WorleyParsons is a major ECPM player on Jurong island and is adapting its offering to cope with a faltering demand for new projects.
WorleyParsons boasts a longstanding relationship with Singapore and the greater region, having entered and sustained joint ventures on the island decades ago. Can you please provide our readers with a more detailed history of the firm’s Singaporean presence?
The Company, commenced operations in Singapore in the mid 1980s, as a result of a joint venture with Frasier. Given that our primary focus at the time was private infrastructure, the business was established through the transfer of select infrastructure capabilities from Australia to Singapore. In fact, our entrance into Singapore marked WorleyParsons’ first step into the private infrastructure sector, as we were historically known for our experience in oil and gas.
The Company operated as Frasier Worley until 2001 when we acquired DRPL, a firm that provided project delivery services to the local power industry. This acquisition enabled WorleyParsons to become a power infrastructure focused organization with a twofold strategy in Singapore.
A few years later in 2005, one of WorleyParsons’ customers was looking to make a large investment on Jurong Island. We consequently entered a joint venture to deliver that project, which was a significant stepping stone into the hydrocarbons and chemical sector. Hence, WorleyParsons further diversified its local operations across three sectors in Singapore. Global services agreements with our customers have enabled WorleyParsons to penetrate a competitive market over the last 10 years, and helped us establish a large footprint in the chemical sector. As WorleyParsons continued to expand market penetration, we also expanded our service offerings.
Can you elaborate on WorleyParson’s achievements within Singapore’s chemical sector?
The chemical sector in Singapore remains a cornerstone of our operations in the country. In 2015, WorleyParsons established our consulting business called Advisian, which provides a unique offering of technical consulting and management consulting services at a Global scale. The genesis of this business line has enabled us to focus on early phase project development. Prior to the formation of Advisian, we utilized our preexisting project development capabilities in Singapore to get involved in permitting, quantitative risk assessment (QRA) and environmental risk assessments as well as our core services of Pre-FEED, FEED and EPCM delivery for a large number of developments on Jurong Island. Establishing early phase engagement with customers allows us to successfully leverage other parts of our service offerings to the market. WorleyParsons is now able to guide customers through the entire process of developing projects in Singapore with a full lifecycle service offering. We also offer our Improve business line that provides brownfield portfolio management.
Global and regional service agreements have also generated business for WorleyParsons in Singapore. For example, we have a global service agreement with BASF, with whom we have very strong regional relationships through our presence in China. WorleyParsons is the largest international EPCM contractor in China, where we have also established a center of excellence for chemical project delivery. We leverage our strong regional relationships, for example when companies based in China are looking to invest in Singapore.
We have met with various engineering and construction companies that are concerned over the slowdown of activities and shelving of new projects. How does WorleyParsons assist its customers in the current economic climate with tight capital constraints?
Capital efficiency and effectiveness are currently critical in the market where customers are looking for solutions to make projects viable. Through our chemical center of excellence, WorleyParsons is able to bring Chinese procurement and innovation in the form of modularization to Singapore. We design facilities in such a way that they can be fabricated in other countries, shipped and then installed in Singapore. This construction technique, known as modularization, is cost effective and in line with our goals to offer customers innovative value added services that differentiate us from competitors.
WorleyParsons is also assisting customers with standardization of plant specifications. Within the chemical industry, there are a significant number of mergers and acquisitions taking place, making standardization of specifications across customers extremely beneficial, and allowing customers to reduce costs.
Another trend in the chemical industry that WorleyParsons is addressing is the drive towards operational excellence. Given the current economic climate, there is a significant amount of pressure being put on optimizing existing assets rather than through greenfields or major brownfields capital expenditure. Through our Advisian business line, we offer an operational excellence service by which we can assist plant owners to maximize production, reduce operating cost and generate maximum profit.
Whilst the challenging market continues do you see any bright spots in terms of opportunities to provide your core EPCM services?
There continues to be growing demand in areas that our customers have identified as strategic hubs. We are still seeing investment in places where customers are able to leverage existing assets to produce differentiated products, or where customers are looking for security of intellectual property. Customers are looking to build on existing investments as opposed to building new greenfield projects.