Petrochemical Industry in North America How Bilfinger Profits from the Growth Market Oil & Gas in North America
The petrochemical industry is booming in North America, and Bilfinger North America wants its share of the growth. The service provider is currently doing good business with three large projects, and the orders already received for 2019 are promising another good year. The PROCESS editorial team was able to get a picture of these projects during a press trip.
Houston/USA — Even in the USA, the country of superlatives, people say that everything is just that little bit bigger in Texas. Terrance Ivers, Executive President of Bilfinger North America since 2016, seems to completely confirm the cliché. Standing tall at an impressive height of six and a half feet, he effortlessly towers above his surroundings. “We are running a 900 million dollar business here,” explains the Texan with confidence, knowing full well that the company operates in an intensely competitive environment.
Client List Contains Big Names
The company employs 4000 people under the management of Ivers, and they are distributed across four regions in the USA. Bilfinger has two fields of business in North America: Engineering & Technology, plus Maintenance, Modifications & Operations. The company focuses on six branches of industry, including chemical, oil & gas, the food industry and consumers. The list of clients contains some big names: US Methanol, Linde, Braskem and Procter & Gamble among others. According to Terry, which is what he likes to be called, North America is a growth market.
That was not always the case in the past. But since the shale gas has been flowing, international corporations have been investing in the USA. The American petrochemical industry has also been feeding its crackers with shale gas and thus profiting from the lower costs that have helped the industry gain an edge against competitors in the Middle East. This is also shown on the balance sheets of Bilfinger: more than half of turnover is accounted for by oil and gas, and a third of that comes from petrochemical, explains the boss of North American operations.
Healthy orders for EPC projects
Bilfinger Westcon is currently benefiting the most from the boom in the oil & gas industry. With its headquarters in Houston, this division specializes in installation/assembly and capital-intensive projects. Here, by far the most risk-laden work package is the EPC trio: Engineering/Procurement/Construction. But the North Americans understand their business. In the last three years, they have invested a lot of time in managing project risks and have developed some viable and sustainable concepts. The current flagship project is the polypropylene plant of Braskem America in La Porte with an order value of 679 million dollars.
As the clearly delighted Bilfinger CEO Tom Blades explained, this high order volume was a real turning point for Bilfinger and underlined the company’s installation expertise.