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Operational excellence is in our DNA: interview with Marco Villa

Marco Villa, Chief Operating Officer

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As Chief Operating Officer, Marco Villa is a key player in everything Technip Energies does. He is passionate about deploying the pioneering spirit and one company mindset to drive the energy transition, while ensuring that Technip Energies’ people are empowered to be the best they can be. In this interview he explains his vision and hopes for the future.

Q. Achieving operational excellence is something that is fundamental to you and to Technip Energies. How do you continue to achieve that?

Marco Villa (MV): It’s very important that we succeed in this. My job is to make sure that everyone has the means and the resources to do that. We are well respected in the marketplace for our strong delivery. We are able to bring multi-center execution to projects and that means we can mobilize all our resources and our very best competencies. We approach every project as one company and have a strong focus on a robust execution plan. We have high quality standards and strong systems for management and control of that execution.

Because we have the right people and recognize that they are our key asset, we can make these things happen.

Q. Surely it is a constant challenge to maintain operational excellence?

MV: Of course, you can’t expect any large project not to have challenges. The important thing is how you deal with them. We continually analyze the execution, anticipate potential issues and put red flags in place if we need to. We also have a culture of transparency and discuss even small issues at our regular project management reviews. With this approach, we immediately work to find solutions in early stages and that avoids escalation into a bigger issue later. 

Q. While Technip Energies is hugely committed to having a one company mindset, you are a very diverse business in terms of people, contracts, market segments and geography. So how do you meet this objective?

MV: Mindset is something that is independent from organization structure. It’s an attitude. It’s about looking at all the assets and expertise across the company to find the best solutions. Whether it’s at business development, proposal, or execution phase, we have to get it right at every stage. That’s a key factor and it’s the reason we have more and more multi-center project execution. With this approach and by ensuring that we use the same tools and methods worldwide, we can really combine all our best competencies. 

Our track-record is full of examples where we’ve done this, where different parts of business are involved. Our offices in Claremont, California or Zoetermeer in the Netherlands can be at the heart of technology. Our Paris and Rome operating centers bring their expertise in terms of large EPC projects both for onshore and offshore projects. Proximity to our clients is very important and we always involve our operating center closest to our clients’ facilities. We draw upon the best expertise of our operating centers to offer a multi-center execution scheme.

Q. The energy transition journey is hugely important to Technip Energies. How is this progressing?

MV: Last year, we announced our framework for the energy transition, based on four pillars: LNG, Sustainable Chemistry, Decarbonization and Carbon-free energy solutions. This is the prism by which we determine the best way of helping our clients meet their targets. 

The transition market isn’t as well organized or regularized as traditional oil and gas markets, so it’s up to us to approach our clients, put our ideas on the table and develop a joint roadmap.

Blending our wealth of expertise, competencies, technologies, services, manufacturing and fabrication skills allows us to be pro-active at a very early stage and propose the best way forward to our clients.

Pioneering spirit and innovation are also strongly embedded in our culture. For instance, about 10 years ago, we were early to the market in executing biorefineries and delivering some of the biggest ones in the world. Over the last 20 years, we have improved the efficiency of ethylene plants by reducing CO2 emissions by 30 percent. And, of course, we have been active in liquefied natural gas (LNG) since the 1960s, and we have delivered 50 blue hydrogen projects as of today.

Q. You’ve spoken earlier about the importance of Technip Energies’ people. Just how central are your employees to your success and your future, and what can you offer them in return?

MV: Our people are vital - they make things happen and are particularly important as we are an asset-light, brain-intensive company. As a global business, we can deploy our people’s capabilities no matter where they are based. And we are focused on offering them a clear career path as well as continuous expertise and knowledge development. 

Q. Safety is one of Technip Energies’ foundational beliefs and something you will never compromise on. You have an excellent record in this area. What do you have to do in order to maintain that?

MV: We are very disciplined about this and we do perform well. On two projects in India we have achieved 18 million manhours without a lost time incident (LTI), in the Middle-East, we have reached 36 million manhours without LTI and on a fabrication yard in China we have recently reached 10 million hours. We have a strong safety culture embedded in everyone.

Of course LTIs can happen, but when they do, we have a very robust system for investigation so that we can understand what happened. We immediately follow this up with action for remediation and carry out a separate review of the project. Whenever necessary, our top management, including our CEO Arnaud Pieton, is involved.

Q. Finally, a bit of crystal ball gazing. Technip Energies is a new company. Where do you think it will be in 10 years’ time?

MV: We will keep building on our strengths in project delivery, technology and innovation to tackle emerging markets. In the future, we’ll be offering even more technology, products, services and digital tools to accelerate the journey to a low-carbon society. That will make us increasingly appealing to young talents, who in turn are key to bringing in fresh ideas and new perspectives. 

Conquering challenges has been our mindset for a long time, and the energy transition has given us new opportunities to put this in practice and help our clients towards a more sustainable future. 

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