Ai­bel Thai­land uses a prac­ti­cal ap­proach to health and safety train­ing to cre­ate a safer work­ing en­vi­ron­ment and help at­tract new clients

Ai­bel Thai­land uses a prac­ti­cal ap­proach to health and safety train­ing, en­hanced by its new HSSE cen­tre, to cre­ate a safer work­ing en­vi­ron­ment and help at­tract new clients

Norway-Asia Business Review - - Contents - HAR­VEY BROCK

Ai­bel Thai­land has a rep­u­ta­tion for their safety stan­dard, which it xen­hanced with the re­cent open­ing of a state- of-the-art train­ing cen­tre. The com­pany feels its record in this seg­ment has helped it win recog­ni­tion from firms around the world. “Ai­bel has a long tra­di­tion for its work in the oil and gas in­dus­try,” said Eirik Mork Knud­sen, the health, safety, se­cu­rity and en­vi­ron­ment man­ager (HSSE) for the com­pany. “We aim for zero in­ci­dents as our long term goal, in­clud­ing a high fo­cus on in­ci­dents with po­ten­tial for in­jury.”

“In our cor­po­rate val­ues, worker safety and re­spect of the en­vi­ron­ment is para­mount. When you demon­strate good HSSE val­ues, it cer­tainly helps to get the at­ten­tion of new clients.

He in­di­cated he was lucky to be at Ai­bel dur­ing a time when it had the re­sources avail­able to build a new HSSE train­ing cen­tre. The fa­cil­ity is 572 square me­tres with one big class­room and seven dis­ci­pline train­ing rooms for pip­ing and struc­ture in­clud­ing hy­dro test­ing, me­chan­i­cal, elec­tri­cal work (EIT), rig­ging, in­su­la­tion, sur­face treat­ment and sand blast­ing.

The cen­tre opened in March and Ai­bel Thai­land has only had one med­i­cal treat­ment in­jury at the yard this year — dust in the eye — and no se­ri­ous in­ci­dents.

“I can­not prove our good record is be­cause of the new train­ing cen­tre, but we def­i­nitely try our hard­est. We in­ves­ti­gate ev­ery in­ci­dent we have, even mi­nor ones, to determine how they hap­pened and what we can do to pre­vent them in the fu­ture,” said Mr Mork Knud­sen.

“Most of the in­juries we’ve had here have been in the first three months of em­ploy­ment. I would say 50-80% of the ac­ci­dents fall into that cat­e­gory, es­pe­cially with welders and fit­ters, which is why we de­cided to build the train­ing cen­tre. As there is a lot of turnover within these dis­ci­plines, it is es­sen­tial to set the safety ex­pec­ta­tions for new work­ers from day one.”

“We work hard on train­ing with the equip­ment we use, par­tic­u­larly at pre­vent­ing fall­ing ob­jects. We have a work­shop on how to work safely at height. Our train­ing is geared to­wards more prac­ti­cal, hands-on learn­ing. Safety is not al­ways the most ex­cit­ing sub­ject for some peo­ple, so we try to ed­u­cate them through demon­stra­tion.”

He said that teach­ing about HSSE is not par­tic­u­larly costly and is in prac­ti­cal terms a re­quire­ment, al­most a li­cence to op­er­ate in the in­dus­try.

“You have to prove you can work in a safe and re­spon­si­ble man­ner,” said Mr Mork Knud­sen. “HSSE not only con­cerns safety of per­son­nel, but also the health and safety of the ex­ter­nal and the work­ing en­vi­ron­ments.”

Ai­bel has logged sev­eral re­peat cus­tomers in part be­cause of its stel­lar HSSE record, he said. A prom­i­nent one is Sta­toil, which turned to Ai­bel to build the main mod­u­lar struc­tural frame for one of its oil­rigs to be used at its Jo­han Sver­drup project. Pro­duc­tion of the plat­form is tak­ing place at Ai­bel’s yard in Laem Cha­bang.

The Jo­han Sver­drup or­der is the big­gest in Ai­bel Thai­land’s his­tory, said Mr Mork Knud­sen. The com­pany has sev­eral other large prospects in the pipe­line, so it is not ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a slow­down de­spite the re­cent drop in oil prices.

Nor­way is a world leader in elec­tric cars per per­son, and a con­certed and con­tin­ued government ef­fort over the past 20 years has re­sulted in some im­pres­sive sta­tis­tics. Ac­cord­ing to the BBC, Nor­way is the fourth coun­try in the world to have more than 100.000 elec­tric cars on the roads only topped by the United States, Ja­pan and China, all coun­tries with con­sid­er­ably larger pop­u­la­tions. It is also Tesla’s big­gest for­eign mar­ket in terms of units sold.

The coun­try made head­lines around the world ear­lier this year when news­pa­per Da­gens Næringsliv re­ported that the pop­ulist right-wing Frem­skrittspar­tiet, or Progress Party, had agreed to ban sales of all new petrol and diesel-fu­elled cars by 2025. While a law has not yet been passed, the stance says some­thing about how far the Nor­we­gian government and pop­u­la­tion have come in the tran­si­tion from petrol and die­sel­fu­elled cars to elec­tric ones.

Ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion provider IHS, in the first three months of 2016, Nor­way reg­is­tered 11,124 pure elec­tric and plug-in hy­brid elec­tric ve­hi­cles (PHEVs), rep­re­sent­ing 24.4 per­cent of all new ve­hi­cles. PHEVs com­bine a con­ven­tional gaso­line or diesel en­gine with an elec­tric mo­tor and a recharge­able bat­tery. By com­par­i­son with other ad­vanced economies, only 2,244 or 1.8 per­cent of ve­hi­cles newly reg­is­tered in the Nether­lands, Europe’s sec­ond-big­gest Not just a green con­science

The pop­u­lar­ity of elec­tric cars is not solely due to Nor­we­gians’ com­mit­ment to the en­vi­ron­ment. The government has in­tro­duced a num­ber of highly ef­fec­tive in­cen­tives and sub­si­dies that make the choice to buy an elec­tric car an eco­nomic one rather than an en­vi­ron­men­tal one.

For in­stance, there are no pur­chase taxes on elec­tric cars and buy­ers are ex­empt from the 25 per­cent VAT on pur­chase. Fur­ther­more, the an­nual road tax is low for elec­tric cars and there are no charges on toll roads or the many fer­ries that sup­port in­fra­struc­ture in this sparsely pop­u­lated coun­try. And the list con­tin­ues: own­ers of elec­tric cars get free mu­nic­i­pal park­ing, can drive their cars in the bus lanes, get a 50 per­cent reduction in com­pany car tax and don’t have to pay VAT on leas­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to a cal­cu­la­tion made by The New York Times, in money terms the in­cen­tives mean that at the Møller Bil Ryen Volk­swa­gen deal­er­ship in Oslo, a stan­dard diesel Golf re­tails for about Nor­we­gian Kroner (NOK) 330,000, or

about USD 40,000. Af­ter tax breaks, a com­pa­ra­bly equipped ver­sion of its elec­tric cousin, the e-Golf, sells for NOK 250,000, or just un­der USD 31,000.

It is all about making elec­tric cars at­trac­tive to con­sumers, says Christina Bu, head of the Nor­we­gian Elec­tric Ve­hi­cle As­so­ci­a­tion, which ad­vo­cates for both con­sumers and man­u­fac­tur­ers. “Peo­ple aren’t so green that they want to pay a lot ex­tra to buy an elec­tric,” she said in an in­ter­view with The New York Times. The Nor­we­gian sys­tem works, Bu said, be­cause “it is con­structed to make the least-pol­lut­ing cars the most at­trac­tive.”

The in­cen­tives have been so ef­fec­tive that Nor­way met its tar­get of 50,000 zero-emission ve­hi­cles on the road three years early, in April 2015. The trou­ble with charg­ing

Nor­way’s im­pres­sive record of elec­tric car use is all the more sig­nif­i­cant when con­sid­er­ing the coun­try’s unique en­ergy make up. It is Western Europe’s big­gest oil pro­ducer so suc­cess to af­ford­able oil is there. It is also the world’s third largest ex­porter of nat­u­ral gas. In other words, Nor­way is rich enough to sub­sidise its elec­tric car lifestyle.

What is prob­a­bly a stronger ar­gu­ment for elec­tric cars than the funds to sub­sidise, is the fact that Nor­way gets al­most 100 per­cent of its elec­tric­ity from re­new­able and cheap hy­dro power pro­duc­tion, thanks to the coun­try’s many rivers and wa­ter ways. That has en­abled the coun­try to of­fer free charg­ing for elec­tric ve­hi­cles at the coun­try’s ex­ten­sive charg­ing sta­tion net­work, which is a fur­ther im­pe­tus for car own­ers to switch to an elec­tric car. Ac­cord­ing to the Nor­we­gian Elec­tric Ve­hi­cle As­so­ci­a­tion, even if all three mil­lion cars on the coun­try’s roads were elec­tric, they would suck up just 5-6 per­cent of the an­nual hy­dro power elec­tric­ity pro­duc­tion.

Lessons for Asia Asia is no stranger to elec­tric cars. The world’s most pop­u­lar elec­tric car is Japanese Nis­san’s Leaf, and Ja­pan and China very much drive de­mand. Ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased by HSBC Global Re­search in July this year, elec­tric ve­hi­cles could make up 35 per­cent of new car sales in Asia by 2040, driven by a sig­nif­i­cant reduction in bat­tery prices and a rapidly chang­ing mind­set among con­sumers, in­dus­try and gov­ern­ments. The re­port said the boom was driven by strong de­mand in China since Volk­swa­gen’s emission scan­dal, the launch of the more af­ford­able Tesla model, and a sharp reduction in the cost of lithium-ion bat­ter­ies, which cur­rently ac­count for 30-40 per­cent of the price of an elec­tric car.

At a glance, that is great news. How­ever, in rel­a­tive terms, coun­tries in Asia are still far be­hind the num­bers seen in Nor­way. And chal­lenges still re­main. China is one of the world’s largest emit­ters of green­house gasses so a switch to elec­tric cars should be a good thing. How­ever, the re­al­ity is not that sim­ple. Ac­cord­ing to a re­port from IDTechEx, a mar­ket re­search and busi­ness in­tel­li­gence provider, if Chi­nese peo­ple pur­chased a large num­ber of plug in elec­tric cars over the next five years it would sig­nif­i­cantly in­crease global warm­ing be­cause to­day most of the power sta­tions in China are in­ef­fi­cient and coal fired.

In ad­di­tion, the Nor­we­gian model with heavy tax sub­si­dies and other in­cen­tives, in­clud­ing an ex­ten­sive charg­ing sta­tion net­work, is not eas­ily mir­rored in a coun­try the size of China. Crit­ics in Nor­way are al­ready com­plain­ing that the num­ber of charg­ing sta­tions can­not keep up with the num­ber of elec­tric cars on the roads and con­sumers reg­u­larly com­plain about long queues at the sta­tions. These would cer­tainly be is­sues in less de­vel­oped coun­tries in South­east Asia for ex­am­ple.

Another rea­son that Nor­way has been so suc­cess­ful in making a large pro­por­tion of the pop­u­la­tion tran­si­tion from petrol and diesel-fu­elled cars to elec­tric ones is a con­certed and con­sis­tent government ef­fort that has been un­der­way for more than two decades. With many South­east Asian coun­tries ex­pe­ri­enc­ing less sta­bil­ity in their po­lit­i­cal make up, making and im­ple­ment­ing the right long-term de­ci­sions may prove more dif­fi­cult.


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