Broadspectrum: A new beginning for Transfield

Broadspectrum Chief Executive, Resources and Industrial, Joe Sofra.

Broadspectrum Chief Executive, Resources and Industrial, Joe Sofra.

Broadspectrum has had a long history with the Australian oil and gas industry under its former name, Transfield Services. Gas Today speaks with Chief Executive, Resources and Industrial, Joe Sofra about the company’s rebranding as Broadspectrum and what he sees as key opportunities ahead for the industry.

A volatile market, brought about by the fall of oil prices in late 2014, has seen a number of companies adapt to a rapidly changing environment. Broadspectrum, formerly Transfield Services, is one such company.

With more than 20 years’ experience in the oil and gas industry, Mr Sofra has been tasked with leading the company in providing high value services for the resources and industrial sectors.

What’s in a name

Through contracts with the likes of Woodside, Santos, QGC, Origin Energy, ExxonMobil, Shell and Caltex, Broadspectrum has established itself as a leading service provider in Australia’s oil and gas industry under the Transfield banner.

In light of this reputation, and with the risk of a rebrand diminishing market recognition, Mr Sofra says the name change, formally approved at the company’s annual general meeting on 28 October 2015 feels like a natural progression.

“In terms of the company and its strategy, there’s no change,” Mr Sofra says.

“In actual fact it feels like the exclamation point on the strategy that we’ve had in place for the past three years.”

Having shared its name with Transfield Holdings as a subsidiary since 2001, Transfield Services was served with a notice of termination of the right to use the Transfield name and logo in February 2015, giving the company 12 months to rebrand.

Mr Sofra says a natural parting was initiated by the two groups pursuing different opportunities, with Transfield Holdings’ decision to sell down its majority shareholding in 2014 being a natural point for a shift from the brand.

“As we’ve reconfigured our business, Transfield Holdings has pursued their opportunities and we’ve pursued ours, and there’s been a natural parting of the ways,” he says.

“When Transfield Holdings elected to sell down their shareholding in Transfield, it was just a natural point where the strong association of brand needed to separate.”

As for why the name Broadspectrum was settled on, Mr Sofra says it was simple.

“Broadspectrum resonates with us because of the diversity of our service offerings.

“If you look at the organisation, we have a lot of sector and service diversity, and the health of the organisation is driven by both of those factors.”

Staying on track

Having worked with major industry clients like Woodside and ExxonMobil for almost 20 years, Broadspectrum’s main strategy is to develop long-term working relationships with operators. This means providing counsel during times of turbulence.

“You’ve got to think about where a business is going to evolve, where there will be challenges and where you think you can add value,” he says.

“We talk about wanting to provide essential services to the customer, and what that means for risk.

“You’ve also got to think about what’s essential for the customer and how that changes with time.”

Mr Sofra says the need to understand a customer’s priorities and ensure an alignment between respective incentives is essential.

“Communication and stakeholder engagement is absolutely critical.

“One of the things we do quite a bit of is continually interrogate those incentives, making sure that they are aligned. If they’re not, we challenge ourselves on what we have to do.”

Filtering the noise

Given the current volatility in the market, it can be challenging to make sure those critical communication channels are upheld. Mr Sofra says this is the time that a service provider really needs to step up as a partner.

“Many of our customers are rapidly re-adapting their businesses to what will be a sustained lower commodity price than where we were two years ago. Whatever the level of recovery is going to be in the oil price, they are re-baselining their business.”

Mr Sofra says Broadspectrum is approaching this outlook with two key strategies in mind.

“One is certainly that we need to be able to respond in the near-term.

“From the perspective of understanding what’s driving our customers and making sure that we come up with the best proposition that preserves value for us, as well as being able to deliver what they need.”

Secondly, Mr Sofra is taking a slightly medium-term view towards retaining market share and being prepared to work with customers in challenging times.

“I think it’s about having an open conversation with the customer, and coming back with solutions that meet their immediate business proposition that also helps them look beyond the current point in the cycle.”

Where to from here

As a number of major projects transition into operations, Mr Sofra says there are a range of opportunities on hand for those in the service sector.

“You need organisations that can work in that space, who are innovative in their thinking.

“That’s where our pedigree comes into it. We’re broad and diverse enough in our service types to actually put together some pretty innovative packages for customers that can link ourselves to the achievement of their production targets, and at the same time help eliminate costs from their business.

“Wanting to support operations is really our bread and butter, and so in some regards peak activity is approaching us rather than having past us.”

However, Mr Sofra says it can’t be more of the same kind of solution in going from a much smaller asset base to a larger invested asset base.

“In many regards the challenge for an organisation like us, is to help those customers not only achieve their production assurance, but also how they materially start to drive the cost of those operations down.

“As for where other opportunities are, the onshore environment and the CSG environment provide different technical challenges, but the need to look for productivity efficiency improvements, particularly in the upstream environment, is going to be essential to helping that industry be competitive, and where we believe we have the competitive advantage in working with industry to identify those solutions.”

With efficiency measures becoming increasingly important as clients focus on cutting costs, the ability to identify areas for improvement will remain a key competitive advantage in the industry.

TIMELINE

2001
Transfield Holdings’ operations and maintenance division, Transfield Services, is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange as a separate entity. Transfield Holdings remains a key stakeholder in the company, licencing it with the right to use the Transfield name

September 2014
Transfield Holdings sells its 11.3 per cent share in Transfield Services following a strategic review of its portfolio, ending its investment in Transfield Services

February 2015
Transfield Services issued 12 months’ notice of termination of the right to use the Transfield name

October 2015
Broadspectrum approved as new name at annual general meeting

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