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Interview

Roberto Garcia – General Manager, Técnicas Reunidas, Argentina

16.12.2016 / Energyboardroom

roberto-garcio-director-general

The general manager of Técnicas Reunidas Argentina highlights the significance of Argentina within the company’s history. Furthermore, he explains how upcoming opportunities will help the affiliate to prosper in the short term future.

Could you please introduce us to the significance of Técnicas Reunidas (TR) Argentina’s operations within its history of globalization?

“Today, we are recognized by the prestigious Engineering News Record magazine (ENR) as among the top ten engineering companies worldwide”

The first contract of TR in Argentina is vital to understand the importance of this country within the history of TR, as it showcases how deeply Argentina is rooted in our history. That first contract, building the Lujan de Cuyo refinery in the province of Mendoza for YPF, was not only our first experience in the Argentina, but it was also the first EPC project carried out by TR outside of Spain. This project made TR realize the opportunity to internationalize our operations, thus growing and transforming into one of the world’s leading EPC companies. Today, we are recognized by the prestigious Engineering News Record magazine (ENR) as among the top ten engineering companies worldwide. The economic and political cycles that occurred in Argentina, however, limited our domestic growth and the growth of TR in the country was intermittent. Despite these developments, TR succeeded in some energy and gas projects and build an ammonium nitrate plant with proprietary know-how in Argentina. In 1994, when Argentina introduced a consolidated democracy, the decision to establish a permanent branch that would meet the commercial possibilities—both in Argentina and in neighbouring countries—was taken. We envision increased activity in the country, which will allow us to develop our full potential; just as we are already successfully doing in other countries in the region such as Chile, Bolivia, Peru and México.

What keeps TR most busy in Argentina today?

Despite of the lack of significant investments by our clients in our sectors, we have been working with YPF for more than 14 years through specific agreements regarding the implementation, monitoring and management support for their projects. Nonetheless, we are dedicated to finding more business opportunities in Argentina and in other neighbouring countries. Moreover, TR Argentina gives significant commercial and technical support to our offices in Chile, Bolivia and Peru, seeking to maximize the synergy of the structures developed in all these countries.

What is the scope of TR’s portfolio of services in Argentina?

We have complemented our strategy as local and regional EPC Company, providing engineering services and project control across Latin America.

While utilizing a professional structure according to these needs, it is essential to ensure a capacity that allows us to provide services with the quality that characterizes us, and in turn, generate enough revenue to support our activities. The right balance between workload, a flexible structure and a dynamic environment, are the pillars of success within our business. In this effort, we receive significant support of our engineering office in our headquarters in Spain, which tremendously supports all of TR’s activities abroad.

How significant is the oil, gas and power generation sector to TR Argentina?

Currently, TR performs some of the most reputable refining and petrochemical projects in markets such as Middle East, Europe, Asia and North America demonstrating that one of our main strengths lies within these industries while highlighting the importance of this industry to our company. The value of the contracts we have in the oil and gas sector represents an important percentage of our portfolio. Our performance in this sector allows us to boost our participation in other industrial areas, such as Energy and Infrastructure; especially those linked to combined cycle, nuclear energy, water treatment and transportation.

How have the market liberalization measures implemented by President Mauricio Macri impacted your operations thus far?

As a leading global EPC contractor, we see with great optimism the way that the Argentine government has begun to incentivize private investments as a measure to achieve self- sufficiency of hydrocarbons and the expansion of power generation. These measures taken by the new administration are aligned to the anticipated development of the countries production, which cannot be achieved if the availability of the necessary energy is ensured. We are determined to support Argentina in this development with all areas of our business! This transformation opens Argentina to the world, not only as far as hydrocarbons and energy is concerned, but also in infrastructure projects and much more, bringing it truly back to the global market place!

What is the strategy you have implemented to tap into unfolding opportunities following recent announcements of multibillion dollar projects to develop Argentina’s oil and gas sector, infrastructure sector and power generation sector?

The strategy is to increase our presence in the country by strengthening our contacts with all market players and scrutinizing in detail each of the investments announced. This will give us proximity to our potential customers and allow us to understand their needs therefore enabling us to approach them with the kind of quality solutions TR is renowned for. Our target is to generate a well-balanced, flexible, modern and dynamic organizational structure on a local level. Bearing in mind these objectives, we attended the Investment Forum organized by the Argentinean government, where met the relevant regulatory and government authorities and discussed the government’s plans in detail; in a very professional and polite environment. We really appreciate the government’s efforts and would like to thank the Ministers and Government Secretaries of the Ministry of Energy and Mining, Ministry of Interior, Public Works and Housing and Ministry of Transportation, whose contacts and the exchange of information will be very useful for future opportunities in oil and gas, energy and infrastructure projects.

How does TR differentiate itself from its competition?

We have many differentiators! We are already working with the top 15 oil and gas companies around the world, including but not limited to Exxon Mobile, DOW Chemical, Total, Saudi Aramco, ADNOC, KNPC, Petronas, Pemex, Petroperu, YPFB, LUKOIL, SOCAR; all of those already trust our capabilities and engineering excellence for years! Naturally we are ranked among the top ten EPC companies in the oil and gas industry worldwide, employing more than 9000 engineers and technicians from over 39 different nationalities carrying out projects across the globe. All these facts are our differentials, because they provide confidence, credibility, reliability and assurance to our clients that we have the professional resources and the experience they need for their own investment projects. TR has displayed a commitment to quality engineering and execution of world-class EPC projects throughout its history. All this is reflected in the design and construction of more than 1,000 industrial plants in more than 50 countries on six continents. The experience gained in projects of high technical complexity—where knowledge and courage to face challenges are fundamental— is our greatest differential against the competition. Due to our international deployment, we are used to work on a worldwide scale under any climatic or geographical conditions, as well as to develop our activities in various cultural contexts. In short, everything that TR has to offer is the fruit of the effort, professionalism, dedication, commitment and—above all—vision and positive leadership that has distinguished us from our very beginning.

To what extend are you able to deliver solutions to clients in times where contractors seek cost effectiveness?

High competitiveness is an everyday challenge in our business. On that basis, we developed a centralized engineering structure that allows us great confidence when facing a projects individual challenges and needs. For instance, better management and efficiency in purchasing equipment and supplies creates lower cost and also ensures that we meet execution deadlines and start-ups. In addition, our branches and offices located throughout the world provide knowledge and development of contractors and suppliers in each of the places where work might be carried out. This set of capabilities enables us to bring quality solutions to our customers on schedule and in line with their expected return of investment of the project.

What are your aims and ambitions for the future of TR in Argentina?

The aim of our branch in Argentina is to position TR among the leading companies in the country, dedicated to the execution of energy related projects and thus become a local and regional reference. We can see a very favourable scenario in Argentina over the next decade, mainly as we expect significant investments into Argentina’s oil, gas and energy industry. The development of the Vaca Muerta basin will be carried out –in what time is to be seen—and will undoubtedly bring a new Argentinean energy reality. The political and economic context is on the pathway to long-term stability; something we did not see in Argentina for decades! I have no doubt that Argentina is on track to become the most promising investment destination in Latin America. TR will be here doing what we do best: execute quality projects for our customers, contributing to developing the country thus providing a better life for its inhabitants.

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