SARAH KENT

"The construction boom experienced by the engineering, procurement and construction contractors has slowed notably, and the market has become extremely competitive."

Sarah KENT CEO Kentech

in figures

Barzan Gas Project expected to come on lineFirst half of 2015

Barzan Gas Project ownershipQatar Petroleum (70 percent), ExxonMobil (30 percent)

Number of people employed by KentechAbout 4,000

Qatar: a market in transition

July 17, 2015

In 2014, multinational industrial services firm Kentech was awarded a long-term maintenance and shutdown services contract for Shell’s Pearl gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant. Sarah Kent, CEO, talks to TOGY about the evolution of Qatar’s oil and gas industry from greenfield to brownfield projects, the continuing technical development of the industry and the importance of safety in brownfield works.

How active has Qatar’s oil and gas market been for engineering and construction contractors over the recent past?
Qatar’s oil and gas industry has been characterised by high-capital, large infrastructure projects over the past fifteen years. During this period, numerous greenfield projects underway in Qatar, including Shell’s Pearl GTL plant and the Barzan Gas Project, provided a sufficient supply of new work to the local engineering and construction sector.
The Barzan Gas Project, managed by RasGas, is a joint venture between Qatar Petroleum and ExxonMobil, with 70 percent and 30 percent shares, respectively. The project is now expected to come on line in the first half of 2015.

How has the market shifted from greenfield to brownfield works?
In recent months, high-profile cancellations of the Al Karaana and Al Sejeel petrochemicals projects have demonstrated that the Qatari market has been undergoing a transition away from greenfield mega-projects that were typical of the local industry up until that point. The construction boom experienced by the engineering, procurement and construction contractors has slowed notably, and the market has become extremely competitive.
There has been a shift towards maximising production efficiency with smaller brownfield projects, while minimising running costs with tightly controlled maintenance and shutdown programmes on existing facilities. Being able to support clients’ efforts by maximising production and minimising downtime is essential.

 

What is the impact of technological advancement on plant design and complexity?
Over the past 20 years, advancements in technology and the level of sophistication employed at gas and liquid facilities globally and in Qatar has increased significantly. New technologies are being utilised to increase plant responsiveness and production efficiency.
These technologies rely on a robust communication backbone, which includes fibre optics, wireless local area network and telecommunications equipment. In turn, these technologies require advanced electrical and control systems to operate, leading to a steady growth in demand for highly specialised service providers with expertise in the design phase, detailed engineering and subsequent field installation and ongoing maintenance work.
As plants continue to become more automated, their dependence on control and electrical systems will only increase, and this will remain a sector with strong growth potential into the future. The contractor market evolves in response to the changing technological environment in Qatar and the rest of the world.

What are the challenges and key procedures to respect when working in a brownfield environment?
As the market in Qatar evolves, working in brownfield environments presents a particular set of operational and associated safety challenges to which the industry is adapting.
Working in brownfield facilities means working in a live environment, which necessitates a higher-skilled workforce and an awareness for different safety challenges compared to a greenfield. It is essential for contractors to work on delivering high safety performance, training high-skilled technical personnel able to deliver this and meeting the expectations of the client.

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