with Bambang Gyat Director Enerkon
You had experience in engineering companies prior to creating Enerkon in 1997. What was the vision behind co-founding your own venture?
My vision was to develop engineering strength in Indonesia. I knew that Indonesia has engineering potential; this Country has the people and the oil and gas resources, so why weren’t locals engaged in the process? Engineering creates, builds, and makes things happen. Enerkon started small, which was OK, but now we are growing with the industry, and continue to realize this vision on a bigger and broader scale.
Fast forwarding over a decade, and the industry is in a very different position. When we interviewed Triharyo Indrawan Soesilo, President Director of Rekayasa, he was optimistic about the Indonesian EPC industry, saying that the sector is growing rapidly and the market is very open to competition. What is your opinion on this positive outlook?
We support Pak Soesilo and Rekayasa in many projects. In fact, the first time Rekayasa worked in offshore, on the South Sumatra-West Java pipeline project, Enerkon was chosen to be involved. In this total $ 1.3 billion project, Enerkon is also working as Project Management Consultant for the client, Perusahaan Gas Negara (PGN), as sub-consultant suporting international engineering companies who were chosen as PMC.
For a $1.3 billion project, any company could have been chosen to fill Enerkon’s position. Why were you chosen?
In fact, many other companies were chosen besides Enerkon. Because the South Sumatra-West Java pipeline is such a big project, it is divided into two parts. The first is financed by Japan through the JBIC, and the other by Indonesia through PGN. Both of these sides needed international companies as project management consultants. However, because it is an Indonesian project, there is a requirement for Indonesian engineers, and that’s where Enerkon fills the niche: local engineering expertise. We were chosen because of experience and successful track record in both domestic and international projects.
When I formed Enerkon in 1997, our first project was supporting US Filter, the biggest American water treatment company, who wished to return to the Indonesian oil and gas industry after an absence of 11 many years. In this project, there was some reservation towards partnering with Indonesians, and a misperception that expatriates are the only competent engineering source. In fact, Indonesians are trained and knowledgeable. In the beginning, Enerkon would often receive sceptical questions: “What can you do for me? to which we would respond, “Don’t worry, we can do it. And then we’d deliver, in a way that encourages and empowers local engineering resources in the energy and oil and gas fields.
An important part of these local resources is the human aspect. Some people speak of recruitment and retention difficulties, and a brain drain towards countries with more developed industry. What is Enerkon doing to attract the best and brightest?
Having the most established standards, Enerkon generally recruits based on experience, selecting many local engineers who have worked for large international or national companies. However, we also call upon fresh graduates or junior engineers to work with these more seasoned professionals. Enerkon has developed a system within the company, and with ISO-9000 certification, we’ve proven this system can be run and evaluated. This system educates junior engineers along with the senior engineers, to work together and learn from one another.
We have another program in Enerkon called “on the job training where fresh graduates are hired but not charged to a project, and are instead billed to corporate overhead, so the project manager is not burdened with additional costs. This training program helps because the junior engineers receive higher responsibility by helping out on a team, without impacting the project with higher overhead.
Enerkon also has in-class/ in-house training with senior staff mentors, who bring in a special case to discuss in great detail; for example corrosion and the application of corrosion knowledge in a given project. The senior will give a general lesson in a multidisciplinary manner, over a half-day, transferring knowledge and reinforcing concepts throughout the organization.
You mention developing systems for ISO compliance. What is Enerkon’s priority toward safety, how is safety important to Enerkon?
Enerkon has a safety program and senior safety engineers in the organization, who perform mainly external consultancy jobs, but also advise internally. Safety is integrated into our designs, and the way we work, and that comes with experience and maintaining a proper working environment on the job and in the office. Many clients, in applying safety standards, will expect to see safety ingrained in the company culture, sometimes even interviewing office staff to test awareness of technical safety requirements. For me, ISO is a given, in that our compliance is mandatory, and following such standards is the only way to have tenders accepted by international companies. It is also the most effective way to operate and manage for growth.
Ari Soemarno and Pertamina are looking for partners to help develop the more than $1B planned in upstream activities in 2008. Where does Enerkon see the most potential to take advantage of such investments?
Enerkon is aware of such investment programs, and to be in this business we must be unique. One way Enerkon is unique is in developing what we call Advanced Technology Solutions, which involve applying internationally-known software applications to perform modelling and simulations. Working very closely with such international leaders as Energy Solutions International (ESI), the leading pipeline specialist for operators and engineering companies, Enerkon applies advanced software to create and simulate a virtual pipeline, as if the pipeline were already built. Enerkon trains engineers to use these simulations, and the “on-line pipeline management system is one of our strongest applications. Enerkon is also working side by side with US based Merrick Systems, Inc. a global leader in advanced applications for Oil & Gas. Together we offer solutions for field data collection, and production improvement in through well and reservoir surveillance, and closed loop optimization, both on-shore and offshore.
We are now the leading company in Indonesia for such advanced technologies in upstream. Our value added is that we can assist in improving production in declining fields while meeting targets for improved health, safety, and environmental standards. With these world leaders supporting our trained engineers, we have the capabilities to lead and deliver successful upstream projects throughout Indonesia.
As someone who is technically trained as an engineer, what is the most interesting part of managing this variety of consulting and engineering projects?
Sometimes in projects there are many non-technical aspects. As an engineer, my job is to make things happen, but often I am faced with many interesting non-technical aspects. Clients such as PGN and the Government of Indonesia are very aware of such elements. In running a cross-country transmission line, for example, the social impact is enormous, and it is rewarding to deal with such factors that are not always present in other areas of engineering.
How would you describe your philosophy, in having to face these technical combined with social issues?
I don’t want to be called a consultant; I am an engineer who makes it happen. Enerkon makes designs to be built, tested, and run well. In doing that there are many challenges and problems, but we rise to the occasion.
In trying to “make it happen over the next five to 10 years, what are your ambitions for Enerkon?
Enerkon is not only focused on engineering, but also project management, because the company is concerned with contract administration, safety, and the environment – not only the grass or water, but the people of Indonesia. In the future, Enerkon hopes to be involved in offshore development such as semi-submersible and FPSOs. This is where the Indonesian oil and gas industry’s momentum is heading, and we need to learn and build up our capabilities to be at the forefront of offshore engineering.