australian projects. On the other hand, our greenfield Australian expertise, developed in deep and shallow waters located in particularly remote projects, can now be leveraged when contributing to new African developments. At the same time, we remain extremely careful to never bluntly replicate our solutions from one project to another, as INTECSEA’s philosophy is to always provide our clients with independent, tailor-made solutions and insight fully adapted to the operation context.

INTECSEA has been involved in many Australian LNG projects. To what extent does INTECSEA’s contribution to these world-class projects truly showcase the expertise the company strives to deliver?

Over the last thirteen years, INTECSEA has indeed contributed to most of the largest LNG developments in Australia since the North West Shelf project, from feasibility and concept selection to engineering design, either for greenfield or brownfield projects. As a result, INTECSEA holds a fair share of the Western-Australian market. We are currently working with a number of tier one and tier two companies on field development options, as well as concept selection studies.

Among other projects, INTECSEA’s contribution to Chevron’s Wheatstone project is particularly evocative of the manner in which we want to deliver our expertise to our partners. Five years ago, we were commissioned for the Pre-Feed phase of the subsea development, and our services have been retained for FEED and detail engineering. Five years later out from our first contribution to this project, we are now involved in the hook-up commissioning, which is about to reach the last stage of its construction phase. This ongoing and successful partnership truly highlights the importance that trust and strategic partnerships embody INTECSEA’s approach to business. We truly believe that, although our company’s credibility is of the utmost importance to access new business opportunities, cementing long-standing partnerships mainly relies on our effective ability to deliver on our promises in the course of our daily operations.

In this regard, being able to work in close partnership with our clients, but also other project suppliers not only stands as a competitive advantage; it truly becomes a requirement from projects’ operators, as the current focus of the industry is increasingly on ramping up project delivery. Thus, we are able to collaborate and develop partnerships with any company across the board, should it be our competitors, to ensure we better coordinate our expertise and deliver the added-value our clients expect.

Where do you want to take INTECSEA Australia over the next five years?

My main objective is to further strengthen INTECSEA’s positioning as the TO1 of reference for future developments in the country. To fulfill this objective, I want to continuously bolster the innovative culture within our company’s walls that will guarantee we are able to follow and anticipate our clients’ evolving needs. I seek to do this while always nurturing a wider openness and readiness to cooperate with our partners. The current context forces us to think differently and to challenge the way we have been operating over the last decades; my role is to ensure INTECSEA will continue to be recognized as the trusted and innovative partner that allows its clients to more efficiently develop future oil and gas projects.

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