SARK EPC PROJECTS PRIVATE LIMITED – Your Cathodic Protection Partner

Ashvin Patel | Managing Director | SARK EPC Projects Pvt. Ltd
Ashvin Patel | Managing Director | SARK EPC Projects Pvt. Ltd

Metal is the backbone of oil and gas industry. From extraction to purification to supply across the country, entire process is carried out on the foundations of giant webs of well-laid metallic structures.

Corrosion is the biggest enemy of metal. It is the leading cause of many metallic structure’s premature failure. Especially in oil and gas industry such failures are as worst as natural calamities. Nobody wants any unfortunate incident to ever happen and rightly so.

Thus, to completely avoid such cases and extend the service life of equipment and facilities, installation of cathodic protection system and their regular management is the key.

And when it comes to such quality system installation and their lifelong management, giants from oil and gas industry knows that Sark EPC Projects Pvt Ltd is the leading expert with whom they can always partner.

In our search of ‘Best of 5 Oil and Gas Companies’ we met with Mr Ashvin Patel, Managing Director of this Gujrat based company.

In an interview with Insights Success, Mr Patel spoke about cathodic protection systems and about their evolution as a trusted leader in the industry. Below are the highlights from the discussion.

Please brief our audience about Sark EPC, its USPs, and how you are currently positioned as one of the best oil and gas company.

Corrosion is one of the biggest challenges in Oil and Gas Industry. Global cost of corrosion is estimated at about USD 2.5 Trillion which is equivalent to 3 % of Global GDP. With the aim of helping oil and gas industry to combat corrosion losses using Cathodic Protection (CP) Technology, Sark EPC Projects Pvt Ltd was established in 2011.

In less than a decade, we have emerged as a leading Cathodic Protection System provider in India. Now in 2021, we are a team of 150+ with the largest team of CP engineers and technicians in India.

All leading oil and gas companies in India like ONGC, IOCL, HPCL, BPCL, Oil India Limited, etc., are our clients. We have worked on more than 20,000 Km of pipelines and more than 500 tanks and pressure vessels and other marine and offshore structures to contribute to their Cathodic Protection System.

Tell us more about Sark EPC’s offerings and what aspects make it stand out in the cutthroat competition.

Our key offering is Cathodic Protection (CP) system for underground and submerged structures in Oil and Gas industry. CP System is an anti-corrosive system that extends the life of assets like cross-country pipelines, plant piping, storage tanks, vessels, jetty piles, reinforced concrete structures, offshore piers etc.

Very careful design is required for this system so that it is properly sized, selected, and implemented aiming to seamless operation throughout the design life of 30 plus years. Our design team is amongst the strongest and is equipped with the latest CP design modelling software and AC interference mitigation software. This makes us stand apart in the industry. Our clients consider us as the most reliable design team when it comes to very complex and congested plant CP systems with a lot of interference issues.

Please brief us about your journey in the industry and how you have made sure the company excel in its niche.

After graduating in Electrical Engineering, I had started my career in the industry in 1999. After working for a couple of years in India, I moved to Dubai and worked in the Cathodic Protection Industry of the Middle east. With an intense zeal for becoming an entrepreneur, I came back to India and launched this company in 2011.

Being a NACE certified Cathodic Protection Specialist, I was warmly welcomed by the industry, and we started getting sizable projects. I focused on the quality and optimized but accurate design and soon, we became the preferred choice of our clients. We quickly adopted new technologies and trends in the industry. We invested in modelling software, expert employees, and the latest equipment.

As of today, we are an undisputed market leader in the cathodic protection system of Oil and Gas industry. Our clients fully trust us for their most complex oil and gas projects, to protect their valuable underground and submerged assets from corrosion.

Being an experienced leader, share your opinion on how the adoption of modern technologies like AI and ML is impacting the oil and gas industry and how are you adapting to the change?

In our field of Cathodic Protection System, the use of mathematical modelling software is initiated by us, and our clients are getting its fruits. We have improvised the design of the CP system by simulation technology.

Considering the current pandemic, what initial challenges did you face and how did you drive the companies to sustain operations while ensuring the safety of your employees at the same time?

Well, the first phase of the pandemic affected our routine operations. Most of our work is on oil and gas fields like refineries, petrochemical plants, cross country pipelines and marine fields, significant effect was there due to cross border restrictions and public transport issues. Our head office and branch office staff operations also got affected due to the strict lockdown.

However, our team quickly adapted to new normal situations, wherein we got used to work from home (WFH), video conferences (VC), troubleshooting at site through video calling, etc.

At HO, we started working in a scattered manner. At project sites, our site engineers and technicians took utmost care and continued to work on projects of national interest like key refineries and oil and gas pipelines of India.

We kept on educating our staff and their families to take extreme care to avoid getting infected. With our meticulous strategy and the support of each and every member of our team, we succeeded to come out of both the waves of COVID-19 with minimal effects.

As a matter of fact, we took advantage of the challenging situation by getting ourselves trained and sharpened. We bought state-of-the-art design modelling software and our design team got training on it. We are getting fruits now and we are the only company in India having both AC and DC modelling software and a dedicated modelling team.

What would be your advice to the young generation who want to venture into the oil and gas companies?

Well, you will hear a lot of buzz that the oil and gas industry will be affected by electric vehicles in the near future. However, I would say that the oil and gas industry have a bright future for one to two decades before Oil will shift to Chemical and later on Hydrogen is going to be the next talk of the town. The experience acquired in the oil and gas industry will make the young generation “industry ready” for the future of O2C and Hydrogen transition.

 How do you envision scaling your operations and offerings in 2022 and beyond?

We are going to scale up our operations of gas distribution pipeline laying in cities. Looking at huge expansion in the manufacturing sector and Make-In-India policy, natural gas demand is huge. As such, we are going to grow at 20 to 30 % year-on-year basis till 2030.

Please give us a few testimonials of your clients/customers and a list of awards/recognitions that accurately highlight your organization’s position in the market.

We were given the “Excellence Award for Industrial Development” by the Indian Economic Development and Research Association in 2018.

What is your opinion on the adoption of modern technologies in the oil and gas industry?

Modern technologies must be adopted to increase safety, optimize operations, reduce carbon emission and have uninterrupted oil and gas supplies to users.

For example, in the case of Cathodic Protection System of cross-country pipelines, the owner of the pipeline has to carry out periodic monitoring of the pipeline CP system. For that, the operators have to travel all along the pipeline route and take readings at every one km of the pipeline. There are about 45,000 km of oil and gas pipelines in India. Imagine how many operators and vehicles are required to move in the field to do monthly monitoring of this network!

Instead, Remote Monitoring System should be implemented which will reduce the movement of men and vehicles up to a great extent. Digital Twin, IoT, AI, etc., can be a game-changer in the coming years for not only cost-effective operations but also for safe and secure oil and gas operations.

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