Last month The SA-Mag spoke with Greg Denton, CEO for WorleyParsons’ South African operations. During our interview, we looked at the structure of the company and how it has provided support on countless projects across the African continent.
As one of the world’s largest EPCM (Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management) businesses, WorleyParsons is involved in much of the infrastructure development currently taking place. In this
exclusive feature, we take a look at what 2013 holds in store for the company. Within South Africa, the government continues to make progress with its infrastructure policies, while private sector infrastructure projects also offer opportunities for WorleyParsons, as Denton explains:
“WorleyParsons in South Africa has a diversified portfolio of projects on the go at any one time. By value, about half of our business will be involved in the delivery of road, water and other urban infrastructure developments. While some of these projects are worth over R100 million, most are far smaller than this.
“These projects contribute greatly to the gradual improvement and upgrade of all the utilities we rely on every day. We have both private and government owned customers in this sector – for example, city and provincial governments, SANRAL, Transnet and Eskom.
“The other half of our business is made up of projects in the resources and energy space. Typically these projects are all larger; although we do have a growing portfolio of smaller “sustaining capital” type projects. Due to customer confidentiality, we are not able to provide details of all these projects, but some that we can share are: Sasol VOC, Shondoni Mine Development for Sasol Mining, St Helena Airport Development for Basil Read, Romco Pipeline Expansion for Sasol and the Tanzanian Pipeline Development for the Tanzanian Government.”
Within such a broad remit and with the global economic crisis having some bearing on projects, some markets offer greater potential than others during 2013 yet Denton feels that a broader approach provides a number of advantages:
“As with the diversity of the projects we are active in, one of the biggest strengths of WorleyParsons’ business is the breadth of service offering we provide. We are active across the entire project spectrum, from consulting or advisory services for a project that is in the early stages “Select”, through to the design and project delivery “Deliver”, and services that support operations and asset improvement “Improve”.
“As such, our approach covers all five phases of the asset lifecycle, namely:
“Identify” – Whereby we establish preliminary scope and business strategy for the customer, through pre-feasibility studies and business model development.
“Evaluate” – Where we establish development options and execution strategy for the customer by carrying out feasibility studies, conceptual design, cost estimation and contract planning:
“Define” – During this phase, our teams optimise the technical scope, capital cost, schedule and execution plans for the selected developments. This includes appropriate front-end loading to maximise the value in the investment decision prior to project sanction. To ensure that the decision-making process is robust, WorleyParsons utilises technical specialists to manage the efficiency and technical integrity of the design and applies practices such as process simplification, value engineering and constructability reviews to maximise value. We also implement cost and schedule benchmarking to provide probabilistic capital and operating cost estimates and implementation schedules.
“Execute” – Following project sanction, WorleyParsons mobilises an Execute phase project team, with the full range of EPCM or project management consultancy (PMC) capabilities and experience. Our past performance demonstrates our comprehensive ability to deliver projects for customers facing a variety of challenges, including tight schedules, remote and logistically constrained sites and unique or innovative environmental or technological considerations.
“Operate” – is our final phase; where we aim to not only maintain our customer’s asset, but to also, where possible improve it. WorleyParsons’ Improve business line delivers major projects, upgrades, de-bottlenecking and maintenance projects, project portfolio management and support services to sustain assets and improve business performance of brownfield operations.
“Whenever and wherever specialist skills are needed, Improve has the support of the full resources of WorleyParsons. Over 40,000 personnel worldwide can be accessed, through Workshare and via our global Centres of Excellence.
“We anticipate growth right across Select, Deliver and Improve, but perhaps more growth in the project delivery area than the others.
“Predicting the growth in the various markets is far harder to determine. There remains a need for additional infrastructure to support the population in South Africa, but this naturally is a matter for the government to determine. We anticipate modest growth in road and rail activity, but perhaps slightly stronger growth in the power, water, and urban development areas. “Growth in the resources and energy sector should be stronger. Investment in clean fuels technology alongside mine and resource development in Sub-Sahara Africa is anticipated to provide much of the excitement for 2013.”
Public sector work will also form an important part of WorleyParsons’ plans for 2013, as Denton outlines: “We will look to align our business strategy with the Growth Plan Strategy of the Government, which mainly focuses on job creation, unlocking opportunities for Previously Disadvantaged Incumbents and rural integration. We will also forge strategic partnerships with Government, to assist in the identification and planning of the key strategic projects.”
Anticipating an increase in business has given WorleyParsons a need to prepare for the coming twelve months. For the company to continue to excel takes planning of resources, management and experience delegation, yet Denton is unfazed by the challenge:
“In August we restructured our business along geographic lines, and while this was primarily driven by the need to better ensure we met the needs of our customers, it also provided the opportunity to put in place a management structure that can handle our anticipated growth. As part of this restructure we have fully integrated our geotechnical capability which formally traded separately as Moore Spence Jones and established an office in Mozambique,” he describes.
“The South African business fully utilises the systems and processes of WorleyParsons. These systems along with the capability available through our worldwide network significantly enhance our local offering,” he continues.
Last month Denton highlighted the opportunities that Mozambique presents; looking ahead to 2013 he is confident that WorleyParsons can build on its existing operations, to fulfil that potential:
“We have ongoing work with Anadarko and Sasol. For Anadarko, we are providing local infrastructure investigation and design services, as well as providing subsea engineering services through our US Houston office.
“For Sasol, we are project managing the Romco Pipeline Expansion, of which a significant piece is in Mozambique. I believe we are well positioned to support planned or underway mining activity in Mozambique. Earlier I mentioned our geotechnical capability, but our ability to provide Environmental Impact Assessments is also well understood by mining companies seeking to develop new assets.
“The master planning of transport corridors and the initial engineering feasibility assessment of the alternatives available to transport resources (such as rail and port options) are also likely services to be provided to customers in Mozambique.”
WorleyParsons is working to meet the intent and requirements of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act. The company is currently a Level 2 contributor, and Denton says that it strives to attain Level 1.
“Our commitment to Affirmative Action will yield positive benefits for the business. Our training programmes for internal staff, and access to a wide range of opportunities, will result in a highly skilled workforce that will contribute to successful business outcomes,” he comments.
Another key area that WorleyParsons is very active in is corporate responsibility and the company has big plans for the year ahead:
“We believe in continued investment in education so the company invests a considerable amount of money annually in a number of schools across the country,” states Denton. “Our intention is to remain focussed on producing scholars with strong mathematics and science capabilities, with the hope that they will contribute towards the country’s pool of engineers. Our current bursary scheme has already assisted many students to become talented engineers.
“WorleyParsons intends to partner with Parastatal and the Government to identify sponsorship opportunities in its endeavours to play a significant role in developing skills required by the labour market, contribute to job creation, and to assist in the development of the people of South Africa,” he concludes,
With so many opportunities requiring talent and proven business processes, operating such a diverse operation may seem daunting, however; the WorleyParsons business appears well equipped to deliver on Africa’s calling in 2013.