Meeting new manufacturing standards TEY_post_Salman_H_Binsaleh

Power plants need permanent maintenance for pumps, motors, gearboxes and more. They rely on us to find creative solutions.


Meeting new fabrication standards

May 25, 2023

Salman H. Binsaleh, chairman of Salman Binsaleh Steel Products Company (SBS Engineering), talks to The Energy Year about the evolution of the company’s manufacturing activities and its flagship projects. SBS Engineering is a manufacturing company providing oilfield equipment and rig support services, mechanical equipment manufacturing, and more.

How has SBS evolved from doing structural steel works to more complex fabrication and manufacturing activities?
We started more than 15 years ago, providing structural steel works in the petrochemicals field. Then we moved into the power sector, and we have now started in the oil and gas upstream segment. Our main business lines are oilfield equipment and rig support services, mechanical equipment manufacturing, industrial projects, heavy steel structure fabrication and reverse engineering and OEM substitute manufacturing.
In industrial services, we construct plants, refineries and turnkey projects through EPC contracts. We also manufacture all types of plant equipment spools, skids and vessels, among other types of equipment. Specifically, regarding oil and gas, we fabricate all kinds of static equipment that is used on the rigs, such as mud tanks, other frac tanks, transportation skids and process skids. We also have a repair and maintenance team that is capable of working on all these items.

What are the flagship projects the company has participated in?
A while ago, we worked on the Jazan refinery project. We then participated in the Fadhili gas plant and the Ras Tanura refinery expansion, and now we are working on the BAPCo Modernization Program and Marjan Field Expansion programme. All of these plants demanded a lot of regular steel structure fabrication for the refineries, and we expect the same with the upcoming gas processing plants.
We have experience doing, for instance, rig mast repairs and fabricating complete mud systems for rigs. We have also repaired a gas turbine, which was a job that no one else could do. We’ve been awarded and appreciated many Saudi Aramco projects for these types of specialised works.

Who are SBS’ main clients?
We have long-established relationships with all the major companies, including Saudi Aramco, SABIC, Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) and BAPCo. We prefer to work with a select group of potential clients and maintain a healthy relationship with them. They know of our niche skills.
I worked in the Saudi Electric Company’s maintenance department, so I have a deep knowledge of their equipment and its challenges. We have an ongoing contract with them for maintaining their plant equipment country-wide. This was our first time being awarded an SEC contract for a single company to serve all their power plants in Saudi Arabia for maintenance. This is a testament to our unique know-how.


Which kind of niche manufacturing do you provide to SEC’s power plants?
The ASTM standards for power plants have changed in the last 40 years. The standard for a metering valve body, for example, was 40 centimetres. Now it’s 20. So, the factories discontinued the production of outdated spare parts. As some of SEC’s power plants were built 40 years ago, they needed a company that manufactures and supplies the spare parts. Through reverse engineering, sometimes using 3D scans, we manufacture them using original materials.
We are one of SEC’s first service providers. Their power plants need permanent maintenance for pumps, motors, gearboxes and more. Consequently, they rely on us to find creative solutions. We are manufacturing multiple items that cannot be found on the market since they belong to old plant designs that are now outdated and for which OEMs have stopped the original production.

What is your strategy for expanding and specialising the company’s portfolio?
Within the same line of business, we want to go for more specialised projects, such as upstream fabrication, and we will expand our manufacturing capabilities according to current market demand.
In reverse engineering, we will continue to manufacture specialised items that are not easily manufactured by others in the market, such as steel backing rings, duplex spacer rings, water lubricated bearings, pump impellers and shaft sleeves.
Our fabrication output capacity is 2,500-3,000 per month in terms of specialised steel structures. Currently, we have started manufacturing specific static equipment such as complete mud systems and process skids.

What is the main challenge ahead of this expansion?
We have more than 100 employees right now, and we plan to double our number of welders. We face difficulties with sourcing skilled technicians. To select a welder, a fabricator or an engineer is difficult. We’re not just going abroad and picking anyone. We send our representatives overseas to conduct interviews, even for welders and fabricators.
We grow at a rate of 20-30% every year in terms of turnover. However, we expect our growth will double in 2023, as in Q1 2023 alone, our activity is showing growth of 33%.
We want to grow in a smooth organic manner. We don’t want to get ourselves involved with certain projects and end up with difficult situations afterwards.

What is the company’s international footprint?
Regarding our services, BAPCo contracted SBS for its modernisation programme, which includes a major expansion and upgrade of the existing BAPCo refinery to increase its capacity from 267,000 to 380,000 bpd.
We have our own registered office in China, where we have partners doing manufacturing under our own staff’s supervision and quality control. When a client needs an original material not available in Saudi Arabia, we can source it from global markets and manufacture it under our supervision following all international quality measures. We sometimes hire a third-party inspection company to check the quality and tests. This is increasingly easier to do thanks to new technologies that allow remote quality inspections.
We export part of our manufacturing and spare parts to Bahrain, Oman and Qatar, and we aim to expand more in the Middle Eastern countries.

What is SBS’ main competitive advantage?
Most of our growth comes from demand from upstream oil and gas companies, which choose us due to our superior quality and our creative solutions. We always look for an innovative, simple and effective solution for every challenge, and clients increasingly appreciate this.
We’re growing because our quality and delivery commitments are better. When our clients come to us, they’re surprised by our methods and techniques. There are many companies doing our work, but our advantage is our broad know-how in different sectors.

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