17 November 2017
|How did you come to be in the oil and gas industry?
I joined MW Kellogg (predecessor to KBR) after I graduated from business school in 1979, and have been in the oil business ever since.
|Where do you see the greatest opportunity in today’s global oil and gas markets and how are you positioned to capture this opportunity?
Despite the recent challenges that the oil and gas industry as a whole has faced, the SNC-Lavalin Oil & Gas business has shown resilience, and this is down to our diverse capabilities, solid client relationships and global reach.
While CAPEX has decreased dramatically, the current environment has led to a positive trend towards OPEX and sustaining capital work. We have seen an increase in these opportunities and a definite surge in the number of contracts in brownfield or maintenance type work, which is beneficial to SNC-Lavalin as we have strengths and capabilities to offer in this area across the globe.
Downstream is an area where we see a lot of opportunity, the lower oil price naturally makes the feed stock cheaper, and there are a number of projects being green-lighted by our clients.
Gas and LNG remain core areas of the industry, and as a key area of our expertise, we are well positioned for when LNG returns. We have seen continued demand for our gas services, and in particular have seen raised interest in our Production and Processing Solutions (PPS) service line. The US rig count has steadily risen, and with lower economic boundaries on US projects, we are well positioned both to provide engineering and our in-house fabricated gas solutions to this market.
We have a healthy backlog of work and we are pleased with our order intake, which is an excellent achievement in the current challenging climate. We’re experiencing a lot of positive growth on our existing contracts around the world, which is testament to our performance and client relationships.
|If you could wave a magic wand over our industry, what would you change and why?
That’s a difficult one to answer, but I’d say I would have liked to see more of an earlier recognition and that a focus on reducing operational costs should be an on going focus, not just one that is adapted in a crisis. The same thing happened in the early/mid 1980s and the industry didn’t learn its lessons then. Hopefully this recent downturn will instil lessons that will be remembered.
|What are the strategic priorities for your company in the next 12 months?
SNC-Lavalin operates across four main sectors including oil & gas, infrastructure, power and mining and metallurgy. Our strategy is to maintain our diverse portfolio; with the low commodity prices we have seen a positive impact on other sectors and we can offer our clients more services from all four sectors, for example in the area of telecommunications through collaborating with our power division.
We will continue to focus on our “Operational Excellence” program, launched earlier this year, enabling us to further improve our efficiency and execution for clients. Currently we are focusing on the sale of non-core businesses; and we are also planning a review of our owned real estate portfolio.
For oil and gas specifically, our focus for 2017 is to continue to win and deliver work for our base business, including the large sustaining-capital projects that we are well positioned for, and to evolve and expand our services and capabilities to meet, and help shape, our clients’ needs.
|What takeaways would you like attendees at World Oil & Gas Week to go home with regarding your company and your work?
We have a proven track record in delivering specialist solutions on complex, challenging, and remote projects. In addition to offering fully designed turnkey solutions, we can deliver service specific scopes of work, with a highly valuable, self-performing asset construction and field services across the full lifecycle of our clients’ assets.
With over 100 years’ experience and 20,000 professionals in oil and gas, we offer client-focused, end-to-end engineering and construction solutions across upstream, midstream and downstream projects to many of the world’s leading energy companies. We are recognized globally for our agile and responsive approach, delivering world-leading energy projects safely, on time, and on budget.
Combining this with enhanced project development and flexible delivery models, allows us to drive maximum value to our clients. We offer a wide range of project development options for our customers, including a variety of commercial options. As a distinction from other E&C companies, we have our own Capital division; our investment and asset management arm, which actively seeks to take equity, debt, or other commercial stakes in large scale asset developments.
|What is your proudest work-related achievement to date?
Helping the companies I’ve worked with to develop strategies that enable them to achieve their business objectives in both times of growth and in times of challenging circumstances, and being able to provide a perspective on what’s worked and what hasn’t over the past 35+ years.
|Name one interesting fact about you that no one would suspect?
I’m an avid cyclist and part owner of a high intensity fitness studio.
|What three items would you take with you to a desert island?
First of course, my wife! A knife, matches and water for sure, as it’d be pretty difficult to survive otherwise. And of course, a pen and a lot of paper to write on!
About Mark Payton
Mark Payton is Senior Vice-President, Corporate Strategy and Development, SNC-Lavalin. Mark has over 30 years of experience in strategic planning, development and acquisitions at several multinational oil and gas engineering and construction companies. He joined SNC-Lavalin with the acquisition of Kentz, where—as a Member of the Management Executive Committee, reporting to the CEO—he held the role of Group Corporate Development Officer since 2013. In that position, he was responsible for leading Kentz’s strategic planning, and merger and acquisition activities, including the acquisition of Valerus in early 2014. Prior to joining Kentz, Mark held a similar role at Wood Group Mustang, ran his own strategy consulting practice and started his career at MW Kellogg.
Mark has a Master’s degree in International Business from Thunderbird School of Global Management, in Arizona, United States, and a Bachelor’s degree in Business from the University of Arizona.