Western Australian structural, mechanical, piping, engineering and fiberglass services company Wenco has made its business in the onshore and offshore oil and gas sectors. Diversifying into other related industries has enabled it to stay at the top of its game. Report by Andy Probert.
Established in 1972 by Mario Peca in O'Connor – an industrial suburb of Perth, Western Australia – Welding and Engineering Contractors (Wenco Pty Ltd) has evolved into one of the leading piping suppliers for the energy market in Australia and South East Asia.
Developing its grounding in meeting the needs of fabrication and construction companies requiring formed steelwork, Wenco diversified in the mid-1980s to expand the company's facilities, equipment and services to satisfy the ever-growing needs of the oil, gas and mining sectors.
Encouraged by and collaborating with some of Western Australia's heavy industry players, such as Alcoa and Woodside, Wenco commissioned some of the largest rolling and pressing equipment in Australia.
Today, the company has an A$30 million turnover, employs 150 people and has diversified into servicing all major industries from oil and gas, industrial, marine and mining industries, as well as energy and water utilities on both onshore and offshore areas.
"Our success is based on building strong and lasting relationships," said Wenco's Operations Manager, Aravind Venkatesan. "This approach has enabled us to work at refineries, mining sites, desalination plants, fertilizer plants and chemical processing plants, while being able to deploy qualified personnel and equipment at short notice."
Wenco is a recognised engineering, procurement and construction management contractor with accreditation to ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and AS/NZS 4801 / OHSAS 18001.
While still a family-run firm, Wenco expanded further in 2015 with the setting up of its mining division.
Mr Venkatesan commented: "Our multi-disciplinary approach will always help to reduce operational costs, while enhancing efficiency, productivity and safety."
Wenco, he added, could be deployed offering an individual service or the complete, integrated package, overseen by a single project team with all the organisational, time and costsaving benefits that brings.
Some of its high-profile contracts have included the Tan Burrup Project, with fiberglass and piping works aiding the construction of an ammonium nitrate production facility on in Karratha, Western Australia.
Here, Wenco supplied a team to manage the installation of above ground metallic and non-metallic (GRE / GRVe) piping works with the installation of more than 3,500 fiberglass joints. The project also included fabricated structural steel and painting.
Wenco was also appointed to supply, fabricate and install GRE piping at the offshore Ichthys LNG Project. This involved the provision of ship mounted skids which supplies potable and process water to crews involved in the recovery of LNG and hydrocarbons from the Ichthys field in the Timor sea.
Wenco has a broad portfolio of successfully completed projects including SMP projects with the Water Corporation (Western Australia) at the Beenyup Advanced Water Recycling Plant which commenced in June 2015 and was completed in May 2016.
"We believe our enviable track record in excellence and open to communication with customers out us in good stead for the future"
Mr Venkatesan said Wenco's Heavy Engineering division encompasses vessel manufacture, plate work fabrication and plate forming – including roiling, pressing, dished ends and knuckle manufacture. It also operates a 5,000m² fabrication shop for the express purpose of spooling metallic and non–metallic piping assemblies.
"The division strives to maintain the fiberglass industry with leadership and the supply of NOV (formerly Ameron) GRE /GRVe products and services of the highest quality," he said. "Many customers are familiar with our rolling and pressing capabilities, while others are familiar with the additional services we provide including unique handling, fabrication and installation services."
He added: "As we have more than 40 years' experience trading in a very competitive region and sector, we have enormous expertise in managing highly complex projects with confidence. Customers see us as a trustworthy partner in their projects and that is evidenced by the number of plants we have been asked to build from scratch."
The company's project managers, noted Mr Venkatesan, serve not only as a contact point for customers but act as a liaison between the company and the client to provide the latest updates on the project.
"In particular they coordinate engineering activities, schedules for production and site services/installation."
Furthermore, Wenco's experienced engineers and supervisors can provide assistance, technical support and training at the site during the pipe laying and final commissioning and testing phases.
"We have service delivery commitments that we never deviate from and we always deliver on our commitments," assured Mr Venkatesan. "With our honest and straight forward approach, we have fostered relations with customers over a very long time. This ensures return business and the potential to be involved as a partner on their projects from early on."
Product and geographic expansion
Wenco is also a manufacturer and global distributor of various rubber lining and conveyor products, with various workshops and 15,000 sqm dedicated to stock in Australia.
"This unit was formed due to the demand and request from the mining industry for an alternative Tier One supplier who could supply and apply wear protection and conveyor products at a high level of quality and a cost effective pricing structure," explained Mr Venkatesan. "We stepped in and have developed the division to what it is today."
Mr Venkatesan said the company was facing the constant challenge of retaining and sourcing high skilled workers.
"There is a lot of competition within the oil and gas sector for the pool of talented workers they are after. However, Wenco's strength is the ability to serve customers across its specialism in a professional manner, while balancing the commitments of safety, sustainability and the environment.
"We believe our enviable track record in excellence and open to communication with customers out us in good stead for the future."