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PT&P History: The First Thirty-Five Years


Index | Acknowledgements | Milestones | Introduction | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Read More


Chapter 10: Making History and Building Toward a Future

During Piping Technology & Products' third decade in business, the company continued to build on its previous success, based upon the fundamental business principles of its founder, Durga Agrawal. With this focus on its core values and on its core businesses, PT&P achieved a prominent position as one of the leading firms in the global piping industry. The company became increasingly known for its expertise as a "go-to" resource, for its ability to provide emergency services, and as a one-stop shop for its customers. By 2010, PT&P's growing prominence in the industry provided opportunities for Agrawal to use his experience as a businessman to help influence public policy and also gave him opportunities to provide support for many charitable and philanthropic endeavors. Agrawal always believed in the concept of putting profits back into his business and in giving back to the community. This adherence to sound business principles and his own personal beliefs helped PT&P achieve a level of success during its third decade that might have seemed unimaginable to the young man from Lakhanpur, India, when he first arrived in Houston in 1968.

By continuing to follow a philosophy of providing the best quality products, giving outstanding customer service, and maintaining a diverse product line, PT&P enjoyed great success during good economic periods and maintained a steady customer base during periods when the economy slumped. With a full array of pipe supports and engineered products and a range of value added services, PT&P developed the ability to shift product lines and quickly became adept at entering new avenues within the industry which significantly broadened the company's customer base. As Durga Agrawal stated in an interview, "Corporate diversification has always been a priority to us…while many of our competitors failed, we not only survived, but thrived because of our corporate structure."

Much of PT&P's success came from providing products to its traditional customers in the oil and petrochemical industries, including Shell, Exxon Mobil, Conoco Phillips, Citgo, Valero, and DuPont. Refinery projects such as the two giant Reliance projects in Jamnagar, India, brought a new level of business and success to the company. Working with the world's largest engineering and construction companies—KBR, Bechtel, Parsons, and others—kept PT&P on the cutting edge of the international piping business. In 2001, PT&P became heavily engaged in providing products for new natural gas–powered merchant electric power plants with its first Calpine contract. During the ensuing years, the company supplied pipe supports and services to Black & Veatch and Bechtel for power plant projects throughout the U.S., Canada, and in Mexico. Later, PT&P's expertise in producing insulated pipe supports led to new opportunities in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry with projects for SNC-Lavalin, CBI, Bechtel and Jacobs Engineering. Customers continued to return to PT&P, and in some cases provided special recognition of the company's reliability and capability as a major supplier (Bechtel Power Corporation, 2002, Calpine), and expanding their business relationship with blanket purchase or umbrella-type agreements.

Providing Emergency Customer Service

PT&P's sterling reputation for customer service continued to bring old clients back when they had emergency situations or needed to replace aging components in their piping systems. One example of this high level of service occurred in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. "Many of our customers had a lot of damage and we did a lot of emergency work for them," said Durga Agrawal. "We were out there taking care of them, making products day and night, weekends, Saturdays, and Sundays. We had a crew working here to get those plants up and going." Hurricanes cause massive damage from wind, flooding, and the powerful storm surge. When piping is damaged or destroyed, whether in refineries, power plants or petrochemical complexes, new pipe supports, expansion joints and other products are critical elements to completing the repairs and getting the plants back in operation. "Piping is a very critical part of all these plants," said Agrawal, "and we take care of those kinds of emergencies." Hurricanes, including Katrina in 2005, Rita in 2006, and Ike in 2008, caused tremendous damage to refineries and other plants along the Gulf Coast, but fortunately PT&P's facility in Houston survived these storms with little damage to the buildings or equipment. Thus, the company was able to respond quickly to requests from its customers for emergency services. The company's willingness to take extraordinary measures to help during emergency situations further enhanced its reputation for good customer service. This, along with its substantial inventory, a diverse line of quality products, and the expertise the company developed during its thirty-plus years in business continued to bring new customers to PT&P, including some of the largest contracts in the history of the company.

Motiva—Port Arthur, Texas

The first of these historic projects came in 2008 with the beginning of construction on the expansion of the Motiva Refinery in Port Arthur, Texas. The refinery first opened in 1903 as Texaco's original refinery, known simply as the Port Arthur Refinery. In January 1989, Texaco formed a joint venture, Star Enterprise, with Saudi Refining Inc. (SRI), an affiliate of Saudi Aramco. As part of the agreement, SRI acquired a 50 percent interest in the Port Arthur refinery. In July 1998, Star Enterprise and Shell Oil Company created a new joint venture, Motiva Enterprises LLC. The new company operated primarily in the eastern and southern United States with over 7,000 Shell gas stations and three refineries, including Port Arthur, having a combined capacity of 740,000 barrels per day. Just three years later, in 2001, Chevron acquired Texaco and sold that company's holdings in Motiva to Shell the following year. Motiva, now under the joint ownership of Shell and Saudi Aramco, continues to operate the Port Arthur Refinery.


F-Type Variable Springs for the Motiva Refinery Project


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