– KK Lim, President – Asia Pacific
KK Lim, President, Asia Pacific, Technip discusses the company’s commitment to Malaysia for more than 30 years, the importance of R&D to Technip’s Asia operations, and the company’s involvement in the RAPID mega-project.
Being originally from Kuala Lumpur, I always knew that I would make a loop and return home in one capacity or another. While working in Singapore, I began to compare Singapore and Malaysia. Although Singapore offers easy access to finance and an attractive work atmosphere, among other assets, Malaysia excels at serving their domestic clients. Malaysia possesses its own oil and natural gas resources. Furthermore, multinational companies are long established players locally.
The “stars lined up” in 2012, and I was pleased to come home when offered the opportunity to head Asia Pacific operations at Technip. Technip encompasses subsea, offshore, and onshore business, which is a perfect fit for my previous professional experiences. The company has also invested heavily in Malaysia and believes in the region, thus constituting an ideal employer for my return to Malaysia.
Technip’s presence in Malaysia dates back more 30 years, and Malaysia hosts both the company’s APAC HQ and major installments such as the Asiaflex Plant. Why Malaysia, and what is the evolving strategic importance of Technip’s operations in Malaysia?
Kuala Lumpur is a major hub by virtue of geography, being situated at the heart of the Asia Pacific region. Even with growth slowing down (between 4-8%), Malaysia is still progressing and boasts an educated workforce and a variety of natural resources, including oil and gas and mining. In addition, Malaysia’s sustainable policies increase project opportunities for both local and international players. Finally, Kuala Lumpur offers an attractive balance of expertise, costs and business friendliness, which make Malaysia very attractive to investors.
Technip established its Kuala Lumpur office in 1982 and has been serving the region since. This Asia Pacific Headquarters serves as a gateway to larger regional opportunities. To give one example, our Kuala Lumpur office has substantially contributed to jumpstarting our local Indonesian subsea capabilities. In China, leveraging the strength of the Kuala Lumpur office has also helped Technip to build market capabilities in the country.
Cultivating a relationship with Petronas has been on top of our priority list over the years, and we have thus developed a familiar and trusting relationship. This specific agreement had been under development before my arrival at Technip. Petronas Carigali clearly saw the benefit of partnering with Technip. This framework agreement allows the long term development of talents while helping in cost-effective solution for our client through the deployment of flexible pipe technology in both green and brownfield developments.
Technip is involved in both FLNG projects in Australia and in Malaysia, while, in 2013, you were awarded contracts for the Malikai deepwater. What has been Technip Malaysia’s local contribution to R&D for deep-water thus far, and how do you see this evolving in the coming years?
Technip spends €75 million annually on research and development globally, as we believe that our technology ensures our competitive edge. Technologies are developed not only in Paris but also globally in countries such as Brazil and Malaysia, a global R&D commitment that differentiates us from the competition. Malaysia’s capabilities are impressive; the country boasts sufficient project management and engineering capabilities to complete FLNG, projects like RAPID and deep-water developments. Alongside partners such as Petronas, we will continue to enhance our capabilities and improve our ability to tackle more complex work. In this vein, a substantial portion of Technip’s international work, be it for Brazil or Europe, is now being designed out of Kuala Lumpur.
In both Australia and Kuala Lumpur, we have built up our FLNG capabilities to better serve the clients’ needs, while our deep-water group is very active in Kuala Lumpur.
In 2012, Technip acquired Stone & Webster Process Technologies. How has this acquisition helped to increase your downstream capacities in the past two years, particularly given increased regional opportunities in downstream?
Stone & Webster Process Technologies brings many complimentary process technologies, and the acquisition was part of Technip’s plan to diversify and balance our portfolio. The integration of Stone & Webster with Technip brought on a wider client base, additional process licences, and reinforced our expertise in Project Management Consultancy (PMC). Our company gained traction and clientele in PMC which is largely reimbursable work that rebalances our projects portfolio risk profile.
The $25.5 billion RAPID project is a pivotal step in creating value to the downstream oil and gas value chain. What qualities in Technip have encouraged Petronas to choose the company as a downstream partner of choice for this mega project?
Technip was chosen both to provide the FEED for RAPID in 2011, and in June 2014, Technip and Fluor were awarded the PMC contract. This JV was also awarded the EPCM contract for the utilities, interconnecting and offsites in October 2014. In many ways, Technip is well positioned to support Petronas in PMC and UIO works for RAPID as an international company. We now have a track record and the credibility to complete a PMC job. Furthermore, such a massive undertaking requires financing arrangements and due diligence, and Technip has the proper setup and size to assist Petronas to do so. In addition, working on a mega-project such as RAPID requires keen understanding of local specificities, which Technip can provide, being firmly established in Malaysia.
In 2014, Technip was hailed as a Top Employer in Asia. What factors create this positive work environment for Technip in Malaysia?
This recognition showcases the importance of all our employees to Tecnhip and our efforts to create a quality work environment. As an example, our first employee in the Kuala Lumpur office still works for Technip. Employee feedback is seriously considered and integrated into our processes at Technip. Our structured programs ensure a quality workforce and benefits. Among others, the Technip Leading Edge Program, a talent management program for the top 10-15%, grooms high potential staff for leadership positions. Finally, I am a local myself and continuing to develop local talent is a clear priority for Technip.
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