THREE60 Energy Group | February 24th, 2022
We caught up with Alasdair Smith, Managing Director of THREE60 Energy’s engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPCC) business, to learn about his 20 years’ experience in the energy industry, the challenges he has encountered and what he predicts the future to hold for the sector in this pivotal time of transition…
Q: What first inspired you to become involved in the energy sector?
A: I joined the industry as a graduate process engineer 20 years ago. I knew I wanted to be an engineer from an early age – it was in my DNA, and I had a lot of positive influences at home and at school. When I graduated from university, I also knew that I wanted a career in an industry which was important from a social and economic perspective as well as being fulfilling. I haven’t been disappointed.
I’m still hugely impressed when our team develops a truly multi-discipline engineering solution to a complex issue and then our construction teams in the field or at site converts that design into reality. To achieve that in a project environment where the customer enjoys the benefits of our knowledge, expertise and hard graft gives me great satisfaction.
Q: What advice would you give to those starting off their careers in the energy industry?
A: One of my favourite quotes is that “an engineer can make for a dime what any fool can make for a dollar”. It’s that challenge to not just develop any solution but for the team to deliver the best solution – both in terms of economics but also quality, schedule, constructability and operability. That is what great EPCC projects deliver, no matter if it’s greenfield or decommissioning.
All of this is down to the people in these teams. I’ve been so lucky to work with fantastic people throughout my career. No matter if you’re the graduate engineer or the managing director, people are supportive of each other, and you need only ask to learn more and develop.
Q: What was it that attracted you to join THREE60 Energy?
A: There are three main reasons why I joined THREE60 Energy. The first is the people. Some of the great people I had worked with in the past were already at THREE60 Energy and the opportunity to join them again was a real draw. I shared their values and knew I would quickly feel at home.
The second was that the THREE60 Energy EPCC offering is something different to the traditional and cumbersome approach. There is full focus on high performance – with streamlined and integrated delivery, digital technology provides efficiency benefits, and all work gets senior management attention. We’re a very nimble and responsive organisation, with the proven outcome being reduced cost, schedule and risk for our customers. Demand for our services has grown every year as customers put their faith in us by awarding long-term EPCC contracts.
Last, but definitely not least, is being part of the THREE60 Energy Group. The Group has been created to deliver solutions across all our geographies and across the asset lifecycle – from subsurface, wells, EPCC, to operations including ultra-late life and decommissioning. It means you work with superb people covering all aspects of the energy business. Over the last two years we’ve been involved in integrated projects based in Norway, Algeria, Malaysia, Indonesia, East Timor, Australia and of course the UK.
Q: What are the biggest challenges the industry faces?
A: Climate change is the challenge of our generation. Decarbonisation and reducing greenhouse gases has been discussed all my life. Only now the desire of governments, industry and importantly society at large are aligned to ensure momentum to change is ramped up and sustained. The energy transition by its very definition is a period of change from the old to the new, from the finite to the renewable. It’s also an opportunity to consider improved accessibility and affordability of energy. That means that hydrocarbon production must continue in the short to medium term until all energy and raw materials used in plastics, fibres, rubbers, and industrial chemicals can be sustainably provided by other means.
At THREE60 Energy, we’ve been involved in reducing carbon emissions in the hydrocarbon industry for many years. We’ve delivered emission reduction studies and projects associated with power generation, flaring, and reducing offshore transport demand. We’ve also been supporting the offshore wind industry for several years in Taiwan, Japan, Italy and now Scotland. The demand to use the group’s full expertise for Carbon Capture and Storage projects are very much on the rise, as is our input to the well-established nuclear industry and emerging hydrogen market with all its colours.
Q: What does the future hold for EPCC in THREE60 Energy?
A: Our vision of the EPCC business is to be the sought after and trusted technical partner of all energy industry customers. We will always be focussed on our customers’ needs in delivering EPCC solutions to achieve their goals. It’s an incredibly exciting time in the energy industry for us all and after 20 years of a deeply fulfilling career, I can’t wait for the next 20.
You can learn more about THREE60 Energy’s service lines here.