Global engineering and construction powerhouse Clough sets up shop stateside
Established in Perth, Australia, in 1919, Clough is a go-to engineering and construction partner for the global energy sector. Employing over 2,000 workers in Oceania, Asia, Africa, and the UK, the firm planted roots in the North American market with the 2014 acquisition of CH-IV International, a leading LNG specialist, with offices in Baltimore and Houston, followed the next year by purchasing an ownership stake in Calgary-based Enercore Projects. In early 2019 Clough purchased the Gulf Coast assets of a reputable engineering & construction company which solidified Clough as a reputable engineering, procurement, construction, & commissioning (EPCC) company in North America.
“Houston was the obvious choice of location, not only due to most of our international clients having their headquarters here, but also because it’s the energy capital of the world. The favorable political climate, the cheap feedstock generated by the shale revolution and the well-developed logistical infrastructure make the Gulf Coast the perfect location for multiple oil and gas developments,” explained Martin Siddle, the company’s newly appointed EVP of North America.
“Houston was also the logical location to acquire a reputable business to establish a premium full asset life cycle contracting solution in the North America region,” he added. “In early 2019 we completed the acquisition of a Gulf Coast EPC business which complements our existing CH-IV and Canadian business units. We now have a Houston-based team of engineering, supply chain, construction, and commissioning experts providing full-service EPCC capabilities for projects in the petrochemical, chemical, refining, LNG, fertilizer, water/wastewater, and midstream markets.”
The century-old firm lives to challenge the status quo, Siddle noted, leveraging a history of delivering complex projects in Australia and Papua New Guinea to become an industry standard bearer. Not only did Clough construct Perth’s first major bridge, they’ve executed major onshore and offshore oil and gas developments in remote areas of Australia, and extremely complex infrastructure in PNG. “During its history, Clough’s principles and culture have not changed. We strive for the best in everything we do and always find solutions when plans need to be challenged,” he said. “Our approach and culture are recognized by our clients and peers that see Clough as a trusted partner in developing challenging projects.”
Clough views the North American market as both strategic and long term. Over the next several years, revenues from the North American business are projected to be 50% of the overall company. Those projections are coming closer to reality with the recent award of a $620 million plus EPC project in Pasadena, Texas. “We are extremely excited about the opportunities here in North America and are proud to call Houston our North America headquarters. The relationships, capabilities, and services developed across North America will be easily exported to global projects, ultimately supporting the overall growth of Clough as a global engineering and construction company,” Siddle said.
That robust growth is underpinned by a mission to create novel solutions to extremely challenging issues. According to Alisha Moxon, North America Group
Director Supply Chain & Commercial, “strong, well-defined teams keep Clough on the front foot. We address industry challenges by driving each employee to be courageous so we can push the boundaries of what is possible and going where others perhaps may not.”
“Innovation at Clough is focused on improving the way we do business, upskilling our people, driving cost efficiencies, and ensuring we are delivering the very best services and solutions to our clients. We understand that to be better, we may need to do things differently and explore new horizons. The most exciting part of innovation at Clough is that there are no limits with the opening of new frontiers and ways of working, building culture and capability, giving our people the chance to truly make a difference. Leveraging Clough’s existing processes for issues management, lessons learned, HAZOB and continuous improvement, and innovation provides a channel for ideas to be raised, developed, and implemented to transform our business.”
The company’s global innovation team comprises a diverse selection of cross-functional Innovation Champions representing all business and project locations. “The team promotes innovation in day-to-day activities by leading by example and driving a culture of innovation and are the point of contact for individuals wishing to submit an idea. The team filters and manages idea submissions, promptly responds to ideas raised, assists with preparing business cases for CEO approval, and measures the benefits of innovation by celebrating success and sharing learnings,” Moxon explained.
“With encouragement and support from our EVP, Martin Siddle, we are proactively driving the innovation culture in North America such that everyone feels empowered to create change and be courageous.”
Consider Target Zero, Clough’s forward-thinking approach to health, safety, security, and environment (HSSE). As Dan Carney, the company’s director of HR, described it, “The goal of Clough Target Zero tools is to execute scopes of work without harm to people, environment, or processes by engaging all employees involved in a project with active participation in our HSSE programs. Some of the tools used are job hazard analysis tools, which identify the job activities, job risks, and mitigation strategies.”
From personal HSSE risk assessments and observations completed by all crew members to extremely specific loss prevention audits, reams of HSSE data are collected on the Target Zero app database and displayed on dashboards in real time to maintain proactive risk management across the board.
HSSE director Hank Leach added, “HSSE integrates with all levels of the Clough business model. We start at the early tender phase to assess the HSSE risks for each potential project. HSSE risks are identified and mitigation strategies are developed and implemented through the entire project life cycle.
“We provide a service to execution that continually assesses the identified risks, mitigates for effectiveness, and remains vigilant for opportunities to adjust and improve wherever practical by providing the best level of service possible so that Clough can continue to deliver zero-harm projects.”
Supply Chain Strength
Given their global footprint, managing Clough’s supply chain operations requires a deft hand and tight organization. As Moxon noted, “Our global SCM activities are driven by a consolidated standard which establishes the performance requirement benchmarks for all activities and administration. Enforcing such a standard globally drives a controlled, consistent, and efficient methodology across the business units. Sitting importantly underneath the global standard are regionally developed procedures and tools, being enablers implemented to deliver successful projects, and drive compliance to the standard.”
Their Clough Supplier Connect (CSC) vendor management technology package is in the operation stage and already real benefits are being realized from its implementation. The consolidated solution eliminates multiple disconnected systems, streamlines complex vendor pre-qualification, and creates proactive vendor management, sourcing, and contract management processes into one complete integrated platform. Said Moxon, “Implementing this solution was a key part of our strategic vendor network plan in North America that we are configuring to specifically meet our regional business requirements and objectives.”
The vendor network plan is intended to “make our business operations more streamlined and flexible in being able to service our clients, but will also change the philosophy to take our relationships with vendors to be a network as opposed to a chain,” Moxon said.
“We also acknowledge and respect that vendors play a critical role in Clough successfully servicing our clients, so we are carefully identifying and engaging with vendors who are aligned with our visions and goals to be part of the long-term Clough North America network of successful projects.
“Our global footprint enables us to leverage existing long term and successful relationships from key vendors, who also may have a strong global footprint,” she said. The strategy enables Clough to leverage their global spending capabilities and develop global master service agreements where they make the most sense, eliminating the need for administering timely and costly bid processes in each of our regions.
A big next step for Clough’s North American operations is to become an employer of choice. “It’s an exciting challenge,” HR leader Carney stressed. “Though Clough is a 100-year-old company with a great reputation and track record, it’s not yet a recognizable brand in North America. This amazing opportunity gives us the chance to draw from all the best practices to which we have been exposed in the past and to establish an engaged culture, a solid infrastructure and agile processes.
“Coming to work for Clough is a great career choice because the work setting is in a technology, project-driven business where an individual has the opportunity early on to be involved in significant, impactful work and to progress in their skills and in their career at an accelerated pace. More importantly, Clough is a company that values, empowers and engages employees, and takes great pride in doing what is right.” To us, that’s the best of everything.
Clough is a global pioneering engineering and construction company established in 1919 in Perth, Western Australia. Clough delivers high performing assets for the infrastructure, resources, and energy industries underpinned by a dedication to problem solving and getting the job done safely and efficiently. Today, Clough manages a global workforce of over 2,000 people from operating centers across USA, Canada, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Asia, Africa, and the UK. Our team strives for the best in everything, setting new safety and performance benchmarks every single day.
9800 Richmond Ave.
Houston, TX 77042