Highlights

Aneesh P. V., Director at Quality International, on the challenges of executing the modules order for the ethane cracker project

What were the challenges you faced in convincing Total and McDermott to come on board?

The initial process for the Total project began in 2016. The first thing was getting us prequalified by McDermott. This includes supporting documents, questionnaires and a lot of other things. After satisfactory completion of prequalification, they send us the request for quotation (RFQ). Once the RFQ was received, we took it rather seriously than bidding for any other project. Our presentation was elaborate. We were only bidding, but our approach was as if we were executing the order. We visualised how we were going to execute the project in a way that was clear to the client. This included a clear-cut breakdown of the schedule with manpower, machinery and the financing arrangements. We also finalised a construction sequence and matched this to the schedule given by the client. This was important for the client.

Could you describe the conference call that your team had with Total and McDermott?

When we went in for the conference call, we had no idea who was on the other side. We were ready with our presentation. On the day of the call, we sent our colleague based in the Houston office to the client’s office. According to him there were around 35 people from McDermott and Total sitting in for the call.

The initial two hours of presentation focused entirely on Quality International (QICL) as a company. QICL had executed a project of similar magnitude in 2015, where we built six multiple-effect distillation evaporator modules totalling 16,500 tonnes for a project in Kuwait. This was similar in scope to the Total project. This project was executed from QICL’s yards in Hamriyah Free Zone, with prefabrication carried out in the phase two yard and assembly in the waterfront yard, before being shipped to Kuwait. This demonstrated QICL’s capabilites in handling a project of the size that Total and McDermott were looking for.

The modules are the backbone of the ethane cracker project in Texas and so without timely delivery, the whole project could go for a toss and the client couldn’t take a chance. QICL’s ability to mobilise a huge quantity of skilled manpower with ease, its manufacturing facilities at the free zones and 360 days of sunshine in the UAE (no interruption to work due to inclement weather) were the other factors that worked in our favour. What was very important was 100 per cent compliance to safety.

- Aneesh P. V., Director at Quality International

What were the other critical elements that you presented?

The second half of the presentation focused on the execution methodology, the procurement and detailed engineering. We even presented the level 4 schedule, which identified all the critical aspects of the project as well as the timeline. Normally people don’t do so at the initial bid stage. We presented the manpower, procurement plans, construction phases, prefabrication, the sub-contractors on the project and the shipping schedules. Rather than a mere marketing presentation, we gave a detailed, superior technical presentation, which helped us getting shortlisted and eventually seal the deal.

Why was timely delivery of the modules critical to Total’s ethane cracker project?

The modules are the backbone of the ethane cracker project in Texas and so without timely delivery, the whole project could go for a toss and the client couldn’t take a chance. QICL’s ability to mobilise a huge quantity of skilled manpower with ease, its manufacturing facilities at the free zones and 360 days of sunshine in the UAE (no interruption to work due to inclement weather) were the other factors that worked in our favour. What was very important was 100 per cent compliance to safety.

Why is this project a feather in the cap for the government’s “Make in the UAE” initiative?

Generally, companies in the US and other nations reach out to manufacturers in Korea and China. With QICL showcasing its capabilities to execute high-value projects, clients can now look elsewhere too. It all goes to show the support the UAE government is giving to manufacturers like us, especially the free zone and port authorities for clearing project materials, visa availability of during peak construction periods and providing worker accommodation close to the yards.