Optimising Operations Towards Sustainability
As we head into a digitalised future, business sector manager for Mining, Metals & Minerals (MM&M) Gladwin Mfolo explains how Worley is helping customers optimise their operations in a more sustainable, technologically focused world.
By placing sustainability at the fore, Worley is supporting customers through innovation and digital solutions to improve their assets and unlock future business potential. The company has played a major role in delivering complex projects in the energy, chemicals and resources sectors across the world, helping customers rise to challenges, and creating solutions where none existed.
Recognised globally for its achievements in the hydrocarbons industry, Worley’s Southern African focus has largely been on the mining, metals and minerals and refining and chemicals sectors, with engineering services ranging from conceptual design right through to construction and project management.
More recently, renewable energy has come into the spotlight as businesses look to reduce their carbon impact on the environment and advance towards sustainability goals.
Tools transitioning us to renewables
Mfolo says that Worley is well equipped to tackle the transition towards renewable energy using the latest technology and digital tools. “We need to become more in sync with nature by producing energy from sun, wind and water that’s sustainable, smart and has minimal environmental impact. We’re here to help our customers start the transformation journey and see it through to its completion.”
This journey begins with Worley’s Technology & Expert Solutions (TES) and Advisian teams. Combining management consulting and technical consulting expertise with real-world experience, these teams help customers answer questions such as how the latest available technology can optimise operations, particularly with regards to customers’ energy usage, and when a return on investment can be expected.
Optimal energy solutions, especially for mines, play an important role in this process, with the aim of developing low carbon-producing infrastructure and ultimately using sustainable, zero-carbon energy.
South Africa’s mining industry is under increasing pressure to switch to alternative energy sources in order to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, keep miners safe, and meet production targets. This is where Worley’s distributed energy systems solutions can add immense value, by providing easy, cost-effective optimisation for complicated, multi-streamed energy systems.
Once optimal solutions have been identified, Worley provides technical design, concept and feasibility, engineering and project delivery – all underpinned by the goal of building sustainable operations.
“Technology is at the core of what we do and we want to incorporate this into any project we’re involved in,” says Mfolo. By harnessing the digital tools from artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, building information modelling (BIM) and robotics to solve industry challenges and break down barriers to progress, Worley helps its customers keep pace with change and use of technology in the various industries it services.
With BIM for example, Worley brings concepts to life, creating digital replicas that begin in 3D and can advance to 7D. Mfolo explains that a “digital replica” is essentially an operational data-enhanced virtual or augmented reality model of the designed facility. The information builds in value as the project stages progress until the complete data set is handed over to the customer at the conclusion of a project, ready for operation.
He adds that the aim of Worley’s digital value chain is to get customers to the point of using technology automatically, bringing solutions to the table that wouldn’t have been there before.
Speeding up digitalisation
Mfolo believes the COVID-19 pandemic has emphasised the importance of digitalisation as a key driver in development, and that South African businesses are increasingly ready to accept the transition. The company is seeing a greater interest in sustainable energy solutions, and he says Worley has already undertaken projects in this regard.
“More and more of Worley’s customers are expressing interest in gaining a better understanding of the energy transition process as we move from fossil fuel power to solar, hydro and other renewable options. We want to help our customers reach their sustainability goals and have deep global expertise in this regard,” says Mfolo.
As a global business, Worley has the capacity to be localised while leveraging world-wide expertise, drawing on local knowledge from South Africa, and global experience from its technical experts. This allows the business to streamline ideas, grow and implement a concept, and execute services – all under one global roof.
“We can offer customers optimal asset growth as well as sustainability. Each solution is customer-specific – there’s no one-size-fits-all approach,” says Mfolo.
And what about the effects of the pandemic? “Yes, COVID-19 has changed the way Worley provides and delivers services, but how we execute projects remains the same. We’re a global business, so we had already streamlined remote collaboration from different locations. This has been one of Worley’s major strengths in overcoming the restrictions that COVID-19 has placed on the world,” says Mfolo.
During a recent interview, CEO of Worley Chris Ashton summed up Worley’s future goals by saying the business is committed to developing a more sustainable world for future generations. He believes this can be achieved by putting Worley’s passion, skills and beliefs at the centre of some of the biggest challenges on the planet.
Mfolo echoes this optimistic outlook towards a future world where digital and sustainable energy solutions go hand in hand. “Energy transition is fundamental to Worley’s growth strategy. We’re working towards a sustainable world, not only for our partners and shareholders but also for our environment and communities. It’s a gradual process, but taking the first step is the most important part,” he concludes.