With offices in Brisbane, Perth and Auckland, services provider, Petrofac, has been quietly supporting clients in Australia and New Zealand to meet the world’s evolving energy needs for more than a decade.
Its technical and consultancy team played a role on INPEX's Ichthys LNG project; the largest discovery of hydrocarbon liquids in Australia for 40 years. In New Zealand, its well engineering team supported the Government to create guidelines for industry and has subsequently led various high profile wells scopes. Fast forward to 2021 and Petrofac’s engineering team is supporting Australia’s energy transition with its role on IBE’s Arrowsmith project.
With a growing regional track record, we can expect to hear a lot more about this multi-faceted team, who have big Antipodean ambitions. We spoke to Josie Philips and Anna Keen to find out more.
“Although Petrofac has been operating globally for 40 years, in some regards we are still seen a new kid on the block here”, says Josie, Petrofac’s regional director. “In recent years we have reaffirmed our commitment to the region by strengthening our local team and enhancing our indigenous engagement programme. As customers look for newer, greener and more efficient ways to meet the world’s energy needs, we believe Petrofac has a lot of experience to offer.” she explains.
“Over the last decade Australia specifically has seen a rise in new facilities, onshore and offshore. The creation of efficient operations and maintenance regimes has had less focus than the construction and as these assets age this becomes more of a challenge for their owners. In that sense this is a great time for Petrofac to bring its expertise from other highly regulated basins, like the North Sea, where we’ve been not just maintaining but operating assets for 25 years” says Josie.
In the later life stages there are a new range of considerations for asset owners; who must not only assure integrity and improve plant availability, but reduce emissions whilst optimising energy production to improve returns. Anna believes this demands “smart thinking and new approaches”. As Operations Delivery Manager, part of her role involves spreading the word about the technical frameworks and proprietary systems Petrofac uses.
“Our ability to digitally plan, execute and report operations and maintenance activities with tools like BuildME, is driving significant increases in productivity and efficiency for UK customers”, says Anna. “Other tools such as Petrolytics help us track emissions, and inform decision making that improves environmental stewardship. By combining these proven approaches with the experience of our local 2,500-strong database of local technical specialists, we are well placed to support clients to develop and standardise frameworks to get more from their assets.”
In very late life, the Petrofac team support customers to start planning for, and then undertake decommissioning. “The procedures we pioneered in the UK have the same relevance in these Southern Hemisphere markets”, says Josie. “Both regulators have a very close relationship with NOPSEMA and often look to their UK counterparts for guidance. In 2011, we worked closely with the New Zealand government to compile the well engineering guidelines for the industry. That work helped us become the go-to in New Zealand and we are actively brining this experience to Australia”.
As the energy sector at large works to decarbonise and pursue alternatives to fossil fuels, Petrofac has embarked on its own Net Zero journey and earlier this year shared its new and renewable energy strategy.
“Our commitment to sustainability is unequivocal”, says Josie. “That means doing what’s right for our people, our planet and our business. We committed to reach Net Zero across our own business by 2030 or sooner. And, whether we are supporting a customer to design a new asset, maintain existing infrastructure, or decommission at the other end of the life cycle; we are consistently thinking about their footprint, and supporting their decarbonisation goals.
“In addition, we are growing our support in new and renewable energy, supporting our customers to design, build and maintain hydrogen, CCUS, wind and waste to value infrastructure.”
Petrofac’s consultancy team brought together its expertise across renewable energy, low-carbon engineering, and gas processing to successfully deliver the FEED for one of the world’s first green hydrogen production facilities; IBE’s Arrowsmith.
Anna added, “the abundant renewable sources in Western Australia facilitate reliable and cheap renewable power generation and help drive competitive green hydrogen prices. This is a space we expect to grow in over time.”