Cover Story: Integrated approachby Martin Menachery on Jan 10, 2017
Thyssenkrupp – a technology-based EPC contractor – is a diversified group of companies, offering a wide range of industrial solutions, including technology and machinery. The company’s core competency lies in fixing industrial plants – particularly petrochemical and fertiliser plants – on lump-sum / turnkey basis. Thyssenkrupp has certain solutions for the refining sector as well.
The Middle East was one of the most important regions for Thyssenkrupp group in the past and Boris van Thiel, CEO, Regional Cluster Gulf States, Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions, thinks that it will be a very important region for the company in the future also.
The main clients of Thyssenkrupp in the Middle East are the state-owned companies like Sabic, Adnoc, Qatar Petroleum and PIC. There are also certain clients with private investments in smaller plants, seeking mainly solutions in chlor-alkali electrolysis. Thyssenkrupp is doing business in the region mainly with national oil companies and their affiliates.
Talking about the advantages of doing business in the Middle East, Boris said, “Our main advantage here is the strong legacy of doing projects for more than 80 years in the region. We have a very strong foot-print here. In Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE, we have long-lasting and vibrant partnerships with clients. This is our strength in the Middle East.”
“We have cheap and competitive feedstock available in the region. Even though we have the oil price crisis going on at the moment, we feel that there is a lot of potential for the region in the future. The focus of the industry in the region is shifting now from adding more capacities to becoming more energy-efficient as well as revamping existing plants to become more productive. We are helping our clients with solutions in this direction at the moment,” Boris added.
Explaining the challenges facing his company in the region, Boris observed, “The real challenge faced by us in the Middle East right now is the cost competition since there are only limited number of large-scale projects. And, we have a large number of major players here from around the world – the US, Europe and Asia. They all have the same goal and are eyeing for the same projects to grow and perform in the region.”
“We are trying to find solutions and strategies to become more cost competitive in the region. One of our strategies in this direction is to partner with other companies in the region, especially the Asian companies, to bring down the construction costs without compromising on our technology,” Boris explained.
Answering a question on how Thyssenkrupp is trying to stay ahead of competition in the region, Boris emphasised, “Being with the customers very closely is the best strategy to stay ahead of the competitors in the region. As a part of our business strategy for the region, we are strengthening our local set up in the Middle East. We already have very strong presence in Egypt. We are strengthening our presence in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar. To be successful in the region, it is necessary to understand what the customers think, know their needs exactly, and be ready to fulfil those needs.”
Boris was satisfied with the outcome of the 11th GPCA Forum. He said, “This is the first time we are sponsoring a GPCA event. We find it as an excellent opportunity to bring in awareness about our capabilities for our future customers and collaboration partners. It is also an excellent platform for networking. We found all our existing customers and partners together in the forum and within two days, we could meet them all. We will further promote GPCA events in the future.”
Boris explained in detail the innovative solutions offered by his company for the petrochemical industry in the Middle East. “We are very strong in chlor-alkali electrolysis business where we could achieve, within the last 15 years, over 10 percent energy savings with our membrane technology,” Boris revealed.
“We have introduced a revolutionary process in the chlor-alkali electrolysis, which allows reduction of power consumption by 25 percent. For this, the capital expenditure is higher. But, considering the current increased energy price – most of the countries in the region stopping subsidising the energy and energy price becoming more and more an alarming issue – saving energy cost by 25 percent is an added value for the customers,” Boris pinpointed.