Bilfinger Expansion

Blades opens Bilfinger’s new office in Saudi Arabia

Blades opens Bilfinger’s new office in Saudi Arabia

Bilfinger strongly pushes for efficiency, value creation

Known for its innovative life cycle solutions, the company, a leading global player in engineering and process plant services, considers Saudi Arabia a key focus area in the Middle East region

Bilfinger's investment in a new office set-up in Saudi Arabia is a testimony to their commitment to the kingdom, expanding their strong local presence since almost half a century and their commitment to vision 2030 and the country’s rapid transformation.

This optimism stems from a corporate confidence built on successes globally and in the kingdom. Bilfinger’s global revenues in 2017 were over $5 billion, with the company employing more than 37,000 people around the globe.

From high-end consultancy, engineering, manufacturing to fabrication and assembly, Bilfinger deliver a broad range of plant services and solutions throughout the life cycle of an industrial asset. Further to advising, designing and developing, they erect, manufacture and assemble, assume responsibility for project management, supply components and commission plants. Bilfinger also provide their customised and pioneering solutions to both green and brown field projects whether in modification, expansion or performance enhancement. Bilfinger’s strength is in their ability to engineer and deliver plant performance in various industrial sectors.

The opening ceremony was attended by senior executives from Bilfinger, including the CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board of Bilfinger SE, Tom Blades and Ali Vazvaei, President and CEO of Bilfinger in the Middle East. This underscored the importance of the Saudi market for Bilfinger and the visibility of the country on their global map.

The sense of pride in the Bilfinger story in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is simple. In the words of Jason Cleaver, Managing Director of Maintenance, Modification and Operations in Saudi, 'The lights are running due to efforts by our hundreds of hard working men and women, maintaining almost 20 GW of thermal power plants within Saudi Arabia, which is unprecedented.'

Bilfinger employs more than 600 employees locally, which puts them in the medium enterprise size category. Their status today as the kingdom’s reliable and trusted engineering and service provider has been built up over a period of more than 48 years, which includes one of their early flagship projects, the Al Khobar 2 Plant, in 1980.

The market for Bilfinger in Saudi is clear and promising. In November 2017, Tom Blades - as part of a German delegation - met with the country leadership including HRH the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. The meeting, in Blades’ words, was a meeting of minds and purposes; 'the resonance we received was very much welcoming the push toward efficiency and value creation.

The Bilfinger team

The kingdom’s aging industrial plants represent great opportunities for optimisation in the OPEX hemisphere, whether in the O&M, the cost of availability and reliability or the overall asset efficiency. All in all, the focus is on cost optimisation and performance improvement. Known for its innovative life cycle solutions, Bilfinger, a leading global player in engineering and process plant services, considers Saudi Arabia a key focus area in the Middle East region. As Vazvaei explains: 'Having extensive engineering competences and local resources on the one hand and the capabilities and knowledge of how industrial and process plants work and operate on the other hand, Bilfinger is the trusted partner to engineer plant performance. We are not only focused on building new plants, but also on addressing the existing ones to help make them perform at a higher level and this is exactly what is the next chapter in the industrial development of the Middle East; 'the race for enhanced efficiency and productivity.'

To Bilfinger’s view, the focus on reducing emissions and sustainability goes hand in hand with it.

This reinvigoration of aging industrial plants is what Bilfinger have built a reputation for in Europe and North America and it is precisely this reputation and expertise that provides opportunities for Bilfinger in Saudi Arabia and the wider region.

Bilfinger has decades of experience in the development, engineering, fabrication, manufacturing and installation for industrial and process plants. These include fuel treatment plants, tank farms, pipeline solutions, gas treatment plants, dehydration units advanced water treatment solutions, oil separation, heaters, boilers, furnace systems. ,. In addition, Bilfinger offer a broad range of environmental technologies including, flue gas desulphurisation, purification and denitrification. In its domain, Bilfinger is a full-service provider, leveraging on its broad latitude of engineering, fabrication, erection and project management.

'Our asset as a company is our people. This philosophy is no different to our approach in Saudi. We look forward to hiring more Saudis, developing more Saudis and even taking some of our Saudi workforce globally to deliver on Bilfinger projects wherever they may be,' says Blades.

Vezazvei further adds: 'For Bilfinger Saudisation is beyond a commitment to the national program; it is about developing a sustainable presence in the country for the country. Saudisation for us is about developing operational talents that can redefine utilisation of young workforce across various skill brackets; whether in high-end welding, fabrication or in automation control and digitisation. They will all be contributing to the kingdom’s ecosystem and that is where the real value is created.'

The most relevant question for all operators and service providers in the region and globally is about the effects that the last oil price drop had on the industry and the implications of new market dynamics and price volatility on their business strategies in the hydrocarbon and energy sectors.

'What we have seen in the last 3 years is that the operators have been able to reduce their lifting cost per barrel by up to 40 per cent.There was also pressure, in re-negotiation of contracts in exchange for long term stability. In the O&M front, progressive companies, at least in Europe, are able to lock in those contracts for longer periods. Our longest contract for upstream oil and gas is now stretching over 14 years,' comments Blades.

The Saudi Market has started to bottom out in Bilfinger opinion. Confidence is returning and customers are acting strategically and forward looking as the number of project opportunities in both upstream and downstream suggest marked uptick. This resonates well with Bilfinger’s diverse portfolio of services and expertise in oil and gas, power generation, utilities and general industries.

The future for an efficient industrialisation is digitisation. This movement towards digitisation is also an opportunity for Bilfinger, a leading provider of digitisation and connected asset performance in the process industry. As Tom Blades explains: 'What we do is we smart process plants become learning plants. We have done this with a number of chemical plants in Europe.'

These three dimensions referred to by Blades can be summarised as Descriptive, Predictive and Prescriptive. 'This is BCAP® – Bilfinger Connected Asset Performance - delivering reliability and performance to our customers. We develop the algorithm in the cloud together with our partners and ultimately, we deliver the dashboard, which allows the customers to view these and interact three attributes whether for a part or the entire process. And this is driving a lot of interest given the digitisation in process industry is not currently.

'We expect to bring the BCAP® to the Middle East this year,' adds Vezvaei.

For Bilfinger the future is positive, as Vazvaei notes: 'With nearly half a century of local presence and collaboration in the kingdom and the opportunities from the market transformation under Vision 2030, we are proud looking back and committed looking forward. The investment in our new office and the plan for the vocational training underpin our continued focus and commitment.'

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