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"Our combination of years of experience with a culture of innovation is a key differentiator as we work towards building a sustainable industry"
Sanjay Joshi, India Country Manager, Aker Solutions It is difficult to compare the situation in 2008 with the situation today. The crisis in the financial sector impacted the economy as a whole, while the current state of affairs is limited to the oil and gas sector. The global markets are sensitive to so many issues that it has become difficult to predict the impact of any one single factor says Sanjay Joshi, India Country Manager, Aker Solutions in an exclusive interview with Chemical Engineering World.

What is the market sentiment across the EPC industry currently?
Domestic EPC investments are taking place, but much more selectively than before. Efficiency is becoming a keyword, both for the industry and for the projects themselves. Customers are looking for partners who have better ways of delivering smarter solutions.

How do you compare the market turbulence in 2008 with the current situation where there have been massive swings in oil prices?
It is difficult to compare the situation in 2008 with the situation today. The crisis in the financial sector impacted the economy as a whole, while the current state of affairs is limited to the oil and gas sector. The global markets are sensitive to so many issues that it has become difficult to predict the impact of any one single factor. But in a market environment of sustained low oil prices, the industry, including us, is putting every effort into creating cost-effective solutions and finding new ways of working.

This will help with both the viability of the investments, as well as the long term sustainability of the industry.

According to a recent report, the Indian capital goods sector has grown at a much slower rate than imports. At the same time, the capacity utilization of domestic manufacturers is only about 60-70 per cent across sub-sectors. In your opinion, what are the factors which have resulted in significant underutilization of capacity?
The new National Capital Goods Policy has the target of making India a globally competitive hub for capital goods. However, this sector faces many challenges, ranging from the lack of the latest technologies and quality inconsistency to under-developed infrastructure. Many manufacturers are also at the MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise) level, and struggle to increase visibility.

Once these challenges are overcome, we hope to see significant growth.

Please share some of the key measures that Aker Solutions is taking towards improving overall efficiency.
At Aker Solutions, we are targeting a global improvement in cost-efficiency. To achieve this, we are working on leaner and more efficient processes that reduce overall costs and improve quality. Another important focus is building a culture of continuous improvement, by encouraging employees to identify waste and implement improvements within their work area.

We recently announced the reorganization of our global business to strengthen operational and financial performance and better meet customer needs. This new set-up will also contribute to bolstering the ongoing improvement work in the company.

Please talk about some of the major ongoing projects of Aker Solutions in India and abroad.

The Johan Sverdrup development on the Norwegian Continental Shelf is our largest project globally. In Mumbai, we have a team working on the detailed design for the two topsides and bridges in the first phase of this project. In addition, we are working on various onshore projects in India, the Middle East and the USA.

What kind of opportunities do you see for Aker Solutions in India?
India as a country is working towards reducing its dependence on energy imports, and two major operators have planned developments on the East Coast. We see this as a significant opportunity, as Aker Solutions has both the experience and expertise to deliver on these projects.

What are your views on the "Make in India" initiative?
The Make in India mission, to build India up into a global design and manufacturing hub, is definitely a step in the right direction. However, other changes, such as supportive financial policies and better infrastructure, are required before these plans become a reality.

What are the future plans of the organisation?
At Aker Solutions, we are focused on maintaining and expanding our international business. The Indian operations are an integral part of our global execution model as we look at opportunities across the world.

Our combination of years of experience with a culture of innovation is a key differentiator as we work towards building a sustainable industry.