Please give us a brief outline of your career within Vallourec.
After graduating as mechanical engineer, I started my professional career in India in 2001 within CST Limited, later renamed as CST Valinox Limited when it became part of Vallourec in 2006 and which eventually became Vallourec Heat Exchanger Tubes (VHET – sold by Vallourec in 2016) India. In VHET I took responsibility for sales and sourcing until 2009. I then joined Vallourec Corporate Marketing at Boulogne for three years. Finally, in 2013, I took over my current position as sales manager for the Vallourec Steam Tubes & Pipes products.
How did the recent changes in Vallourec's organization affect your responsibilities and the organization in India?
For me, as Vallourec's local sales manager in India with established market contacts, it was a reasonable development to also assume the sales responsibilities for Onshore Line Pipe, reporting to Dubai, and partly supporting my Oil & Gas colleagues, reporting to Boulogne. My core business, however, remains Steam Tubes & Pipes Sales.
I am located in the office of Dodsal, our Indian agent, in Mumbai, who constitutes our sales & marketing force managing day to day activities. Together with them I shape the market strategy based on Vallourec's objectives. Technical support regarding products, grades and applications comes from Vallourec France and Germany.
Could you give us your impression of the current market situation in India regarding Powergen, Oil&Gas and Industry products?
India is the fastest growing large sized economy in the world, with an ever expanding demand for energy, as the purchasing power increases every year. It is also a large market for tubular needs. However, it is also very competitive, as Indians by nature love to bargain! So it is a very challenging and interesting market.
Even though the focus is more on renewables now in India also, coal will remain the mainstay. Opportunities for our advanced grades lie both in the renovation of older power plants and in the new Ultra Super Critical (USC) class power plants under construction and projected for the near future. What happens in India, mainly concerning supply chain and technical developments, has profound implications for the rest of the world. Indeed, most global power EPC majors are invested in India, and solutions developed here by them will be used elsewhere in the world as customers keep looking for more competitive and out of the box solutions. The onshore line pipe market is promising as the Government has brought a new focus to downstream oil & gas activities and fertilizer units, with many projects being planned for the next few years. I think that Vallourec is well positioned to capture some of this potential with our premium & competitive tubular solutions from Europe, Brazil & China.
What is special for the Indian market regarding technical developments and how important are technical seminars for Indian customers?
Technical promotions in the form of seminars or other informational events are extremely important for the local power generation engineers, as they are the main source of learning and of getting confidence in applying advanced tube materials for the first time. Vallourec so far has done a good job in developing the market – for example during the promotion phase for P92 grade – and is regarded by local engineers as an important source of technical information.
Can you give us a recent success story, a project which you are especially proud of?
To me, one of the main successes is the use of P92 grade pipes in the Indian market for USC power plants as a result of our continuous technical lobbying. In addition, it is the very first order for Vallourec in the Indian market for P92 piping for an USC plant from Larsen & Toubro for the NTPC (National Thermal Power Corporation) Khargone project. It is especially important as NTPC is the largest energy conglomerate in the Indian market and the rest of the utilities have a tendency to follow them.
Do you have a special mission and target in your Vallourec sales activities?
There are several targets for the future. My primary aim is to maximize sales volumes in all premium segments coming mainly from Europe and increase the market share with products coming from Vallourec's competitive routes in China and Brazil. To achieve this goal, it will be necessary to identify premium applications and potential as well as promote even more advanced tubular materials like the VM12 in order to highlight Vallourec's technological leadership.