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August 06, 2014 | Construction World l Cover Story Bookmark and Share  
From its early beginnings as India's first independent marine contractor, Essar Projects Ltd (EPL) has developed an enviable capability spectrum. It has successfully completed the EPC delivery of a 20-mmtpa refinery complex and a 10-mmtpa integrated steel plant on a turnkey basis. Today, EPL is uniquely positioned among the global contracting fraternity with its integrated EPC capability that includes both backward integration into steel and the steel processing supply chain and forward integration into fabrication and modularisation services. Alwyn Bowden, President & CEO, Essar Projects Ltd affirms, "Our technical EPC solutions come with the ability to manage a large workforce across diverse locations in challenging terrains and environments."

Major achievements in 2013-14

  • Expansion in overseas markets: A footprint expansion overseas enabled EPL to secure growth in a difficult year. Bowden shares, "We booked three major EPC contracts from clients in Abu Dhabi in addition to two ongoing subcontracts, and opened up new territories in Africa and South America, allowing us to win major projects in both regions in the early months of this year."
  • Improving operational efficiency: EPL spent considerable time establishing a robust network of financial support in all the territories in its radar. EPL teams have also taken the effort to understand issues such as localisation and CSR, and determine how best to work within the constraints, utilising the local supply chain where it is capable, or training local resources where it is not. 
  • Innovations: The use of modern fabrication and erection techniques, software, construction materials and equipment has saved time and costs. ¨Our innovative construction procedures were highly appreciated by clients as they enhanced quality,¨ informs Bowden. "In some cases, advanced plastic and aluminium formwork technology helped speedy execution."
Tough decisions
A significant decision was to shift focus outside India and look upon new remote locations to establish its presence, apart from carrying out manpower trimming to meet target bottomt lines, revenue ratios and cost reduction. In some cases, to make market entry, EPL had to begin with smaller projects despite low-scale benefits.

Ace project
EPL is currently executing a large EPCC project in excess of $ 400 million, which comprises OSBL facilities for an aromatics complex at Jurong, Singapore. The project has achieved mechanical completion; now, EPL expects to commission the entire plant in the next two months. "The execution of tank farm, spheres, jetty and associated CMEI work was carried out through a mixed bag strategy of own pool resources and local subcontractors," says Bowden. "This enabled better control over work progress, ensuring quality output. Providing workers camp facilities and managing employees of over 15 nationalities on a single site was a challenge in itself. Because of the local restrictions, we had to carry out most of the fabrication work outside Singapore and shift the prefabricated assembly to site for final erection."

The timely completion of the project in the heavily regulated environment of Singapore is a major achievement for an Indian EPC contractor, and a benchmark for the future.

"Our emphasis would be to focus on core capability areas in the process and industrial sectors, and simultaneously to explore new avenues."
— Alwyn Bowden, President & CEO, Essar Projects Ltd.

Fact Sheet:
Year of establishment: 1989
Top management: Alwyn Bowden, President & CEO; Amit Gupta, CEO-Hydrocarbon SBU; Vinod Shah, CEO-Infrastructure SBU; AV Amarnath, CEO-Minerals & Metals SBU; Ankur Gupta, CEO-Offshore & Subsea SBU; Arjun Bharathan, CEO-Power SBU; Ravi Sarin, CEO-Heavy Engineering SBU; Pradeep Kathuria, CEO-Equipment Bank SBU; Tapash Bhattacharya, CFO; Chandrajit Pati, Head-Human Resources; Asis Gupta, Head-Quality & HSE; Srinivas Tata, CIO.
Number of employees: 2,667 (permanent)
Turnover for 2012-13: About Rs 9,000 crore
Turnover for 2013-14: About Rs 6,000 crore
Latest orderbook: About Rs 18,000 crore (as on March 31, 2014)

Ongoing projects:
Mines and steel plant projects in Mauritania, West Africa; Naphtha Splitter Plant - Petroleos des Venezuela SA at Jose, Venezuela; Shaybah Crude Stabilisation Project at Abqaiq Plant of Saudi ARAMCO in Saudi Arabia; CDQ Plant - Tata Steel at Kalinganagar, Odisha; BPCL Kochi Refinery units at Kochi, Kerala; Cluster 7 (transportation and installation) - Bumi Armada BHD and ONGC India at Bombay High, Off Mumbai; BOP of 2x500 mw Power Plant - Neyveli Lignite Corporation in Tamil Nadu; Panan Hydroelectric Project - Himagiri Hydro Energy in Sikkim; 14 mmtpa Deep Draught Coal Berth - Paradip Port Trust in Odisha.

Upcoming projects:
Essar Projects is aggressively pursuing various EPC opportunities in hydrocarbons, onshore and offshore pipelines, terminals, marine works, thermal and hydro power plants, steel plants, roads, railways, metros, buildings and pre-fabricated and pre-cast housing in India and overseas.

Biggest project undertaken: Jurong Aromatics Complex, Jurong, Singapore: Tankages, spheres and OSBL facilities.

Landmark projects completed:

  • Liquid handling jetty and marine facilities at Vadinar Refinery, Gujarat, Client: Vadinar Oil Terminal, Project value: Rs 1,150 crore
  • Komo Airport Project, Papua New Guinea, Client: Exxon Mobil, Project value: Rs 360 crore
  • Tankages, spheres and OSBL facilities, Singapore, Client: Jurong Aromatics Pte Ltd, Project value: Rs 2,500 crore 
  • 10-mmtpa integrated steel plant, Hazira, Client: Essar Steel, Project value: Rs 6,000 crore
Accolades and awards received:
  • Annual CIDC Vishwakarma Awards (Construction HSE category) for Essar Projects´ Hydrocarbons IOCL Paradip Refinery team, Raniganj CBM Field Development Project team, and the Infrastructure RO-RO Ferry Terminal Project team.
  • 2nd Best Housekeeping Award by the Client, IOCL for Essar Projects´ Hydrocarbons IOCL Paradip Refinery team. 
  • PMI Award for the Infrastructure SBU team executing the Central Quay 3 Berth project.
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