Proper implementation of health, safety and environment practices allowed the Total project to be a great success story in more ways than one, says Ganesh Ramakrishnan, Director and Sponsor for the Total project at Quality International

What is the role of a sponsor in a project of this scale?

The sponsor essentially oversees the entire project and anticipates and overcomes road blocks, thereby ensuring that things are executed smoothly and that the project runs on track.

What were the challenges faced by QICL while taking on the ethane steam cracker project for Total?

The procurement of the massive quantity of pipes and fittings needed to build the module for one. When we say procurement, we are not talking of just the negotiating of prices, it also involves the tangible movement of materials, bringing them from the supplier’s yard to our venue and ensuring the right materials are being consumed by our production teams. Besides, maintaining the inventory, from the biggest parts to the smallest of accessories, storing them in extreme temperatures, all this involved a lot of coordination between our suppliers and the logistics teams.

“We air freighted close to $6-8 million worth of insulation material from the US based on the client’s request across eight scheduled flight trips. This was not something that we were expected to do, but we kept the best interests of the client in mind and committed ourselves to the job at hand.”

- Ganesh Ramakrishnan, Director and Sponsor for the Total project at Quality International

Then there is also the bit about implementing HSE (health, safety and environment) practices. As fabricators, Quality International is constantly trying to learn, adapt and implement best HSE practices from the global clients it interacts with, such as Total, as well as sustaining these practices. The challenge also lies in implementing Western principles into the regional blue-collar workforce. This sometimes involves a slap on the wrist, at other times an arm around the back, but it needs to be done.

How was timely delivery ensured on the project?

Prompt responses to the client and concise communication on every aspect of the project held the key. People from within the team were empowered to take critical decisions, with the team being split into two units, one handling the client interface and the other handling construction with sub departments within both teams ensuring that the decisions taken were relayed on time to all stakeholders. All this ensured that the project stayed on schedule.

Besides, one of the biggest achievements for a project this size was zero loss time injury or LTI, thanks to proper housekeeping on the project, which also simplified the job. Meticulous planning down to the smallest detail and timely conflict resolutions both with the client as well as internally between production teams were also helpful.