IIICorp Opportunity of the Week: Unitel’s two-pronged strategy gains momentum in Southeast Asia, lands PT Pertamina catalyst systems deal

Unitel Technologies is supplying Indonesian state-owned oil firm PT Pertamina with its proprietary Octave catalyst research system under the terms of a deal signed recently, according to CEO Serge Randhava. Meanwhile, the company is laying the groundwork to capitalize on a major natural gas-related opportunity in the region.

The deal with PT Pertamina is likely to be worth about USD 2m for the Matawan, New Jersey-based specialty process engineering firm that designs and builds pilot- and full-scale oil and natural gas processing facilities. In March, the CEO told this news service that his firm was in talks to supply Octave systems to multiple oil companies in Southeast Asia.

Unitel’s revenues typically do not exceed USD 15m annualy because it’s primarily a technology firm and sub-contracts much of the engineering work required for its projects to other companies.

Regional LNG opportunities

Randhava said that the opportunity to sell catalyst research systems in Indonesia, and Southeast Asia at large, pales in comparison to opportunities to sell its process engineering services and technologies to the region’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry.

Unitel was selected earlier this year by the Korea Gas Technology Corporation (KOGAS) to conduct the front end engineering and design work needed to commercialize a “small-scale LNG business opportunity,” according to a press release from January. KOGAS, the world’s largest importer of LNG, is aiming to design, build and operate multiple 200 TPD LNG mini-plants that will create a virtual pipeline to supply product for local transportation fuel and power generation applications, Randhava said. Eventually, the Korean company would like to build the small-scale plants in countries in need of critical natural gas infrastructure, he said.

“The opportunities to develop small-scale LNG plants should be of great interest to countries like Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia,” Randhava said. “I’m excited about that; [KOGAS] is aggressive.”

One application for the small-scale LNG technology KOGAS is developing might be at the Vietnam Block B development, Randhava said. PetroVietnam is aiming to produce 107bn cubic meters of gas and 12.65 million barrels of condensate from offshore Block B, of which 5.06bcm are expected to be brought onshore per year from 2020 to 2040. The fuel is expected to be used to power plants in the Kien Giang and O Mon district of Can Tho city. The initiative entails an investment of about USD 6.08bn.

Randhava noted that the company plans to move onshore only about half of the gas it is producing from Block B. He said that it is likely planning ot either make LNG in small-scale plants onshore for distribution throughout the country, or convert it into dimethyl ether for use in Vietnam and neighboring countries.

Opportunity Size: 15m USD

 

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