Kent Delivering Physical and Digital Assets That Power the World for Today and Tomorrow

Kent Delivering Physical and Digital Assets That Power the World for Today and Tomorrow

/ News & Interviews / Friday, 04 November 2022 13:59

On the sidelines of ADIPEC, taking place in Abu Dhabi, Kent’s John Kent, chief energy transition officer, and Wassim Ghadban, vice president, Global Innovation and Digital Engineering, discussed in an exclusive interview with Energy Review MENA the company’s long and important journey through the years and the key assets they focus on.

Can you describe the journey that the company underwent to reach its brand today?

John: It's been quite a journey. Kent, in its essence, is a combination of a number of companies.  In August 2021, Kentech acquired the oil and gas business of SNC-Lavalin, which included their previous acquisitions of Atkins oil and gas and low carbon solutions, Houston Offshore Engineering, and Kentz. But in fact the history of this business goes much deeper than that because the origins of both Kentech and Kentz are actually the same, originally founded about 100 years ago by a man called Michael Francis Kent. The combination of these businesses creates engineering capability rivalling the largest service providers in the industry and gives clients another option.

Today, we are around 13,000 people across the globe, servicing three core markets, the first being conventional energy, helping to deliver secure energy in the most responsible way possible. This currently makes up around 50% of Kent’s revenue.

The second market we focus on is low-carbon and renewables, which currently makes up around 20% of Kent’s revenue but is very fast-growing.  That includes everything from blue hydrogen to offshore wind, in addition to LNG.

The third market segment we focus on is process and chemicals representing 30% of our revenues.

It is our strategy going forward to derive our revenues equally from these market segments by 2025, or sooner.

Can you detail for us the main services you offer to the market?

John: We offer four main service lines to the market, the first being consulting services from the earliest stages of concept design through pre-FEED and FEED into detailed engineering execution; operational readiness; engineering and optimization; and enhancement to decommissioning/re-use.

The second service line is engineering and projects, which is focused on site execution, from detail engineering, procurement and the actual delivery of projects. About 6,000 people work in that division.

Thirdly, we offer completions, commissioning and startup services. We are actually the largest energy commissioning company in the world and the world's leading provider of commissioning services. We have got global agreements in place with Exxon Mobil, BP and Chevron, to name a few.

Our fourth and final service line is operations and maintenance, which mainly focuses on the long-term steady-state operations and maintenance of industrial plants. For example, within the MENA region, we do maintenance services and turnaround services on Shell's GTL facility in Qatar. We also do quite a lot of steady-state sustainability work with Aramco, one of our key clients. We do a lot of brownfield engineering with the likes of LyondellBasell and their plastics and polyethylene facilities in the US and across the globe.

What are your expansion plans and future projects for the short- and long-term?

Wassim: At Kent, our aim is to be able to deliver the physical and digital assets that power the world today and make it future ready for tomorrow. But what does that mean? In the case of operators’ needs, they want to achieve efficiency, a sustainable future and secure energy. At Kent, we're helping them to be able to design low-carbon assets, and at the same time, ensuring we are delivering a fully integrated asset management supply chain that will help track the design, construction, commissioning, completion and operation of their assets.

We know that there are many challenges these days regarding applying digital technologies in the energy sector; we understand our client’s challenges, have in-depth knowledge of the technological solutions and provide our expertise to bridge this gap, helping them to achieve efficiencies.

All of this can be attained by what we call a “digital asset” or “digital twin,” which is a replica of the physical assets. By integrating this at greenfield stage all stakeholders contribute to the progressive handover. This enables us to have one system of systems to control the project’s execution, as well as efficient operation of the asset at later stages.

But this is not only a greenfield solution. On brownfield sites we have developed our own process and approach to convert and transform aging assets into more connected, integrated assets suitable for the future. We help clients build an ecosystem that will enable them to create a benchmark for operations or even a benchmark for project execution.

Currently, we're working with ADNOC and Aramco on many initiatives. We are leading the concept of remote operation for ADNOC. Recently, Kent was awarded the project from ADNOC Al-Nasr remote control operation where we designed the full remote operation from the World Trade Center. To give some context to the ‘remote’ operation, the actual asset is more than 160 kilometers from the World Trade Center.

The future lies in how we can remotely operate assets and achieve autonomous operation in the energy sector. There are only a handful of providers like Kent, who have the knowledge of engineering construction, operation and digital application.

How do you make sure to integrate “sustainability” into your operations?

John: Sustainability is integral to what we do and is indeed an area of great focus as we have recently launched our strategy, Sustainability. By Kent, led by Emma Scott our VP of Sustainability. We are committed to the UN’s sustainability goals and have just become members of the UN Global Compact as part of our company-wide commitment to be net zero by 2040. In addition to the decarbonization side of things, we are very much focused on local community engagement where we look to provide local jobs to local people, be that in the UAE, Qatar or Saudi Arabia, and this includes many training programs to develop skills and people.

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