By Ross Verne

THYSSENKRUPP is set to ramp up its presence in Western Australia’s oil and gas sector as the company continues a shift away from its traditional steel markets and towards engineering services.

Chief executive Heinrich Hiesinger used the launch of the company’s expanded service centre in Henderson on 15 October to explain the company’s intention to capitalise on opportunities in the oil and gas market.

He said though ThyssenKrupp was principally servicing the mining industry at present, the landscape was changing.

“We have started to give some consulting services to our customers in the chemical area to reassess their production facilities and where we can make recommendations to them,” Dr Hiesinger said.

“These projects are not in the $100 million range but they might be the $10 million or $15 million or $20 million, so it is really about ensuring chemical production in Australia really steps up.”

The launch of the new service centre – alongside similar facilities in Melbourne and Brisbane – follows the amalgamation of Uhde Shedden, Polysius and ThyssenKrupp Materials Handling.

Dr Hiesinger said the amalgamated facility would enable ThyssenKrupp to be more agile in responding to changes in demand from the WA’s mining and oil and gas industries.

“This is the beauty of now having all three businesses together because we see the mix between oil and gas as always shifting.”

The German steel giant has moved to diversify its business in recent years after being hit hard by the global economic crisis and poor returns from its steel business.

The company off loaded more than a quarter of its assets – mainly those associated with steel – in 12 to 18 months and redirected capital expenditure towards its engineering services.

“When we made a decision to reposition the company as an engineering company we clearly said it to communicate that to our investors and our employees that we have to make a fundamental step,” Dr Hiesinger said.

Dr Hiesinger highlighted ThyssenKrupp’s work in the South Australian conventional gas sector, where the company is executing a project centred on carbon dioxide removal and utilities expansion at the Moomba Gas Processing Facility.

He said the company’s carbon dioxide separation technology would be able to be utilised by local producers.

“Australia is mostly exporting into other countries so what we are offering here is very much environmental technology – carbon dioxide separation, things like that – to make the process from exploitation until it is delivered to customers more environmentally friendly,” he said.