Good engineering solutions in a service-oriented manner.
Even as power projects across Southeast Asia continue to grow and diversify, power engineering consultancy firm OWL Energy is showing how it is not just able to keep up with the changes, but is also proactive in helping clients keep abreast with industry developments.
“We are all about providing good engineering solutions in a service oriented manner to the client regardless of whether the project is a billion dollar project, with multilateral financing including the IFC / ADB, or if it is a small study to decide where to put the next ash pond,” says Tony Segadelli, managing director, OWL Energy. Clients constantly praise the breadth and depth of OWL Energy’s capabilities whether they be in fossil or renewable energy and the full project cycle capability, he also notes. “Whereas global companies have many layers of bureaucracy, OWL is lean and enthusiastic to the extent that even I am actively involved in project delivery.”
Further, Segadelli adds, “Even our expat staff have been in Asia for decades and our strong network of engineers means we can quickly bring in outside expertise as required, covering technology experts, environmental consultants and market analysts.”
OWL Energy has bagged notable wins in the first half of 2017. “Our largest success has been in taking over a distressed solar project and providing detailed design, procurement support and construction supervision from the engineering, procurement construction (EPC) contractor to get the project back on track,” shares Segadelli. “We have also diversified in terms of technology, and are now working in various capacities on hydro, battery storage, solar, biomass and waste-to-energy projects within the region.”
Clients for these projects have ranged from the large utility/global independent power producers (IPPs) to large conglomerates that have never looked at the power industry before and see it as a good market to enter, Segadelli also notes.
For example, OWL Energy was engaged by a company in the Philippines that owns restaurants, mines and bookstores which has significant cashflow, and was looking at LNG facilities to invest in. In Myanmar-based projects, they are helping local companies and global entities as they seek to explore this developing market, to select the viable projects and then focus on their development. “One area that has changed in the last 12 months is that I am traveling a lot more. Singapore is a destination I often visit because there are a lot of regional investors and lenders there. However with ASEAN being 50 this year I will be celebrating by visiting all 10 countries,” he adds.
For the remaining half of the year, OWL is looking to further increase its presence around SE Asia. In Thailand, for instance, the focus is shifting to combine intermittent and baseload supplies. In the Philippines, OWL will be expanding their abilities to provide project services to operating plants, those requiring repowering, and to the smaller hybrid systems that are becoming more economic as technologies combine to offer cost-effective alternatives to the traditional diesel generators.
Myanmar requires all forms of power generation including coal and solar, while Cambodian initiatives for the company will be largely focused on solar. Short-term future plans mainly involve continuing the company’s strong engineering capability, flexibility and service focus. OWL Energy will also focus strongly on investment hotspot Myanmar, where they have some strong early wins including Lenders’ Engineer on the first IPP projects to be truly project financed.
“On the technology front we will be focussing on tackling technology developments, such as battery storage, as they are introduced in the region,” says Segadelli.
Agile and nimble
He is unfazed with observations on the strong consolidation in the engineering consulting sector at the moment. Even in the presence of global monoliths, OWL strives to aim for quality projects, client service, and undeniably strong record in seeing projects from start to finish. “OWL is all about focussing on being a local power engineering consultancy with a global outlook and reach. We are ISO9001 accredited, unlike most local firms,” says Segadelli.
Further, their senior management team all come from the large consulting companies and understand the importance of having a business that is focussed on meeting clients’ needs at the right time all the time. Segadelli points to this as one of the company’s strengths and advantages over other firms.“Too often the large companies spend most of the time ‘doing business with themselves,’” notes Segadelli. “We have few layers of management and even I regularly perform project work and have a direct relationship with our clients.”
For OWL, this means that when a client asks it to do a task or negotiate a contract, the company does so in a manner that facilitates getting the real work started immediately and providing a product that meets the client’s requirements. “We are the owls,” says Segadelli. “Agile and nimble.”
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