This month, we speak to David Lees, our in-house product specialist for Line Pipe. David has over 36 years of experience working in the metal industry with particular expertise in Line Pipe’s application. If you are involved in the specification in oil & gas, marine, subsea or chemical sectors; read on for insights on sustainability, procurement and management of supply chains in high stakes industries and much more:
Given your expertise, how will Kloeckner customers benefit in their Line pipe procurement?
Having worked in the Line pipe industry for many years throughout the UK and the Middle East, supplying pipe, fittings & flanges, I have gained an in-depth knowledge of both the products, mills and also the different sectors that these products are supplied to.
Many of the oil majors have their own approved manufacturers’ lists (AMLs) which for refinery and project requirements, has to be adhered to.
This has meant that our stock selection, not only of sizes and grades, but also the pipe, fittings and flange mills who manufacture our products, have to be carefully selected and approved by our rigorous quality assurance procedures.
We have many of the leading manufacturers partnering with us to support our entry into this market.
There are many challenges, in particular when supporting customers on major pipeline projects. We can support our customers by matching their, very often, technically demanding project requirements and specifications, with the most suitable approved manufacturers.
What’s a crucial factor when procuring Line pipe products?
I would say that the important areas to consider when procuring Line pipe products, is to ensure that the grade, size and wall thickness are suitable for the application. Also, because of the high quality needed, all our material is sourced from the EU and from approved mills/manufacturers who hold approvals with oil & gas, marine, subsea and chemical businesses. And the materials should all be certified to EN 10204 3.1.
Just as importantly, however, is the quality of our service and at Klockner Metals UK we are passionate about offering our customers a market-leading service.
How can sustainability be better addressed in high stakes industries?
Energy companies are committed to the sustainability agenda. They want to make a positive contribution to our society, economy and environment, and a range of initiatives are underway to reduce the sector’s environmental impact.
The energy industry is an important contributor to our economy and society. The country depends on energy and between 2008 and 2010, £17 billion was invested in the UK economy and 45,000 new jobs were created within the energy sector.
Power stations use the heat they produce in the electricity generation process, efficiently. In certain circumstances, heat produced at power stations can be used for other applications, such as in industrial processes or for heating homes and businesses. Under the right conditions, producing useable heat and electricity at the same time, known as Combined Heat and Power, can be more efficient than generating them separately. There are currently over 1,400 CHP schemes in the UK with a total electricity generating capacity of nearly 5.5 gigawatts.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I have been involved in steel distribution to the energy and conveyance markets since starting as an internal salesperson in 1984 with GKN steel stock, who were acquired by the Walker Steel Group in the early 1990s. I think that I have been extremely fortunate to find something that I have been truly passionate about throughout my career and continue to be to this day. Many of the customers that I have supplied have, over the years, become good friends and are a pleasure to work with. Now my three children are grown up, I have a little more time to enjoy personal interests such as playing golf (badly), skiing and going to the gym.
What is it like working at Kloeckner Metals UK?
Since starting with Kloeckner in June 2020, I have been extremely busy setting up a new Line pipe, fittings & flange division. We have an impressive dedicated stocking facility, and a very significant stock offering. With our fleet of 86 vehicles, we can generally deliver anywhere in the UK and Ireland, normally within two days. I think the key to what we have achieved so far has been working with an experienced, motivated and dedicated team in all aspects of the business, from purchasing, quality assurance, operations, marketing and our commercial teams. It has been hard work but also great fun.
What is the most challenging high stakes project you have worked on in your career?
My team and I worked closely with a Global EPC (Engineering Procurement Construction) to supply 5,000 tonnes of project-specific grade-pressure pipe for a prestigious gas storage facility in the UK. This was a very technically demanding project. However, working closely with several world-class pipe mills, we supplied all the material, some of which was coated, fully compliant to the specifications and on time. The buyers who ran the project told me that they drew up a league table of their top performing suppliers and they ranked my team as number one, which gave us all a huge amount of pride.
In your words why source from Kloeckner?
Kloeckner metals is a truly Global steel distributer with sales of €6.3 billion and shipping a staggering 5.6 million tonnes worldwide (2019). We work in partnership with many of the world’s key manufacturing mills, which means that we buy the highest quality materials at competitive prices. Our people are key and are dedicated to finding the best possible supply solutions for our customers.
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