DTEC Petroleum Group continues to serve the engineering and construction needs of major petroleum projects in Malaysia and elsewhere in the region and worldwide
Malaysia is one of many Asia Pacific economic success stories of recent times.
When looking at GDP from a purchasing power parity perspective, the region is set to grow beyond the rest of the world combined in 2020, the dawn of what many analysts are calling the Asian Century.
With a similar sized economy to Singapore and the Philippines, Malaysia is certainly playing its part.
Since 2010, the nation has recorded average economic growth of 5.4 percent a year and is expected to transition from an upper middle-income economy to a high-income economy by 2024.
Today, less than one percent of Malaysian households live in extreme poverty, with real average household incomes of the bottom 40 percent growing at 11.9 percent a year between 2009 and 2014 compared with 7.9 percent nationally, an important indicator that economic inequality is narrowing.
This success story has been driven by economic liberalisation.
Following independence in 1957, the country has successfully diversified its economy into a vibrant, open marketplace with a trade to GDP ratio averaging over 130 percent since 2010, a trend which has resulted in around 40 percent of Malaysian jobs being linked to exporting activities.
In the oil and gas space, export incomes look set to only increase and provide more employment opportunities.
Recent development of gas reserves off the coast of Sabah and Sarawak bodes well, Malaysia now home to proven LNG reserves of 1.183 trillion cubic metres, the 24th highest in the world.
DTEC Petroleum Group knows better than most the workings of the Malaysian oil and gas sector.
The company is led by Founder and CEO Kishore Damodaran, who discovered the opportunities present in the industry during his previous ventures, a career which spans more than 25 years.
“I have 25 years’ experience in general construction works,” Damodaran says. “I have worked on many reputable engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPCC) projects in the capacity of Project Manager and Project Director.”
Among these projects are several in cooperation with Petronas companies, including the EPCC of PRR Revamp and Rejuvenation of GPP1&2 in Kertih, Terengganu, and EPCC of Redline I & II Ammonia project in the same region. He was also involved in the main construction package of the PML Mega® Methanol Plant in Labuan, and the EPCC for tankage works at Petronas’s onshore gas terminal in Turkmenistan.
Other notable developments on Damodaran’s track record include the main construction package for plant revamp and rejuvenation for Asian Bintulu Fertilizer (ABF) Malaysia, and the EPCC of Sabah Oil and Gas Terminal SOGT project.
During this time Damodaran gained a tremendous amount of project experience. On numerous occasions he dealt with PETRONAS, Malaysia’s formidable national oil company – work which covered much of the country’s major oil and gas locations as well as a development in Turkmenistan.
However, it was while he was working in Borneo that the entrepreneur found the inspiration for setting up this current venture.
“I was with Sapura Kencana Petroleum Berhad on the main construction package for an Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Commissioning (EPCC) contract for PETRONAS Carigali Sdn Bhd’sSabah Oil and Gas Terminal project, and learned a great deal about the potential and prospect for the oil and gas sector in Borneo,” he says.
“Together with my fellow co-founders, we set up DTEC Engineering and Construction Sdn Bhd in Sabah, Malaysia.
“Thereafter we were involved in most of the oil and gas projects in Labuan and Sabah such as the Kimanis Power Plant, Sabah Oil and Gas Terminal, Sabah Lateral Gas Pipeline Project, Sabah Ammonia and Urea Plant, and the Dalak Pipeline development, as well as a submarine maintenance project for the Malaysian Navy.”
Today, DTEC Petroleum is present in Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Labuan, Johor Bahru, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, the Caspian region mainly in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, Nigeria and Trinidad and Tobago.
Its headquarters in Johor Bahru, in the south of Malaysia just north of Singapore, is staffed by 25 permanent employees, with a further 11 deployed on-site and another 800 contracted staff working on such projects at home and overseas.
The company’s vision? To be recognised as a worldwide, complete systems and solutions provider to petrochemical, oil and gas, power plant construction, maintenance and hook up commissioning and marine works sectors.
“DTEC aims to assist global customers all the way from the design stage and product and customer support up to providing global service networks,” explains Damodaran. “Whatever, whenever and wherever your project is, we strive to provide you the energy to make it happen and be the service provider of choice to clients both in Malaysia and all around the world.”
A substantial roster of successfully completed projects provides evidence of DTEC’s credentials.
Its portfolio includes dozens of finished works across onshore, offshore and marine categories for a host of clients, including Samsung Engineering, Boustead – DNCS, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Petrofac, among many others.
In Trinidad and Tobago, the group is busy assisting key client Mitsubishi Heavy Industries on the country’s landmark methanol plant.
“We started working on this project in April 2019 and since then it has become a key project for the company,” explains Damodaran. “We are heavily involved in sourcing people for local supervisory positions, supplying expat engineers from Malaysia and also procuring local manpower in Trinidad to cater to the project’s main construction package for piping works, blasting painting works, mechanical works and pre-commissioning and commissioning works.”
The development is a joint venture between three Mitsubishi firms (Mitsubishi Corp and Mitsubishi Gas Chemical alongside Mitsubishi Heavy Industries), Trinidad’s state-run utility organisation and locally based private enterprise Massy Holdings.
Valued at around $1 billion, the plant is expected to produce around a million tonnes of methanol a year and will also have capacity to process 20,000 tonnes of dimethyl ether annually.
It will also be of strategic importance to Trinidad and Tobago, the country’s petroleum industry having suffered from longstanding gas supply problems. The new site, as well as being located 45 kilometres south of the industry’s current epicentre, will also open up possibilities to export more methanol to the US on duty-free terms.
Away from Trinidad, Damodaran also highlights a number of other significant DTEC Petroleum projects covering a diverse range of specialisms, including submarine maintenance works and the planning of a ship repair facility in the town of Lumut, on Malaysia’s west coast.
“We are currently engaged in a biotechnology project, also in Lumut, and I think this project will be a steppingstone for us to be involved more in research and development programmes in the oil and gas industry,” the MD adds. “We hope that this is one of our added value projects that will set us apart from the other players in our industries.
“Besides this, we are also planning to expand our operations to multiple locations overseas and currently have tendered a few projects.”
As well as growing its pipeline of activity, DTEC is also committed to continue investing in its employees.
“We believe that training is important for the growth of our employees as well as bringing growth to the company,” Damodaran continues.
“Every year, our HR department is responsible for planning all training programmes for our staff and making sure that the selection of courses is relevant to the industry and job scope of the employee, in order for them to upgrade their skillsets.”
This people-first attitude is further reflected in the company’s HSE policy, based on the firm belief that the wellbeing of employees and people affected by its work should be a major priority.
Equipping employees with leading-edge technology is also a priority, be it on the frontline of executing project work or back office functions where security and seamless communication between departments and customers is crucial in delivering a reliable service.
“In my opinion, the implementation of technology is very important in order for us to compete with our fellow industry partners and, even more importantly, take us to the next level in making sure that our operations are smoothly delivered with minimal management errors,” Damodaran says.
“With that being said, we have implemented an e-office system to make sure that our internal operations are run efficiently, from submission of documents to the approval process. We also have an integrated server for documents sharing to make sure that our colleagues in Malaysia and overseas receive easy access to information.”
Investments such as this will serve DTEC well as it looks to a bright 2020, the Managing Director pointing out three major ambitions.
First is to be the best in the business when it comes to providing a complete engineering and construction solution for clients, with the remaining aims revolving around employee welfare and earning loyalty and trust with dealers and customers.
Looking ahead confidently, Damodaran concludes: “I really want us to push ourselves to be a company of choice for the services we provide. Our aim, always, is to serve our clients better in terms of our expertise and also the resources we can utilise.”