Oil and gas give industrial titan way in

Hyundai Heavy Industries is the world's largest shipbuilder, but has also become a significant builder of oil and gas facilities in the Middle East.

Hyundai Heavy Industries is famous in South Korea for being the world's largest shipbuilder and a major employer, but the firm has also become a significant builder of oil and gas facilities in the Middle East. The firm, which was spun off from the car maker and other companies of the Hyundai name in 2002, won a US$1.6 billion (Dh5.87bn) contract from the offshore division of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) in 2006 to inject natural gas into the Umm Shaif oilfield to boost production. The project generates 15 per cent of the total revenue of Hyundai Heavy Industries' offshore division.

Last year, the company secured a $1bn contract to build a gas processing facility on Das Island and aims to sign additional contracts this year, said Dr Chang Sik-kim, the business manager for the firm's process plant business. Hyundai Heavy Industries had its first big win in the wider region in 2005 when it signed a $1.25bn contract with Kuwait Oil to build an oil export terminal. The firm decided in the late 1990s to begin exporting its services as a result of flat demand for plants in South Korea, Dr Chang said. Five years passed before the company landed its first foreign contract in the oil industry.

"We were trying to challenge others in the Middle East, but we always failed, then we started exploring other areas, especially Nigeria," he said. "So we accumulated experience in Nigeria and then other clients started to believe our capability and finally we started our own business in the region, including the UAE." @Email:cstanton@thenational.ae