Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Intero Integrity seeking Bajan business partners

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Intero Integrity Services, a technology-driven international provider of services to the oil, gas, petrochemical, and energy industries, has chosen Barbados as the Caribbean gateway to expand its Western Hemisphere operations.

The founders established the company in The Netherlands 37 years ago, and it now operates across the world. The Americas team is in discussions with potential local partners to build relationships which they anticipate will be a win-win for Intero, Barbados and the region.

Peter Sterzing, Vice President and General Manager-Western Hemisphere; Mick Collins, Area Sales Manager-Western Hemisphere; and TJ Jimenez, Senior Inspection Consultant-United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean, shared the vision and expansion plans while visiting Barbados.

Through its inspection, industrial, and environmental service lines, Intero assists companies from design to end-of-life of their plant operation – keeping pipelines, refineries, storage facilities, and every related aspect of their infrastructure in top working order.

The company is the world’s only inspection-industrial-environmental services specialist to combine innovative technologies, critical insights, state-of-the-art equipment and advanced data management with a streamlined project approach.

“Our company originated 37 years ago in The Netherlands. We started as a branch of the pipeline construction company A. Hak. In 1985 they started inline ultrasonic inspections, with one of the first inspection projects at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. The company designed ultrasonic inspection technology to inspect the integrity of the fuel lines that feed airplanes at each gate at the airport,” Sterzing said.

Discussing Intero Integrity Services’ plans for Barbados are (from left) TJ Jimenez, senor inspection consultant, United States and Latin America; Peter Sterzing, vice president and general manager, Western Hemisphere; and Mick Collins, area sales manager, Western Hemisphere.(Picture by Jameel Springer)

“The company developed the technology to inspect all those fuel lines in Schiphol Airport, and from there, it continued to expand to inspect and service anyone with difficult to inspect pipelines. As the company continued to grow, it added complementary services in numerous regions globally.”

He explained: “So we started with pipeline inspections, then we added heater tube inspections at refineries, followed by tank inspections for storage terminals and other facilities. We recently expanded into environmental services with methane leak detection and management. Industrial services have always been a constant source of revenue in our portfolio.”

“In Barbados, we intend to start by partnering with a local company that can provide industrial and project management services in support of our projects. We will bring our world-class technology (our inspection equipment), and then with our local partner providing the mechanical services to deliver the projects.”

With inspection and environmental services the focus of Intero’s Western Hemisphere operation, Sterzing said the company provides smart inspections of pipelines and other facilities across various industries.

“We internally inspect assets through two different technologies – Ultrasonic technology based on soundwaves, and the other based on magnetic technology – to detect metal loss or other anomalies in equipment. So we inspect assets and provide a data set to our customers, who subsequently use the data to minimise safety, operational and environmental risk,” he noted.

“We are based all over the world. We have about 600 employees. Our Western Hemisphere locations include Houston, Toronto, Edmonton, and Brazil, near Sao Paulo. We also have locations globally in Europe, in almost every country in Western Europe, and the Middle East and Southeast Asia,” the vice president added.

Sterzing, Collins and Jimenez see great potential for the business in Barbados, the Caribbean, and South America, and it is here that they have chosen to lay the foundation for growth. They plan to provide services to Government and the private sector, in addition to the airport, but will not be doing it alone.

“Our company sees this region as a huge opportunity, and that’s why the three of us are spending the time here, and we look forward to finding the right partners and then continuing work for the long haul,” Sterzing said.

“We see three to five years of significant growth, and then a steady operation based out of Barbados into the future.”

He shared that Intero saw Barbados as “the gateway to the Caribbean business”.

“We have [a] relatively small operation compared to what we think the Western Hemisphere market can become, and currently, we do very little work in the Caribbean,” he said.

“If we look at the opportunities in Barbados and the other Caribbean islands, there are several legacy oil and gas assets on each island. Every refinery, storage tank terminal, loading dock, and pipeline represents an opportunity for us to help the local businesses and utilities to manage the integrity of their assets.”

“We are looking for local partnerships to incorporate them into our sustainable growth model for our Caribbean investments. We view the Latin America and the Caribbean as being very similar but we do not have sufficient market penetration at this time. Our short term goal is to establish strong networks and partnerships to execute our growth strategy.”

Collins said Intero was confident its relationship with Barbados and the Caribbean would be mutually beneficial. The relationship will have a heavy emphasis on technology and partnerships.

“Technology allows us to work more efficiently, and then, if we reduce our cost base with maximized local support, we pass that on to our customers,” he said.

“If we have local partners and local content, we will be much more competitive. Plus, companies in Barbados will benefit from partnering with us. Then we could use this as a staging ground to expand services regionally.”

“We have great universities and a good educational system here, so we would be able to bring some of the young engineers, software developers, and technologists into the process as well. Tactically it feels right for us. We have the technology, and I think we can establish it here in Barbados. We have thought deeply about it as it has been in our pipeline for about a year,” Collins said.

“In the early market entry stage, we would start with an international team complemented by some local content. Eventually, we will transfer that knowledge to wean off support from our international team. Finally, if demand for our services is high enough, we will stage equipment and technology in the region to reduce transportation costs which is a high cost.”

Jimenez, who will be the man on the ground here, said: “We are here to stay and develop mutually beneficial partnerships with the community in Barbados. This will entail generating local content and employment to cater to the regional market.”

Sterzing concluded:  “We are starting some initial discussions, and we are weeks away from finding the right partners. We see several prospects starting in Barbados, so we are trying to find the partners for that first project in 2022.” (SC)

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