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ACHEMA 2012: Trend Report Plant Engineering

Plant Engineering Between Individual Solutions and Container Modules

| Author / Editor: Dechema / Matthias Back

...The real emphasis is on finding the best way to integrate the various elements of the project into the intricate workings of the site.

Plant engineering Projects Become Less Rigid

The holistic approach also results in a new collaborative model for allocating responsibilities among the chemical producer (user), the in-house engineering team and external EPC service providers. Instead of awarding a general contract to an EPC for delivery of a turn-key plant based on the user’s own conceptual design where the project follows a rigid sequence from detailed design and procurement to construction, the project phases are now dovetailed. The EPC service provider is involved in the conceptual design at an earlier stage, and the user gains the flexibility to make changes during later phases of the project. This level of trust and close collaboration can only develop within the framework of strategic partnerships which transcend the boundaries of specific projects. These relationships can be built up between a chemical company's in-house engineering team and independent contractors.

The chemical industry will be relying on these long-term partnerships and framework agreements over the coming years to manage the large project workload ahead. Only in the context of these relationships will EPCs be willing to act as an extended arm of the owner's engineering team.

Strategic Partnerships Between Owner’s Engineers and EPCs

The EPC supplier base for the global chemical industry is no longer restricted to companies based in Western countries. Particularly in the wake of the economic crisis, Asian EPCs have become serious competitors. Prior to 2008, Chinese and above all Korean EPCs were often regarded as welcome junior partners that relieved Western engineering firms from responsibility for the labor-intensive and risky construction end of the business. Today, companies like Samsung often act as general contractors and only buy in technology from European companies. They attract business through aggressive pricing, a willingness to take risks,...

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