Fabricating future developmentOctober 27, 2017
Javed Mohammed, general manager of Trinidad Offshore Fabricators (Tofco), talks to TOGY about the importance and impact of the construction of the massive Juniper topside platform and opportunities for regional expansion. Tofco was formed in 2004 as a joint venture between US company Chet Morrison Contractors and Trinidad’s Weldfab.
Tofco performs fabrication, welding, rigging, in-house heavy lifts , blasting and painting and scaffolding. To date, the company has successfully completed a total of eight offshore platforms and six jackets for major oil and gas companies, which includes five for BPTT (BP Trinidad and Tobago). While the oil price crash had a significant negative effect on the industry in Trinidad and Tobago, Tofco anticipates that the market will experience a resurgence as super-majors such as Shell, BPTT, and BHP Billiton continue to invest and engage in new upstream development.
• ON JUNIPER DEVELOPMENT JOB CREATION: “At full ramp-up, BPTT and Tofco created some 750 jobs, over 400 of which were from La Brea and the surrounding environs. Not only did Tofco provide jobs to members of the community, it ensured the workers were trained and internationally certified. Many employees who came to the company uncertified are now capable of working globally. This has significantly benefited all stakeholders. It has also shown the need of the community to assist with growing a reliable and productive workforce.”
• ON REGIONAL AMBITIONS: “Our short-term goal is to meet the right people, understand their immediate needs and present our capabilities. Just as we have organically built our brand, it is our desire to replicate that success with our Guyanese neighbors. We believe that it is critical for us to share best practices and feed off of one another while developing and growing in the region. We have been fortunate to have experienced facilities growth and infrastructure development that we have been able to translated into a sustainable future. Through a framework of mutual ventures, we expect to foster a culture of leading together for stakeholder-value creation.”
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BPTT’s Juniper project has been a monumental development. Can you discuss the project’s importance in terms of value added?
Juniper’s delivery demonstrated the technical competency of Trinidad’s industrial sector. This facility was a deviation from the past decade’s stream of manifold and conventional wellhead supported platforms. The Juniper project is a technologically-advanced, unmanned, remotely-controlled platform. The infrastructure currently supports five subsea wells and has the potential for over 14.2 mcm [500 mcf] of daily throughput. The Juniper facility will produce gas from the Corallita and Lantana fields located 50 miles off the south-east coast of Trinidad, in water depths of approximately 360 feet [107 metres].
Although the startup was initially challenging to the supply chain in place, delivery was accomplished safely and on time with a high-quality finish.
At full ramp-up, BPTT and Tofco created some 750 jobs, over 400 of which were from La Brea and the surrounding environs.
Not only did Tofco provide jobs to members of the community, it ensured the workers were trained and internationally certified. Many employees who came to the company uncertified are now capable of working globally. This has significantly benefited all stakeholders, and it has shown that the community needs to
Moving forward, how will the company navigate Trinidad and Tobago’s operating environment for the remainder of 2017 and beyond?
Tofco is currently retooling resources and processes in order to focus on efficiency. While safety and quality are a key measures of qualifications, international competition sets production rates and drives value into projects. This will ultimately ensure the long-term sustainability of national content and provide a hedge against foreign imports. Utilising technology and measuring output based on key performance indicators will demonstrate that Trinidad can compete globally and secure investor confidence for the future of all stakeholders.
The company will continue to enhance value with existing and new infrastructure. It will also be responsible for the engineering and construction necessary to perform routine assurance maintenance as well as critical mechanical and control enhancements. By incorporating Tofco personnel into the scope of work associated with developments and partnering with engineering groups, the company can provide flexibility and rapid response for seamless execution.
The company will continue to develop work plans and processes to usher in BPTT’s upcoming Cassia C compression project. Tofco has been working closely with BPTT in establishing a framework geared towards returning fabrication to the company’s yard in La Brea. Earlier, in June, the super-major announced two significant gas discoveries with the Savannah and Macadamia exploration wells, offshore Trinidad. Operators anticipate that these opportunities along with others will ensure a continued project pipeline from 2018 through 2023.
Tofco has had initial discussions with EOG Resources, where the company shared information on upcoming opportunities in its new field developments between the Osprey and Teak fields.
Additionally, Shell has confirmed its intentions to resume its campaign in it’s ECMA [East Coast Marine Area] and NCMA [North Coast Marine Area] fields with the resumption of brownfield works and subsea execution starting in 2018 through 2023 and beyond. The super-major’s active drilling and development plans will not only benefit Tofco, but the entire country as well. Other active oil and gas explorers and developers include BHP Billiton and new entrants Perenco and Denovo.
What opportunities is Tofco currently pursuing? Is the company looking to partner with other operators in Trinidad and Tobago’s engineering and construction sector?
Tofco works with all of the large international engineering and construction groups. Our engineers and construction managers integrate well both in their offices domestically and abroad. Traditionally, they would be here coaching and mentoring but we make a huge effort to have them leave in order to export some of the best practices that they have learned here. Most importantly, we teach the Trini way: that we are proud of our countrymen and their capabilities and that we have the drive to succeed.
What is Tofco’s strategy in Guyana?
Our short-term goal is to meet the right people, understand their immediate needs and present our capabilities.
Just as we have organically built our brand, it is our desire to replicate that success with our Guyanese neighbors. We believe that it is critical for us to share best practices and feed off of one another while developing and growing in the region. We have been fortunate to have experienced facilities growth and infrastructure development that we have been able to translate into a sustainable future. Through a framework of mutual ventures, we expect to foster a culture of leading together for stakeholder value creation. Although Tofco has been focused on upstream developments, we expect to expand our services within the midstream and downstream. The critical mass offered by the region is key to everyone’s long-term sustainability.
Are you considering working elsewhere in the region?
The entire Caribbean demands energy assistance. Tofco is focusing on other regions and expanding into new territories through the implementation of global competitiveness. The company will replicate not only onshore fabrication and offshore installations, it will also provide wider bandwidths into regional areas.
Which sector has the greatest demand for EPC works in Trinidad and Tobago?
You hear a great deal about EPC these days. This contracting model is a direct result of the lagging response many services companies have to client’s request for efficiency. The clients shift the burden of efficiency into the contractor’s world in order to manage the risk of costly over-runs. These days more than ever, you live and die depending on your performance. Clients can no longer absorb costly project overruns. We don’t see that changing anytime soon until clients have more confidence that value is being created by streamlining processes and driving efficiencies within organisations.
Gradually over time, some blending of these contracting strategies should start to emerge. As services companies, employees, governments and communities start to see changes through empowering value creation, those stakeholders will have fewer concerns about when and where the future pay streams will materialise.
What challenges does the infrastructure in Trinidad pose to your operations?
The key to our development as a country is to have good infrastructure. As a company, we need water depth at the dock, and we need access to the port from land and water. In order to compete with international suppliers, we need to have unencumbered access for our workers. We need security and reliability not only with water access; our roads, bridges, power and basic services are also critical. We need assurances that only our country and our local communities have the support of the government to provide these basic services. This will allow us to grow and train and develop people to the benefit Tofco and Trinidad as a whole.
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