Petroserv – Automation in Fabrication

Since we last looked at Petroserv, the company has invested in a state-of-art automated fabrication facility to meet the needs of Qatar’s energy sector.

Since it was founded in 1978, Petroserv has offered a diverse range of engineering and construction services across three main industry sectors- Oil & Gas, Infrastructure Construction. Over the decades, the wholly-owned Qatari company has grown into a leading EPIC contractor for the State of Qatar, with an enviable and proven track record that includes a wide range of Qatari and international clients.

At the Petroserv Fabrication Facility, the company offers a production range that includes pipe spools, structural steel, storage tanks, ASME pressure vessels, engineered skid packages and heavy steel ducts and stacks.

In all these productions, Petroserv makes real its vision to engineer and manufacture quality products, providing innovative solutions through relationships built on integrity and excellent service.

The last time we looked at Petroserv we talked with the firm’s Oil and Gas Division Director, Tarek Malhas, it was clear he had big plans for the company’s development. Since then, Malhas has been working hard to make such vision a reality. However, while the company has been overcoming challenges, until recently and for the past 5 years, Qatar’s focus was preparing the country for the upcoming FIFA.

“The company’s been growing and overcoming challenges in general over the last couple of years,” he tells us when we met him. “In Qatar, we have been getting ready for the World Cup, which entails substantial revamping of the country’s infrastructure in terms of roads, highways, bridges, transportation such as the metro system, and of course, stadiums, hotels and malls. So that slows down the oil and gas sector because most spending went in that direction, but now that the country is ready a year before the World Cup, all the oil and gas projects and substantial development in the oil & gas sector are rolling again. Qatar is exponentially increasing gas exports over the coming years, with a number of mega packages involving international and local companies to execute these projects.”

When we profiled Malhas in 2019 he told us, “Over the next five years I’d like to place my business unit on a more advanced and competitive level. I want to make it one of the leaders in the oil and gas industry in Qatar.”

Since then, Malhas has been taking steps to realise that vision through the construction of a brand new, benchmarking setting automated fabrication facility.

“There will be an oil and gas boom similar to the one that happened 15 years ago. That will be rolling out over the next couple of years to come, so in preparation for that, we’ve upped our game and done internal housekeeping, including building a brand-new state-of-the-art automated fabrication facility and plant operations,” Malhas tells us.

A Fabrication Facility for the 2020s

The new automated fabrication facility has been built at a central location with direct access to the highways network that provides the capability to deliver, in an optimal time period, to all the strategic industrial areas across Qatar.

This facility is the end result of an epic quest for industry-leading technology and techniques.

“What we’ve done is a an achievement,” Malhas explains. “As a company, we have gone all around the world to look at the latest state-of-the-art production equipment and built a an automated, cutting-edge facility that produces all fabrication ranges for the oil and gas industry.”

To deliver this facility, Petroserv has collaborated with automation solutions providers across the globe to create bespoke, one-stop fabrication solutions for automatic pipes spooling fabrication, automated cutting and drilling, and automatic recycling blasting for painting.

The new facility comes in line with future demands of the energy sector in Qatar, as it has considerably expanded Petroserv’s fabrication capabilities with a capacity of up to 45,000 ID of pipe spools per month, and up to 3,000 tons of steel structure per month.

Construction of the facility has been in progress throughout the past 12 months and now ready for production.

“We gathered all of these solutions under one roof to have a completely automated process of manufacture and application,” Malhas tells us. “Our greatest achievement is studying the requirements of the industry, selecting equipment from across the globe, acquiring it, then building and commissioning such facility.”

The facility features a total shop floor of 25,000 square metres. That includes 8,000 square metres of indoor fabrication space, another 10,000 metres of outdoor fabrication space, 2,000 square metres given over to blasting and painting, and another 5,000 square metres of storage.

The Case for Automated Fabrication

While the facility itself is an enormous achievement, making the case for such a huge investment was a project in and of itself.

“We had to convince our management from the CEO to our shareholders to put down the necessary investment for this plant,” Malhas recalls. “The next challenge was to get the banks to buy into it and fund the loan required to initiate it.”

Once that case was made, deciding which equipment to source for the facility, and how to source it, was the next big step.

“We negotiated a number of challenges in choosing the best approach to gather equipment from around the world and get it to work together in harmony from a technical perspective,” Malhas says. “Then we had to convince all stakeholders that, in getting ready for 2022 on wards, the business’s needs can’t be met except with a facility like this.”

Making the case for the facility was a substantial amount of work, but Malhas was convinced of the necessity for the new factory.

“It was pretty obvious that the old paradigm  of working would not be able to cope with the requirements of the sector moving forward,” he insists. “We needed to cope far more effectively. This new plant reduced the amount of labour and the costs associated with it while ensuring consistency in the quality of production. We have to reach a certain capacity to produce a project and we cannot do that with older approaches. Automation ensures high capacity and consistency. It gives us the ability to work more than one shift with less crew on board and means we are not reliant on human skill but automated equipment, increasing the consistency of production.”

Now with the facility fully underway, Malhas is clearly optimistic about Petroserv’s future.

He tells us, “We expect to increase revenue substantially by laying these foundations.”

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