Sibu boy makes good in oil and gas sector

Pipeline project at Sarawak Shell E6 Field (offshore).

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FOR 25 YEARS, his job as a senior engineer in quality assurance and control, maintenance, and construction took Sumping Angut to various onshore and offshore oil and gas facilities around the world.

He was sufficiently contented with his career until one day in 2015, he saw an opportunity to venture into a business providing treatment for corrosion, a “never-ending problem” in the oil and gas industry.

What motivated him were two factors, he now recalls.

First, the numerous business outfits—either homegrown or foreign—which he came across in his course of work that had started small but had grown into large, successful entities.

“I was particularly inspired by this Sarawak-based company which had a very humble beginning as a workshop doing small-scale welding and fabrication work but had progressed to become listed on the second board of Bursa Malaysia,” he says.

Sumping Angut

Second, his own wealth of experience and exposure to the intricacies and nitty-gritty of industry.

“It seemed like it would have been a ‘waste’ if I didn’t make full use of all the 25 years of experience and expertise that I have garnered in the oil and gas industry to venture into the sector,” adds Sumping, a graduate in Marine Technology (Mechanical Engineering) from University Technology of Malaysia (UTM).

A modest start: confronting challenges

Sumping and a partner, Tan Ming Han, subsequently set up Integrity Synergy Solutions Sdn Bhd (ISSSB) in Miri on February 13, 2015 to provide short- and long-term solutions to problems related to corrosion and rust on pipes, equipment, machinery and structures at oil and gas facilities.

With a paid-up capital of RM100,000 and staffed by seven other management and technical personnel, the company had a modest start. Initially it provided trading services to major oil and gas companies in Malaysia before venturing into its core business of corrosion wrapping and coating solutions, using Stopaq products.

General view of ISSSB Office in Miri.

Today, ISSSB’s business has diversified to include Professional Corrosion Prevention, Anti-active Corrosion Protection, Contamination Solutions, and Protection Services through Corrosion Protection Solutions and Sealant Technology.

The company now boasts an expanded list of clientele that ranges from oil and gas, refinery, petrochemicals, marine, and power generation companies to flooring and food and beverage concerns.

Among ISSSB’s major clients are Petronas and Shell. Along with its business growth, the company has also strengthened its workforce from seven to 20, with more than 90 per cent of the manpower from Sarawak.

Early challenges

“In the beginning, it was very difficult for ISSSB to promote and sell Stopaq products, because the brand wasn’t known in Malaysia at that time,” Sumping says.

“The other main challenge for small companies like ours was to compete with larger, stronger, and more well-known companies, because of their financial strength and existing complete standards accreditation or certification. These credentials would give them an advantage to win tenders,” he explained.

Completed Stopaq wrapping installation on pipe support clamp at Petronas offshore platform.

However, Sumping is not one who easily gives up. He forged ahead, constantly looking for opportunities and solutions to remain competitive in the market.

“In ISSSB, we are on a constant lookout for new and reliable products from manufacturers in Malaysia and abroad to introduce to existing and potential clients. We cannot rely on just one single product to run and continue our business.”

Reasons for success: Quality and Safety

One of the main success factors of ISSSB is that Sumping and Tan are both strong advocates of developing and empowering their staff.

“We provide our staff with training and empowerment especially for our engineering and technical team. We want to ensure that all of them are qualified and trained to carry out quality work on-site as required by our clients and contract requirements.”

Completed Stopaq wrapping installation on offshore riser pipe at Sarawak Shell offshore platform.

The company is also proud of its achievements in terms of work and occupational safety.

Since its establishment in 2015, ISSSB has accumulated more than 60,000 safe man-hours without lost time injury (LTI).

“Over the years, we have progressively nurtured a culture that places great importance on excellence in Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) to provide a safe workplace and environment for all our employees at all of our facilities.”

Looking ahead: vision for the company

Looking ahead, Sumping aspires to continue growing and expanding his company’s business.

“In embracing the ever-changing and rapid advancement in technology, my vision is to bring the latest viscoelastic corrosion prevention, anti-active corrosion protection, contamination solutions, and protection services as well as innovative sealant technology to Malaysia and beyond. We are looking to do this through effective affiliation programmes with our international and local expert partners,” he shares.

Completed Stopaq wrapping installation on onshore pipeline at MCOT Terminal.

Aside from securing new large-scale projects or contracts with major oil and gas companies in Malaysia, ISSSB is also striving for ISO quality management standards (QMS) recognition and certification.

“To make ISSSB more competitive, it must be equipped with an ISO quality standard certificate such as ISO 9001: QMS, because this certificate is one of the most important documents for tender bidding exercises.

“In the next 20 years, I would like to see ISSSB grow to become one of the largest Dayak-owned companies in Malaysia. As one of the directors of this company, I really hope that I can bring and lead ISSSB to achieve success at a higher level.

“Success doesn’t always come easy. The important thing is to continue this journey and not give up on your dream,” he concluded. — DayakDaily