Navigating downstream: Wood expanding reach in the Middle East

Created following Wood Group’s acquisition of Amec Foster Wheeler in October 2017, Wood provides full support for downstream facilities to design, build, run and improve refining and petrochemical plants. Dave Buchan, Wood’s president of operations in the Middle East, Russia and Caspian, highlights how the company is helping to design, build, operate, maintain and modify some of the world’s largest and complex facilities based in the region.

Dave Buchan, president of operations in the Middle East, Russia and Caspian, Wood.
Dave Buchan, president of operations in the Middle East, Russia and Caspian, Wood.

Wood, a global leader in the delivery of project, engineering and technical services to energy and industrial markets, is reinforcing its strategic focus to expand its downstream offering in the Middle East through its support of major production, refining and petrochemical developments in the region.

The company’s vision states that we wish to partner with agility to create new possibilities for our people and customers, and this comes to life in our work in the Middle East. We understand the complexities of developing and upgrading large facilities, and work to navigate the challenging landscape of technologies, standards and regulations.

A real differentiator for us is not only how we partner with our customers in the region but how we partner with communities where we are intent on providing opportunities for local talent and supply chain.

Wood has maintained a presence in the region for more than seven decades and the region remains a key growth area for the company’s future. With more than 3,000 people based in seven countries in the Middle East, we are committed to developing in- country value and long-term national development visions.

Greenfield mega projects

Our history of executing successful mega projects in the Middle East provides confidence in our capabilities, aimed at extending asset life through enhanced production, recovery and reduced operating costs.

Earlier this year, we were selected to develop the world’s largest fully integrated crude-oil-to-chemicals complex in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on behalf of Saudi Aramco and SABIC, as the first project management consultancy (PMC) contractor. The greenfield onshore facility will be a first for Saudi Arabia and among the first in the world to integrate the refinery and chemical process in this way.

Delivering front-end engineering design (FEED) and project management services during the engineering, procurement and construction phase, we are supporting the development of the complex, expected to process 400,000 barrels per day and approximately nine million tonnes of chemicals and base oils annually.

Market-leading technology

Extending across a range of end markets, we are breaking new ground in technology and as part of an ongoing drive for improvement, introducing new applications to enhance production and support more efficient and safe operations.

In Oman, Wood is providing two Terrace Wall double-fired delayed coker heaters at the Duqm Refinery. The company successfully executed the engineering and process design phase, which involved the technology package and licence of its SYDEC (selective yield delayed coking) technology.

The market-leading expertise and 70+year heritage of our fired heater teams ensure an excellent understanding of process technologies, proprietary systems, licensed packages and refining methods, to support customers with FEED studies, plant layout and greenfield, or turnkey design services.

Representatives of Saudi Aramco and Wood sign an agreement to support in-country opportunities in Saudi Arabia.

Petrochemicals integration

In terms of our engineering and operations in the downstream market, we draw on our global experience to advise customers on the development, layout and optimisation of plants for chemicals and petrochemicals, refining, LNG, and a range of feedstock for product processes, including support for schemes such as cogeneration, carbon capture, biomass and waste conversion.

In Kuwait, Wood is providing FEED followed by PMC services for the planned integration project between Olefins Aromatics II and ZOR Refinery.

The six-year contract builds on our significant expertise in petrochemicals and refinery integration, including the successful delivery of PMC services to Kuwait Petroleum Company (KPC) subsidiaries. The new petrochemical facility will be integrated with the new Al-Zour 615,000 barrels per day refinery, which will be one of the largest refineries in the region.

In developing and upgrading large facilities, operators must navigate the challenging landscape of technologies, standards and regulations.

In-country value

We develop local capabilities through initiatives, which include seconding employees to different Wood locations worldwide, providing career development opportunities and a chance to acquire new skills and broaden horizons. Our Engineer Your Future (EYF) programme has been established to build a proactive learning culture and focuses on the development of employees by identifying what skills, knowledge and experience individuals need to progress along their chosen development path.

Consisting of graduates and trainees, the programme is represented by a panel, which is managed between the EYF community and leaders of our Middle East business. This ownership is designed to foster engagement, improve communication and build a sense of belonging.

In November 2017, Wood also entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Saudi Aramco, signalling our continued commitment to accelerating opportunities for the local workforce. The MoU supports Saudi Aramco’s In-Kingdom Total Value Add initiative, part of its Vision 2030 plan, focused on strengthening and diversifying the country’s economy through the localisation of key manufacturing and service industries, and the creation of new jobs for talented young Saudi citizens.

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