Working with some of the world’s largest energy players, DORIS has become a well-established and critical engineering support partner on landmark projects across the globe
Writer: Tom Wadlow
The ability to move with the times is an essential ingredient to any business hoping to thrive in the energy industry for a long period.
It is a sector prone to change. From fluctuating commodity prices and new resource discoveries to evolving technology and heightening HSE demands, operators in this volatile space must be agile in order to endure long-term success.
Take France’s DORIS.
Established in 1965, it has been an ever-present and essential protagonist of engineering in the energy industry, a worldwide reference in the oil and gas, renewables and offshore wind arenas.
“With specialised engineers working together, we deliver all the engineering services that energy operators and contractors need to enable safer, faster and lower cost production,” comments Christophe Sarri, Group Chief Commercial Officer.
“The services we provide are conceptual and front-end engineering design (FEED), detailed design, technical assistance, asset management and project management.”
From concept to decommissioning, the company provides performance and cost-driven services covering all parts of a field, including subsea developments, fixed and floating platforms, topsides and substructures, onshore facilities, and fixed and floating wind turbines, cables and transformer platforms.
Sarri joined DORIS around a year ago, bringing with him more than two decades of oil and gas experience.
“These were the most exciting types of project for a structural engineer,” he recalls. “The projects were gigantic, and I wanted to work in an international environment with different cultures.
“After 20 years working for EPC contractors Eiffage and Subsea 7 in engineering, project management and sales and marketing roles, I decided to join DORIS in 2018. DORIS is a world-renowned engineering company in oil and gas and renewables, and during this period of change in the energy sector, it was the right time for me to participate to the evolution of the group.”
Indeed, the Paris-based company has evolved into a global organisation that is present in 17 countries and employs more than 800 people, working with oil majors such as Total, Eni, Exxon and BP as well as independent and national operators like ADNOC and Sonangol.
In the Middle East, DORIS Group has been active on a number of landmark projects.
This includes pre-FEED and FEED work for several major developments at the North Oil Company Qatar’s Al Shaheen Oil Field off the country’s northeast coast, operated jointly by Qatar Petroleum and Total.
In Abu Dhabi, DORIS is currently involved with ADNOC and Contractor Tecnicas Reunidas in the FEED work of the first phase of expansion at the Upper Zakum Offshore Oilfield. The overall cost of the expansion is thought to be in the region of $8 billion, with ADNOC hoping to raise oil production capacity to four million barrels per day (BPD) by 2020 and five million BPD by 2030.
“We hope and expect to be awarded more projects in both countries in the future, especially for offshore facilities or complex developments where DORIS’s added value would be most needed,” adds Sarri.
“Such projects include brownfield sites, FEED design competitions, or challenging schemes in terms of costs or time schedule where we can apply our fit-for-purpose methodology, where our track records show massive double-digit reduction in CAPEX.
“Generally, DORIS is interested in developing its presence in the region given the large volume of upstream facilities existing and to be designed.”
Sarri also points to a breakthrough project in Myanmar, where the company has begun working on the FEED design competition of the SHWE phase three gas field in collaboration with Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI).
Awarded the contract by Posco International, the work involves designing a new large gas compression platform that will connect to the existing platform.
“This is an important project for us for several reasons,” says Sarri. “Firstly, it is a gas project, and DORIS is committed to this growing gas and LNG market. Second, it is a compression platform on which DORIS can use its extensive experience gained from working on other gas depleting fields.
“Thirdly, the project is in collaboration with our long-term partner HHI, with whom we already collaborated strongly in the FEED design competition and detailed engineering of the existing SHP platform for the same field and client, a few years ago.”
As well as spreading its expertise far and wide geographically with new projects, DORIS is also turning its attention to renewable energy projects.
Its business units ODE, DORIS Engineering and STAT Marine together provide all services required in the development of all wind farm facilities – fixed foundations, floaters, moorings, masts and turbines, cables and substations.
“Today, in order to develop our renewables activities, we have opened offices in Taiwan, Japan, Germany and the US,” adds Sarri.
“A pioneering spirit leads DORIS to be present in other areas of renewables, such as thermal energies (sea-water air conditioning, ocean thermal energy conversion) and carbon capture, utilisation and storage. We want to develop this business stream and double our activity in the renewables segment by 2023.”
As Sarri suggests, DORIS’s innovative mentality has enabled it to grow as a global player over the course of its existence, and will be vital if it is to enjoy another 50 years at the top.
Central to this is research and development. Each year, the company plans and finances R&D at a corporate level in order to examine and address technical issues that will be at the core of engineering activities in the years to come, a process which requires vision from the leadership.
“In the last few years, DORIS has developed, for example, a new concept for a circular FPSO for Gulf of Mexico applications, a floating structure for offshore wind with excellent stability characteristics, ensuring increased uptime of the turbine,” Sarri reveals.
“Today, DORIS R&D is centred around green hydrogen and carbon capture and sequestration projects.”
Digitisation is another key priority for the company moving forwards, both from a product and operational standpoint.
Sarri continues: “We want to intensify our development in digitalisation. This will reinforce the link between our activities, from engineering to operation and maintenance, and therefore it will increase our value proposition to our clients.”
The other major focus area for 2020 is the LNG market.
Sarri has identified this field as ripe for growth, the CCO eager to reinforce DORIS’s position by supporting clients from conceptual, FEED, and detailed design through to operation and maintenance.
He concludes by restating the DORIS value proposition: “The value brought by DORIS is more than competitiveness on hourly rates.
“It is about major cost savings thanks to design optimisations. It is about reducing risks related to interfaces and planning. It is about having a safer project and a safer asset thanks to the right design. It is about working with a reliable partner.”