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Business Times (Malaysia): Shell Global Solutions to boost local, regional talents

Kamarul Yunus,
Published: Feb 21, 2007

SHELL Global Solutions, a unit of oil giant Royal Dutch Shell Group, plans to boost its headcount in Malaysia to 500 by 2008 from 370 now, as it aims to nurture local and regional talents to lead its business teams in future.

Its regional operations manager for Asia Pacific (projects) Winfried Arens said over the long term, the company plans to implement business projects, with a majority of local and regional staff taking the lead.

“We have to find the right people with the right potential. Only then can they (local and regional staff) take on the next level of responsibility in the next three to five years,” he told Business Times in an interview.

Arens is aware that it will not be easy to find suitable people to do the job “because building a competence of an expert is something which requires quite a number of years and being an expert such as in process design can take some time”.

“This means that we will have to invest heavily to build the competence of our staff locally,” he said.

Towards this end, the company has put in a lot of efforts in organising a number of courses for local staff, and where there is a need, to even send them to the Hague or other places in Europe to undergo various trainings.

“It is a significant investment to have people going abroad, but that is a necessary strategy to help build the required competence among the local and regional staff,” he said.

Buoyed by robust growth in the oil and gas industry in Asia Pacific, Shell Global Solutions set up an office in Kuala Lumpur in 2003 as one of its three global centres of excellence. The other two centres are located in Houston, the US, and the Hague.

The Capital Projects group, which Arens is leading, has a staff strength of 38, of which 50 per cent are expatriates.

“We provide proven expertise in research and development and engineering project development support to Shell companies and its joint ventures to strengthen the group’s position in the liquefied natural gas market, support refinery in the region, and our leadership in the emerging gas-to-liquids (GTL) market and in coal gasification technology,” he said.

Building on the company’s experience at its successful GTL plant in Bintulu, Shell is currently developing the Pearl GTL project in Qatar, the world’s largest integrated GTL complex to produce natural gas liquids, ethane and clean liquid hydrocarbon products.

“Value engineering is a process that Shell Global Solutions applies at the front-end development of a project. It is used to optimise the design of the project with minimum costs involved,” Arens said.

For example, he said, from initial design to start-up, Shell’s Port Dickson long- residue catalytic-cracking unit in Malaysia has delivered an excellent result in terms of economics and health, safety and environment.

“Not only did the project come in at a cost 25 per cent below the norm and on schedule, it also had a flawless 48-hour start-up and recorded 12.5 million man hours without lost-time incidents. Shell Global Solutions provides business and operational consultancy, technical services and, research and development expertise to the energy and processing industries worldwide.

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