There are some firms that limit the types of services they offer, and then there is Audubon, which makes a habit of adjusting to its clients’ needs and fostering an environment where flexibility is embraced. “We are an energetic and flexible company with a passion for getting projects done and having fun along the way,” Managing Partner and Co-owner Brian Maddox says. Its ability to remain flexible and offer total solutions through its affiliates and strategic partnerships sets Audubon apart from competitors.
“It is Audubon’s goal to provide its clients solutions that provide the greatest return for the investment on their assets and developments,” Maddox says. Instead of coming to the table with a single solution to a client’s problem, Audubon will offer several solutions and work with the customer to select the best option.
With a presence in the United States, West Africa, South America and Southeast Asia, Audubon can provide engineering, procurement, fabrication, construction, commissioning and support services to the oil and gas, petrochemical, refining, and power generation markets worldwide.
Seven active managing partners lead Audubon. The partners recognized a need for a company to serve modestly sized projects in the oil and gas petrochemical sector. “There was a gap that existed in the industry as many of the engineering firms focused exclusively on the mega projects being executed by the super majors,” Maddox says.
Today, Audubon serves a diverse customer base, ranging from smaller firms to the major oil companies as well as national oil companies worldwide. “We serve customers that are looking for us to provide complete solutions for them,” Maddox says. “We don’t have any one customer that makes up more than 20 percent of our portfolio at any time and we are well balanced between the onshore and offshore industry segments. That is why we’ve experienced growth through cyclical time periods.
“The key to our success, and our No. 1 asset, is our people,” he says. “Our growth is attributed to our philosophy of attracting key individuals to the organization who embrace the entrepreneurial spirit within the company. We’re proud of every one of our employees.”
Technology and an emphasis on continual process improvement are critical to the strategic development of any rapidly growing business. “Technology tools are of key importance when you’re trying to align the technical, procurement and the business sides of the company,” Maddox says. “We have been able to implement tools across all areas of the organization improving efficiencies and minimizing costs.”
One example of the successful implementation of a technology tool in the organization is ProjecTools, a web-based project management software suite that has helped Audubon experience and manage substantial growth in the last four years. Instead of developing its own software applications, the company chose ProjecTools, which helps connect different areas of Audubon to “ensure consistency, accuracy and availability, from commencement of procurement through the project execution lifecycle,” he says.
“We’ve been able to work with ProjecTools over the last four years not only as a software provider, but also as an alliance partner,” he says. “Ultimately, [that] makes us more efficient.”
“Audubon has witnessed many changes in its market, but among the largest is the price discrepancy between oil and natural gas,” Maddox says. “This has led many on-shore gas producers to go after richer developments. We see customers steering away from the ‘drier’ plays.”
For instance, a large number of Audubon’s clients are exploring the Bakken formation in Montana, North Dakota and Saskatchewan, and in the Eagle Ford Shale formation in Texas. “The liquids from these formations are proportionately tied to the price of oil; therefore, the return on the investment is substantially higher than fields not possessing the higher quantities of liquids,” he says. “The moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico certainly changed the operating environment.”
Now that the moratorium has been lifted, “It is imperative that the industry and regulators work to diligently rebuild the complete supply chain in the Gulf of Mexico,” Maddox says.
“If only the mega-projects and producers are released to work in the Gulf of Mexico, small and mid-sized service firms will struggle to compete in a large complex supply chain. We believe there is a possibility that the industry will experience a consolidation of operators and investors due to the increased liabilities and perceived bureaucracy associated with permitting,” Maddox says.
Audubon also sees a strong future as it serves exploration and production operations in the United States and overseas. “The development of the supply of power to those firms will need to continue,” he says. The company, with offices in Malaysia and Nigeria and South America, has an international reach. “We are able to provide solutions in these focused markets,” he states.