Samsung Engineering emerged as a juggernaut in the UAE's oil construction sector last year, racking up almost US$4 billion (Dh14.69bn) in plant orders that made up half of the firm's revenues from the MENA region. In November, the company won two of the biggest contracts awarded last year by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC): a $1.2bn deal to build a fertiliser plant and a $2.7bn pact to construct a key part of ADNOC's new refinery. Both plants will be located in Ruwais.
Abu Dhabi is one of Samsung's three key markets in MENA, said HP Kong, the executive vice president and head of marketing for the South Korean company. Samsung Engineering's business is building industrial plants, with a particular focus on so-called downstream plants that process oil or produce chemicals. The firm made its first foray into the Middle East in 2000, when it won a contract from Saudi Polyolefins Petrochemical, a Saudi firm now called Tasnee, to construct a plastics making facility in Jubail.
Samsung lost money on the project, Mr Kong said, but got its foot in the door of the Middle Eastern market. The firm has grown rapidly in the past several years, hiring more than 300 engineers annually and targeting annual orders of $30bn by 2015, from $10bn last year. The next step, Mr Kong indicated, is to broaden the company's expertise beyond oil and gas to include power and water plants, as well as steel mills.