Media Release

Energy-focused engineering group upscaling Mozambique presence

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Energy-focused engineering group Kentz is gearing up for what it expects to be material growth in Mozambique in the coming years, owing principally to the discovery of large-scale gas resources and the ongoing development of the country’s coal and power industries.

Regional MD for Africa Carl Dyer tells Engineering News Online that, although it has had a presence in Mozambique for 15 years, activities in the country are still supported mainly fromSouth Africa, where about 3 000 of Kentz’s 4 500 African employees are based. The global group, which is a FTSE 250-listed company on the London Stock Exchange, has about 14 500 employees in 30 countries.

Attention is currently being given to building a stronger domestic presence and to developingMaputo into a standalone office, which will still receive support from Johannesburg, which remains Kentz’s African headquarters.

“We are currently fitting out our new offices in Maputo and we hope to move in early in 2014,” Dyer reports, adding that opportunities arising are significant, with a steady flow of enquiries being issued into the marketplace.

Kentz is currently busy with aspects of the first phase of an infrastructure programme for Nacala, in northern Mozambique. The contract, which forms part of the logistics being put in place for the export coal mined at Moatize, in the Tete province, was awarded by Corredor Logistico Integrado de Nacala, a joint venture between Vale and the Mozambican port and rail authority, CFM.

Dyer is optimistic that Kentz could also participate in the second phase of the project, which is currently under adjudication. “Nacala alone could keep us busy for a couple of years, before the oil and gas workflow really kicks off,” he adds, indicating that he expects that workflow to begin flowing within 18 months. “Every time I go to Mozambique, my eyes open a little wider. There is a lot of potential out there.”

However, he stresses that South Africa, which Kentz entered three decades ago to support the development of Sasol, remains a key market for the group. There remains a solid baseload of opportunities inAfrica’s largest economy, particularly in the area of power generation, but also in relation to liquid fuels and petrochemicals.

The company is involved in Eskom’s Medupi project, which Dyer admits to having been a difficult project for all contractors involved. However, he says key lessons have been learned, which he hopes will be applied to future power projects, whether these are pursued by Eskom or independent power producers.

He is also optimistic of contracts arising as a result of the next phase of South Africa’s clean fuels upgrades, with all of the existing oil refineries gearing up to spend significant capital to meet the new specifications. In addition, Kentz is also increasingly active in the solar-power sector, having completed the Kalkbult project for Scatech in the Northern Cape and working currently on photovoltaic projects in Limpopo and Gauteng.

The African unit is also giving significant attention to developments in West Africa, where both brownfield and greenfield opportunities are arising. “We are looking at setting up office in Ghana, where quite a few of our clients are already active. And, we are also currently actively targeting work in Nigeria and Angola.

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