Monday, September 24, 2012

Fluor Corp eyes Phl as global hub

MANILA, Philippines - Global engineering and construction management firm Fluor Corp. is looking at expanding its Philippine operations as a global execution center by hiring close to 1,000 new Filipino workers, transforming the country as its largest office in the world in the next two to three years, an official said. “The Philippine office is still one of the most cost competitive offices in 70 to 75 countries around the world,” Dan Spinks, vice-president and general manager of Fluor’s Philippine operations, said in an interview. “This could be in the next two to three years the largest office. Now it is third,” Spinks said. To date, Fluor employs 2,200 professionals involved in engineering, procurement and finance that support capital projects in the oil and gas, chemicals, power, and mining and metals industries. Spinks said it can easily grow to more than 3,000 in the next two to three years. In the past two years alone, Fluor hired more than 1,000 employees for its Manila and Cebu offices, which support projects in the Middle East, South America, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and China. “We are interested in doing more projects here in the Philippines and in the region,” Spinks said. In 1987, Fluor Daniels started its local operations with just 57 employees. As a global execution center, the Manila office initially supported other offices in the global network. “The market in Asia Pacific is strong for us. Australia is very busy and Southeast Asia is picking up,” Spinks said. The local market, for its part, is supported by economic growth and interests on the construction of new power plants, he said. Completed projects of Fluor in the country include the Enron Power Corp.’s coal-fired power plant in Batangas and Procter & Gamble’s Cabuyao facility in Laguna. To date, Fluor is working on the phase 3 of the Malampaya gas-to-power project. Early this month, it entered into a joint venture with Filipino firm AG&P that specializes in modular engineering and fabrication services. “The thing you can do when you fabricate in a controlled environment is you can manage safety and control quality better,” Spinks said. It will also result in faster turnover of projects. AG&P and Fluor will invest $15 million initially for the expansion of an existing fabrication yard in Batangas. Fluor provides services for energy and chemicals, industrial and infrastructure, power, and operations and maintenance. - By Neil Jerome C. Morales