Mo­du­lar­con­struc­tion­for­petro­chem­i­cal­s­plants,and crude-oil-to-chem­i­cal­stech­nol­o­g­yarepri­or­i­ties­for McDer­mot­tin2019,as Mart­inMe­nach­ery dis­cov­ers

Construction Week - - TECH FOCUS -

On 10 May, 2018, the com­bi­na­tion of Mc­Der­mott and Chicago Bridge & Iron Com­pany (CB&I) brought to­gether a global up­stream and sub­sea en­gi­neer­ing, pro­cure­ment, and con­struc­tion (EPC) com­pany with an es­tab­lished down­stream provider of petro­chem­i­cal, re­fin­ing, power, gasi­fi­ca­tion, and gas pro­cess­ing tech­nolo­gies. This led to the cre­ation of an or­gan­i­sa­tion that spans the value chain from con­cept to com­mis­sion­ing.

Now, the com­bined firm – known as Mc­Der­mott – has the in­te­grated tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing ex­per­tise, con­struc­tion ex­pe­ri­ence, and global reach to de­sign and build the en­ergy in­fra­struc­ture of the fu­ture. Linh Austin, se­nior vice pres­i­dent for the Mid­dle East and North Africa (Mena) op­er­a­tion of Mc­Der­mott, ex­plains the ad­van­tages the com­bi­na­tion brings for the new en­tity.

Pre­vi­ously, the Mc­Der­mott legacy off­shore was “ge­o­graph­i­cally based”, and the legacy CB&I on­shore was “pro­duct­line driven”, Austin ex­plains. “For the com­bined Mc­Der­mott, it is im­por­tant that both the on­shore and off­shore busi­nesses are client-fo­cused,” he adds.

“We want to make sure that our teams are closer to the clients – that is a ma­jor trans­for­ma­tional change in the way we run our busi­ness. Be­ing closer to the client al­lows us to serve them bet­ter in terms of un­der­stand­ing and ful­fill­ing their needs. Also, our tech­nol­ogy busi­ness is more in­te­grated to­day than it was [ pre­vi­ously].”

Austin says the merger has al­lowed the com­bined firm to fa­cil­i­tate projects that have both on­shore and off­shore el­e­ments: “A prime ex­am­ple for this is a project that we re­cently won in the US. It is an on­shore project, but we in­cor­po­rated off­shore el­e­ments by us­ing mod­u­lar­i­sa­tion con­cepts. It will lower the cost for the client, be­cause the foot­print was re­duced by 30%, which is some­thing that is very ap­pli­ca­ble to the off­shore mar­ket.

“We are opt­ing for mod­u­lar­i­sa­tion wher­ever it makes sense, like in liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas and ethy­lene fa­cil­i­ties. We ap­ply mod­u­lar­i­sa­tion to re­duce safety is­sues and costs, and to be con­sis­tent in qual­ity. When we build a mod­ule at a fab­ri­ca­tion fa­cil­ity, it is like build­ing any­thing in a fac­tory. We have much tighter con­trol on qual­ity com­pared to stick-build­ing at a project site.

“Wher­ever it makes sense, we are try­ing to push the bound­aries for the mod­u­lar­i­sa­tion con­cept. At petro­chem­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties, when you do site work, you may some­times run into is­sues that ex­tend the sched­ules. Mod­u­lar­i­sa­tion gives the client more cer­tainty about sched­ules, as well as ad­di­tional safety and qual­ity as­sur­ance.”

Mod­u­lar con­struc­tion, in­clud­ing the adop­tion of pre­fab­ri­cated and 3D-printed struc­tures, is rapidly gain­ing trac­tion in the Mid­dle East, with the UAE prov­ing to be the largest re­gional mar­ket for these tech­nolo­gies. Mc­Der­mott’s in­vest­ments

in mod­u­lar­i­sa­tion make sense in the Mid­dle East, but they are not the com­pany’s only pri­or­ity go­ing into 2019.

An­other area of fo­cus for Mc­Der­mott is the crude oil-to-chem­i­cals (COTC) space. In Jan­uary 2018, Saudi Aramco, through its wholly owned sub­sidiary Saudi Aramco Tech­nolo­gies, signed a three-party joint de­vel­op­ment agree­ment with CB&I and Chevron Lum­mus Global to scale up and com­mer­cialise its Ther­mal Crude to Chem­i­cals (TC2C) tech­nol­ogy. Com­ment­ing on the sta­tus of the TC2C agree­ment, Austin says: “Our early tri­als sug­gest that the tech­nol­ogy is go­ing very well. Mc­Der­mott Off­shore had no play, or foot­print, in the COTC tech­nol­ogy, [but it] is with us af­ter the com­bi­na­tion of Mc­Der­mott and CB&I.

“With our port­fo­lio of tech­nolo­gies and ca­pa­bil­ity to in­te­grate those tech­nolo­gies, the early tri­als have been very pos­i­tive. I think it is fair to say that COTC is in fact a wa­ter­shed tech­nol­ogy, and we are re­ally ex­cited about it.

“We have signed on in a num­ber of projects for COTC tech­nol­ogy. In­house, we have most of the COTC tech­nolo­gies that are based on re­fin­ing and petro­chem­i­cal in­te­gra­tion. We can en­sure that, by in­te­gra­tion, all those tech­nolo­gies pass through a com­mon plat­form.”

But in a re­gion that still prefers tra­di­tional struc­tures for crit­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture as­sets, where does Mc­Der­mott hope to be in the next decade? As it turns out, the an­swer lies in the re­gional track record of both legacy busi­nesses, Austin ex­plains: “When we look at the Mid­dle East, the on­shore mar­ket is ac­tu­ally big­ger than the off­shore mar­ket here. We have to be quite se­lec­tive be­cause there are so many projects go­ing on in the re­gion in the on­shore busi­ness.

“It is a mas­sive mar­ket, but we will be se­lec­tive based on our tech­no­log­i­cal ca­pa­bil­i­ties,” he con­tin­ues.

Austin says the firm will choose to par­tic­i­pate in schemes for which it has tech­nol­ogy that pro­vides “a dif­fer­en­tial value to the client”, adding: “Go­ing for­ward, the com­bi­na­tion of the on­shore and off­shore busi­ness in the Mid­dle East should be our big­gest mar­ket. The ma­jor on­shore projects that we are work­ing on right now are Liwa Plas­tics In­dus­tries Com­plex for Or­pic in Oman, the re­fin­ery re­vamp project of Sa­torp in Saudi Ara­bia, the Clean Fu­els Project by KNPC in Kuwait, and the crude flex­i­bil­ity project for Adnoc in the UAE. We also have the Duqm Re­fin­ery stor­age project [in the pipe­line].”

Linh Austin, Mc­Der­mott.

Mc­Der­mott has a strong track record of EPC projects in the Mid­dle East [Im­age: sup­plied].

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