Engineering expansion

Whessoe is a market leader in designing and building low temperature and cryogenic storage and handling facilities.

In March 2013 the business officially became a subsidiary of the Korean based Samsung C&T, one of the 34 companies under the Samsung umbrella. Based on over 40 years experience in the hydrocarbon and petrochemical industries, Whessoe brought to the group a track-record in world-class engineering, completing the full offering of EPC services on LNG and gas technology projects, an element previously understated in the company.

“LNG storage and design is now a fully comprehensive offering from the business. In the past we brought in an external entity to cover the engineering portion and the running of the project. We now offer full LNG and cryogenics solutions to our customers,” says CEO Steve Kim, adding: “Since the acquisition we have been putting large sums of investment into IT and engineering infrastructure; the fundamental tools required to build world-class engineering.”

Samsung wants to invest millions of pounds to revive the fortunes of the company, which makes massive storage tanks for the oil and gas industry. In the 15 months following the initial agreement, the business has already tripled its engineering workforce. Utilising the global positioning of the Asian parent in the heart of the petrochemical and oil and gas industry, Steve points out: “We have been able to attract a number of talented engineers with a strong training background. Once aboard we have provided further training to specialise their cryogenic knowledge.”

Furthermore, the company is focused on maturing talent through internship and apprenticeship programmes. As a socially responsible business, much of its promotion is completed locally, aimed to grow and develop design engineers in the local area, eventually promoting students through to graduate level. Just a few months ago, the average age of the industry workforce was relatively high and this enthusiasm to develop has proved necessary for both the business and the community.

“LNG and ethane demand is expanding worldwide, and particularly so in India as the economy continues to grow. There is a lot of infrastructure both planned and established that requires fuels such as oil and gas to fire it, and storage solutions offer a reliable solution that ensures supply. Additionally the manufacture of materials such as polyethylene and polypropylene are reliant on the petrochemical industry. By increasing our involvement in the movement we are backing that growth but also fulfilling our own ambitions of being part of a solution to the economic growth in that area,” says Steve.

The company has also expressed interests in growing within the African market, with countries such as Mozambique recently discovering oil and looking to develop a solution to export gas to the external market on an international level. Moving forward on an international platform, Steve highlights: “We are also establishing projects in Malaysia and Singapore, as well as pursuing projects in the European market where there are operating entities seeking more active involvement in the market. As a dynamic company with a strong pedigree and the reputation of Samsung we are in a good position to enter new markets.”

As a well-established, vastly experienced and multi-disciplined contractor, Whessoe combines proven technology, quality and safety with global capabilities to deliver comprehensive and value-engineered solutions to clients in the hydrocarbon, petrochemical and energy industries. Commenting on the direction Steve says: “Our core engineering team specialises in cryogenic tank design and terminals and as we move forward we essentially continue to develop our LNG tank design, continually looking for other ways to find better and easier way methods of construction, and achieving greater efficiency, particularly with respect to installation of insulation.”

With the aim of becoming the most innovative and successful company in the cryogenic gas sector by hiring more of the best engineering talent over the next few years, the main challenge for the business is how to bring in those experienced engineers, and do so in line with the anticipated growth expected within the global market for LNG and ethane. Steve explains: “We are essentially trying to promote specialist engineering within the market place, attract both people with direct experience, and those that are involved in engineering professions of other fields, such as refinery. Although it is a different type of speciality we can offer the training and skills to adapted to the cryogenic requirements, and of course promoting this exciting career to university students.

“The main focus over the next six months is on the contracts and projects that are coming to fruition and ensuring that as a business we have the appropriate work force. As CEO, my vision is to make the company the core engineering standard to Samsung C&T, to be the first and main contact for anything related to LNG, cryogenic services and gas technology, eliminating the requirement for any engineering works to be outsourced to subcontractors.” Looking further to the future, ambitions for the business continue to move forward with targeted and aggressive growth, as he concludes: “We are expanding our product line from purely LNG tanks into the entire chain of gas production, treating, liquefaction, re-gasification and supply, expanding and developing our focus from one single entity.”

Services: Design and construction of low temperature and cryogenic storage