A strategic approach to service optimisation TOSL _Russell-BOODOO

We bundled all our maintenance services differently in a way that is more valuable to our customers as it saves them from having to work with multiple contractors.

Russell BOODOO Regional Business Development Manager TOSL ENGINEERING

A strategic approach to service optimisation

May 3, 2024

Russell Boodoo, regional business development manager at TOSL Engineering, talks to The Energy Year about the company’s role in supporting the local energy transition and its strategic approach to expanding its portfolio and regional operations. TOSL Engineering designs, supplies, instals, commissions, operates and maintains engineered systems for clients in energy and many other industries.

What approach is TOSL taking to expand or optimise its service portfolio?
We took a strategic approach by bundling all our maintenance services differently in a way that is more valuable to our customers as it saves them from having to work with multiple contractors. We began with multi-skilling our people which gave them the capability to deliver more than one service on jobsites. This reduces the number of persons onsite, which consequently decreases their risk profile. In turn we are able to offer services at a competitive rate whilst maintaining high safety and quality standards.
We’ve formed a green initiatives team who focuses on new technologies to assist our clients in reducing their carbon footprint and also monetise their waste where possible. Some of our major initiatives are solar systems, battery energy storage systems (BESS), wind energy, recycling and other decarbonisation activities. We have been exploring these with our current customer base in tandem with their greenhouse gas reduction (GHGR) initiatives.

What strides has TOSL taken in the past year to establish operations in the wider Caricom region?
We are focused on our regional expansion. We have been working in Guyana for over 10 years and we continue to support various clients in Guyana that align with our business culture. We have established a partner in Suriname and this has been working well for us. We believe in working through strategic partners who already operate in-country as it allows us to focus on our core capability and work towards training and developing skillsets amongst locals whilst learning from them.
We have also appointed partners in other Caribbean territories such as Barbados and Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Grenada. This is part of our strategic plan to integrate into the rest of the Caribbean. We have developed a reputation primarily in the oil and gas sector, but we have been on a journey to expand our services into other industries for the past 15 years. Our services can be applied to industries such as: hospitality and tourism, marine and shipping, food and beverage, manufacturing, construction, water and wastewater management, and power generation. These areas are the industries we serve in the rest of the Caribbean islands as they do not have as broad of a petrochemicals sector as Trinidad does.


How important are partnerships in your expansion into other Caribbean territories?
A partnership model works well for us because attempting to set up a company has several challenges. It can be expensive and will take a long time to build a brand with a sound reputation. However, there are a lot of companies existing in the Caribbean islands that are doing great work – we have chosen to collaborate with them by utilising their capabilities and offering our experience, knowledge and technology.
The process of partnering allowed us to establish a presence in the other islands much quicker. We simply add to their service portfolio, and if there are technical tasks that require us to send some of our own personnel to assist, we can easily do so. We help them to build local capability and deliver more to their clients while we deliver what we do best and offer value added services in the process.
Generally, this model benefits those companies because it reduces their need to outsource services from North America or Europe, which can incur high costs for them. This strategy is aligned with our goal of bringing more regional development throughout the West Indies. This is a vision that goes beyond Trinidad alone: we see it as a regional investment. Collectively, the Caribbean has a huge opportunity to capitalise upon by harnessing the strengths of each island and collaborating on key issues like energy security, food security and climate change.

What steps has TOSL taken to support the energy transition in Trinidad and Tobago?
Over the last four years, we’ve embarked on a journey in supporting the energy transition. This requires some level of development – a gestation period for schooling, re-tooling and re-skilling the workforce.
Assessing the Trinidadian industry as it is currently, wind power is some years away from coming to fruition, but solar power is already taking place. Energy efficiency is now being emphasised in consideration of the gas shortage that we are experiencing and the imminent increase in power generation fees.
Trinidad still has a long way to go before we see a renewable energy industry develop to a significant extent. In the interim, to develop our capabilities we are leveraging our presence in other islands, such as Barbados, where solar power is common and you can find rooftop solar panels on numerous residential and commercial buildings.
We see the Caribbean as a good base from which we can further develop our skills and capabilities working with renewable energy technologies, and we will remain present in those islands as we continue to provide more of these services. It is envisaged that within the next decade, renewable energy will be more present in Trinidad and Tobago. In late 2023, we won a project for the installation of solar systems in 25 schools, which is expected to be completed by Q4 of 2024. We are well positioned to design, install, commission and maintain Solar installations and we are proud of our team.

How active are you in providing maintenance services to the downstream sector?
TOSL presently works with every downstream player in Trinidad and Tobago. We have managed to maintain good relationships with the international companies working within the Point Lisas Industrial estate and Labidco Industrial Estate. We gradually continue to add more services to our portfolio of work offered to these clients.
A challenge we face is that our level of work in the downstream sector is directly affected by the gas supply shortage. Many plants are experiencing the impact of the gas curtailment, which consequently leads to lower levels of maintenance work, and some are under threat of having to shut down until the gas supply ramps up. However, we remain confident that there will be opportunities for contractors who focus on safety, quality and more efficient technologies.

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