Krishnaswamy Iyer – Regional Director UAE, Qatar, Iraq & North Africa, WorleyParsons
Krishnaswamy Iyer of WorleyParsons reveals how the increasing focus on brownfield asset optimization will see the industry undergo a digital transformation; how WorleyParsons has conducted over 60 PMC projects over the last 15 years in the region building a reputation for delivering extremely complex projects; and how the ambition is for their business in this region to grow significantly over the next few years, with the UAE remaining one of our key regional offices.
In August 2015, you became Regional Director of UAE, Qatar, Iraq and North Africa at WorleyParsons, after having been with the company globally and in the region for over a decade. Can you provide an overview of the WorleyParsons’ operations you oversee?
Our main strength is that we know how to deliver a project, and we understand the business problem at the early front end stage.
WorleyParsons has been operating across the MENA region for over 35 years. While we still have local offices in most markets, considering the recent challenges the oil and gas industry has been facing, there has been numerous re-structuring initiatives. A key objective of such consolidation was to increase synergies between our various offices.
The region has always been a focus area globally for our business. We employ more than 3,500 people across the Middle East and North Africa. I am responsible for our operations in the UAE, Qatar and North Africa, namely Egypt, Iraq and Libya. In Qatar, we have a large office with over 450 employees. The UAE has always been one of the key regional hub offices and we have been here for over 20 years.
What have been some of the benefits that come with consolidating your business in the region?
Our business is all about people. We are in a service industry, where we provide quality resources. One of the challenges of having numerous offices in one region is that you tend to duplicate capabilities and skills. By consolidating our business, we have created synergies by focusing on better collaboration to optimise our capabilities and capacity. Indeed, we can already see that our employees are working more effectively together and customers see value in our increased collaboration.
Such consolidation should be seen only from an operational and leadership level. The basic fabric of our business when it comes to delivering projects remains the same. We remain a local company that looks to add value to our customers’ work. Our model of operating offices on the ground, close to our clients, remains a key differentiator compared to our competitors. 50 to 60 percent of our business is based on building long-term relationships. It takes time to build such relationships, particularly in this region. Our presence “on the ground” has helped us connect with our customers and build long term relationships. Even though we are local, our flexibility to offer our capabilities from across our other global offices is a key part of our growth strategy. Our comprehensive network of over 120 offices enables us to provide local support to our customers backed by global expertise.
Our comprehensive network of over 120 offices enables us to provide local support to our customers backed by global expertise.
What particular service offerings does WorleyParsons offer that make it an essential actor in the UAE? What differentiates WorleyParsons from your competitors in this region’s crowded landscape?
We have built a reputation for the delivery of extremely complex projects, notably working on large PMC contracts from concept to delivery and large FEED projects. Our focus on asset integrity and portfolio optimization is also a key component of the services that we deliver where over half of the business is based on an existing customer relationship. Over the years, we have demonstrated a clear ability to differentiate ourselves from the competition. Clients see a lot of value in the services that we deliver.
In addition, WorleyParsons owns a number of proprietary Sulphur technology licences which cover a number of design and technology related tools for sulphur recovery, acid gas removal, and tail gas technology, which plays an important role in our business in the region. In the UAE, given the high levels of hydrogen sulphide content within the country’s gas fields, our technology will prove particularly beneficial. Sulphur related design and technology have long been core services in which WorleyParsons is recognized as a world leader. We are a world leader in sulphur recovery technology with a track record of over 60 years and have designed over 600 sulphur plants across the globe. Our capability spans all aspect of sulphur technology including recovery, gas treatment, gas processing, sour gas injection and operational support and troubleshooting, to name a few.
On the advisory side, there is a gap between the strategy consultation provided by management consultancies and boutique firms, and the implementation of these strategies. WorleyParsons, through its newest business line Advisian launched in July 2015, is focused on bridging this gap: we deliver value to our clients by offering integrated services that not only focus on management consultancy, but also integrate the more technical aspects. Our main strength is that we know how to deliver a project, and we understand the business problem at the early front end stage. I’ll speak a bit more about Advisian later.
In FY 2015, WorleyParsons completed the acquisition of MTG, a management consulting firm in the oil and gas, petrochemicals and chemicals sectors. How has such an acquisition strategy impacted your strategy in the Middle East?
As mentioned, in July 2015, we launched a dedicated strategic, management and technical consulting business line, Advisian, focused on the resources and energy industry. We have always had a very strong technical consulting practice within our business. Advisian builds on that to provide high-level strategic and management consulting services and is supported by the strong engineering and technical expertise found within the WorleyParsons Group. Our Advisian strategy was reinforced by MTG, a US based management consulting firm which specialized in improving operational performance across every aspect of the exploration and production, midstream, refining and marketing, petrochemicals and chemicals industries. With its combination of management and strategy advisory services and our technical consulting and domain expertise we see Advisian as a truly unique global consulting firm.
In March 2016, you completed a three-year project creating a digital asset database for the Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company (ADMA-OPCO). Tell us more about which projects you are currently working on in the region.
The industry is heading for a digital transformation. There are a number of ageing assets across the region, not to mention globally. With an increasing focus on brownfield asset optimization, ensuring that investments are maximized, “Digital Enterprise” which is also part of our Advisian offering, will be key to success. Looking at ADMA-OPCO, our work there was just a first step. There are a number of assets that need modernizing. The main scope of this project was to replace the existing engineering document repository with an ”as-is” data and document warehouse. To accomplish this we undertook data collection, site surveys, laser scanning and detailed verification of information. On completion, all data and documents required for ongoing operations were loaded into a pre-configured Engineering Data Warehouse. For operating companies, the biggest advantage of migrating from a plain, simple indexing system to an advanced platform incorporating intelligent technology means that it can accurately represent all of its assets in real-time. Abu Dhabi Gas Industries (GASCO), another subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) are also actively involved in Digital Transformation and we have been selected to execute the Habshan 5 -SmartPlant Documentation update project.
Beyond the UAE, we have also recently been particularly active in Egypt. We are currently executing a large PMC contract for the Egyptian Refinery Company (ERC). In March 2016, we were awarded a four-year contract with, Assiut Oil Refining Company (ASORC), a subsidiary of the main NOC Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC). This contract will see WorleyParsons establish a significant new customer relationship with one of Egypt’s main downstream operators while building on its strength in delivering outstanding PMC services in the Middle East & North Africa region. Indeed, we finished the first milestone of the project within six weeks. Egypt is committed to improving its infrastructure, and we have proven ourselves to be a valuable partner in this process.
What do you want to achieve with WorleyParsons over the next few years in the region?
My ambition is for our business in this region to grow significantly. Egypt will be an important growth market. Iraq will return to the fold eventually. Our business in Qatar will remain a key focus area for growth..
Most notably, the UAE will continue to grow as one of the main hubs for the region. Following the restructuring that has taken place under ADNOC´s new CEO, H.E. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, I believe the UAE will remain the market with the most potential. Over the last decade that I have been working with WorleyParsons in the Middle East, our business has remained remarkably stable. The recent consolidation that we undertook globally has only helped to increase collaboration with our partners in the region, delivering value to our clients. Our niche focus areas and expertise will help us to continue to grow the business while working closely with the NOCs and other customers in the region.
When it comes to PMCs WorleyParsons is truly the market leader.
When it comes to PMCs WorleyParsons is truly the market leader. We have conducted over 60 PMC projects, both upstream and downstream over the last 15 years in the region, managing over USD 100 billion’s worth of contracts in the past decade alone. We came to this region and we stayed throughout the different cycles – we are in it for the long-term. However, the regional market is becoming increasingly crowded, so the key for us is to continue building a model where we differentiate and deliver value to our clients. While the market is becoming increasingly competitive, we will never compromise on the quality of our talent and work. Ultimately, this is what our clients most value.