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Datuk Abang Haji Abdul Karim bin Tun Abang Haji Openg, Chairman of Brooke Dockyard and Engineering Works

Brooke Dockyard and Engineering Works is a leading marine engineering Corporation in Sarawak with active involvement in the oil and gas, shipbuilding, ship repair, bridges infrastructure, and onshore manufacturing sectors. Inside Investors sat down with the Corporation’s Chairman Datuk Abang Haji Abdul Karim bin Tun Abang Haji Openg to learn more.

Q: Could you briefly outline the history of the Corporation?

A: Brooke Dockyard was established in 1912 during the reign of the second White Rajah of Sarawak, Charles Brooke. It has undergone a few organisation restructurings since then, and in 1977, Brooke Dockyard become a fully owned government Corporation under the Public Works Department dealing in the repairs of government vessels and machineries and also private vessels. However, about  15 years ago, it turned out that the government was no longer able to meet the growing business and cater to the needs of the time, and the Corporation was also losing money. They wanted Brooke Dockyard to be managed like a private entity. As we move along we embark into the oil and gas onshore fabrication and short and medium span bridges infrastructure works while mainting  our traditional business in the shipbuilding and ship repair. Today, we are back to profitability again. We are no longer focusing on the ship repair segment, more on oil and gas and infrastructure.

Q: Is there no more ship repair being done?

A: Yes, we still do it, but more in the high-end sector. For example, we are building specialized vessels.

Q: In the oil and gas sector, who are your customers?

A: All the global players, such as Shell, Exxonmobil, Murphy Oil, Talisman, Petronas Carigali, and so on. We are one of the six companies licensed to do drilling onshore fabrication in Malaysia. Apart from that, we are also doing bridge engineering and construction works for the government.

Q: What have been the largest projects your company was working on recently?

A: The last big project we worked on was with Murphy Oil. We did the engineering, procurement, construction, installation, and commissioning for a gas development project. You have to understand the structure of the oil and gas sector here: The umbrella of it all is Petronas, they are owning everything, and all the multinationals are more or less contractors for them, and they, in turn, contract us for engineering work and upstream operations.

Q: How many people are employed at your company? Where do you get your qualified personnel from? Do you operate own training facilities?

A: Most of our people are hired on contract basis for projects. And we have subcontractors who also provide manpower. All in all we have about 700 people employed, either through contractors or directly. We have about 50 engineers in the company and, interestingly, mostly women . We are hiring many locals, because they are good workers and fast learners. We have few problems with finding suitable staff. Of course we also operate a training center for them to improve their skills.

Q: Do you have any plans to expand your business within Malaysia or abroad?

A: We are now actively looking into expanding our yard. Capacity is very important in this business as we move forward. Furthermore, our core business is undergoing a change. Until recently, we have done jobs as a replicator for engineering parts, but from now on we will also be doing designing parts and whole project packages. Actually we are changing into a developer, which is a very big challenge for us in terms of project implementation and delivery. So far, we were able to satisfy our clients.

Q: Would the company be open for foreign investors to venture into new business segments? For example, investors or partners from the GCC?

A: Not at the moment,  because we are 100 per cent owned by the government. However, if the government wants us to grow and venture into the global market, then I suppose there will be room for foreign investors.

Q: What would be your advice for foreign companies wanting to venture into this industry? How tough is the competition?

A: A lot of interest has been expressed from foreign companies to come here and participate in the oil and gas business. I think the opportunities are there. For Malaysia, being a member of ASEAN has a big advantage in this respect. However, a foreign company has to take into account that oil and gas is a sector tightly controlled and well-guarded by the government. Therefore, the best way to enter the  industry in Malaysia for foreign companies it to go through the government. For contractors or service providers there are certainly opportunities.

Q: Where do you see your company stand in five years from now?

A: The opportunities are coming along the way. We are expanding our capacities and are getting ready to receive more projects. The two things that I consider very important when applying for projects are capability and the price. In both sectors we are quite strong.

 

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Datuk Abang Haji Abdul Karim bin Tun Abang Haji Openg, Chairman of Brooke Dockyard and Engineering Works

Brooke Dockyard and Engineering Works is a leading marine engineering Corporation in Sarawak with active involvement in the oil and gas, shipbuilding, ship repair, bridges infrastructure, and onshore manufacturing sectors. Inside Investors sat down with the Corporation’s Chairman Datuk Abang Haji Abdul Karim bin Tun Abang Haji Openg to learn more.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Datuk Abang Haji Abdul Karim bin Tun Abang Haji Openg, Chairman of Brooke Dockyard and Engineering Works

Brooke Dockyard and Engineering Works is a leading marine engineering Corporation in Sarawak with active involvement in the oil and gas, shipbuilding, ship repair, bridges infrastructure, and onshore manufacturing sectors. Inside Investors sat down with the Corporation’s Chairman Datuk Abang Haji Abdul Karim bin Tun Abang Haji Openg to learn more.

Q: Could you briefly outline the history of the Corporation?

A: Brooke Dockyard was established in 1912 during the reign of the second White Rajah of Sarawak, Charles Brooke. It has undergone a few organisation restructurings since then, and in 1977, Brooke Dockyard become a fully owned government Corporation under the Public Works Department dealing in the repairs of government vessels and machineries and also private vessels. However, about  15 years ago, it turned out that the government was no longer able to meet the growing business and cater to the needs of the time, and the Corporation was also losing money. They wanted Brooke Dockyard to be managed like a private entity. As we move along we embark into the oil and gas onshore fabrication and short and medium span bridges infrastructure works while mainting  our traditional business in the shipbuilding and ship repair. Today, we are back to profitability again. We are no longer focusing on the ship repair segment, more on oil and gas and infrastructure.

Q: Is there no more ship repair being done?

A: Yes, we still do it, but more in the high-end sector. For example, we are building specialized vessels.

Q: In the oil and gas sector, who are your customers?

A: All the global players, such as Shell, Exxonmobil, Murphy Oil, Talisman, Petronas Carigali, and so on. We are one of the six companies licensed to do drilling onshore fabrication in Malaysia. Apart from that, we are also doing bridge engineering and construction works for the government.

Q: What have been the largest projects your company was working on recently?

A: The last big project we worked on was with Murphy Oil. We did the engineering, procurement, construction, installation, and commissioning for a gas development project. You have to understand the structure of the oil and gas sector here: The umbrella of it all is Petronas, they are owning everything, and all the multinationals are more or less contractors for them, and they, in turn, contract us for engineering work and upstream operations.

Q: How many people are employed at your company? Where do you get your qualified personnel from? Do you operate own training facilities?

A: Most of our people are hired on contract basis for projects. And we have subcontractors who also provide manpower. All in all we have about 700 people employed, either through contractors or directly. We have about 50 engineers in the company and, interestingly, mostly women . We are hiring many locals, because they are good workers and fast learners. We have few problems with finding suitable staff. Of course we also operate a training center for them to improve their skills.

Q: Do you have any plans to expand your business within Malaysia or abroad?

A: We are now actively looking into expanding our yard. Capacity is very important in this business as we move forward. Furthermore, our core business is undergoing a change. Until recently, we have done jobs as a replicator for engineering parts, but from now on we will also be doing designing parts and whole project packages. Actually we are changing into a developer, which is a very big challenge for us in terms of project implementation and delivery. So far, we were able to satisfy our clients.

Q: Would the company be open for foreign investors to venture into new business segments? For example, investors or partners from the GCC?

A: Not at the moment,  because we are 100 per cent owned by the government. However, if the government wants us to grow and venture into the global market, then I suppose there will be room for foreign investors.

Q: What would be your advice for foreign companies wanting to venture into this industry? How tough is the competition?

A: A lot of interest has been expressed from foreign companies to come here and participate in the oil and gas business. I think the opportunities are there. For Malaysia, being a member of ASEAN has a big advantage in this respect. However, a foreign company has to take into account that oil and gas is a sector tightly controlled and well-guarded by the government. Therefore, the best way to enter the  industry in Malaysia for foreign companies it to go through the government. For contractors or service providers there are certainly opportunities.

Q: Where do you see your company stand in five years from now?

A: The opportunities are coming along the way. We are expanding our capacities and are getting ready to receive more projects. The two things that I consider very important when applying for projects are capability and the price. In both sectors we are quite strong.

 

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