Consortium fuels interest in Esmeraldas refinery revamp
A consortium comprising Hyundai Engineering, KBR Inc, RGFx Initiatives and Energlobal Investment Group has expressed an interest in a contract to renovate Ecuador’s 110,000bpd Esmeraldas refinery, according to the country’s energy minister.
Speaking on January 5, Energy Minister Rene Ortiz says the consortium plans to receive financing from Morgan Stanley and has until February to present a final bid for the project, according to a timeline presented by the energy ministry.
The government is set to make a final decision on awarding the contract in March, ahead of an April signing. The deal is part of President Lenin Moreno’s efforts to boost private investment in Ecuador’s struggling economy.
Last year, Ortiz announced that the Ecuadorian government was searching for a private company to invest around $2.4 billion into the refinery, which is owned by PetroEcuador, the state-owned oil company.
Ecuador’s government aims to boost fuel output at the plant and help the cash-strapped South American country reduce its dependency on refined product imports.
President Lenin Moreno is set to leave office in May, following presidential elections next month.
Neither authorities nor representatives of the four companies who attended a press conference clarified how much the consortium expected to invest, or the fees the consortium would receive for eventually delivering refined products to the state for domestic sale.
The Esmeraldas refinery has been operating sporadically for many years as it has been beset with faulty maintenance issues. In July 2020, President Moreno granted exceptional authorisation for PetroEcuador, under decree 1904, to operate the refinery in conjunction with a private-sector partner.
The ministries of non-renewable natural resources, economy and finance were tasked with coming together to define the contractual mechanism for the investor, who would have to participate at its own risk to improve the refinery’s operations and the quality of fuel it produces.
"This is not a process of monetization, it is a process of transfer and delegation of part of the operations of the Esmeraldas refinery, which still belongs to the Ecuadorean state," oil Minister Rene Ortiz said in a statement at the time.
Global Offshore rebrands Enelift and invests in global hubs
Global Offshore has rebranded Enelift and will invest "a seven-figure sum" in establishing new support hubs in Houston, Dubai, Singapore, Perth and the Caspian during the next six months.
The investment will cover oil, gas and renewables, mainly concentrating on manufacturing capability with associated R&D, as well as in stock held in the hubs.
The company’s flagship Hinge Lok technology provides aluminium, non-welded light weight transportation cradle for casing and tubing. Enelift now plans to enhance its offering by augmenting its existing solutions with robotics and remote operational and training technology, which will reduce manpower for handling offshore equipment that is transported and stored using the Hinge Lok system.
Enelift is partnering with "a Japanese robotics company" and the technology will be trialed with "a Norwegian operator on a Norwegian drilling rig", according to a statement.
Operating from its bases in Aberdeen, UK and Esbjerg, Enelift was founded by 35-year industry veteran and Managing Director Paul Brebner 10 years ago to offer the offshore energy industries safe, reliable and efficient storage and transportation of equipment.
The expansion plans are bolstered by the appointment of Jim Clark of the Craigendarroch Group to Chairman, and Adam Maitland to Non-Executive Director. Maitland is the Managing Director of Hutcheon Mearns IF, and brings his wealth of expertise in the field of corporate finance.
Brebner said Enelift may be a new name in the market, but the experience it brings is "industry renowned".
"Our solutions are underpinned by safety that enables inefficiencies and their associated costs to be eradicated – meaning operational personnel can focus doing what they do best, safely. We remain committed to providing the safest storage and transportation solutions for equipment in the sector as we grow our global operations," he said.
Clark said the market is changing and its solutions fully support customers’ economic and safety aspirations.
"We are very well placed to take full advantage of increasing opportunities in the Middle East, Africa, Far East and Americas. Safety is our absolute commitment to our customers and our support hubs will facilitate this. Aligning our identity to our entire offering ensures that we will drive our expansion through new products and global support sites across the rest of this year."