Aberdeen-based engineering and oil services giant Wood plc said it has been appointed by the World Bank to “assess the potential of shifting freight movements in the Western Balkans to alternate forms of transport including rail and inland waterways.”
Wood also announced the appointment of Paul Leonard as president of operations services in its Americas business to succeed Tim O’Leary who is retiring from the company after 20 years.
Wood, one of Scotland’s biggest companies, employs 60,000 people in 60 countries and recently acquired rival Amec Foster Wheeler.
“In the Western Balkans region, most freight is currently transported via roads that are susceptible to climatic events, resulting in delays at crossings,” said Wood.
“As well as industrial output, communities in the region are also increasingly reliant on this transport network to carry out their daily activities.
“The delivery team will blend specialist skills from Wood’s climate resilience, transport, economics and geographic information system (GIS) mapping teams.
“Alongside consultation with local freight associations, Wood will undertake a financial and socio-economic environmental feasibility assessment of several inter-modal terminal investments.
“This assignment builds on an existing study that Wood is carrying out on behalf of the World Bank, that considers the impact and severity of climatic events and natural disasters on the resilience of the strategic road network in Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.
“The outputs from the project are being used to show policy and decision-makers the key priority roads that require further resilience investment.”
Rob Brown, president of Wood’s environment & infrastructure solutions business in Europe, said: “Across the Western Balkans region, much of the transport infrastructure is ageing and struggling to cope with population growth, weather related events, and the increased freight volumes using the network.
“With budgets constrained, any investment needs to be targeted in the right areas.
“Wood is delighted to work with the World Bank on these studies which will ultimately help to improve trade and economic performance and make a real difference to the communities in this region.”
Romain Pison, transport lead at the World Bank, added: ‘“Through the previous resilience study, Wood demonstrated a real understanding of the serious issues affecting the strategic regional road network and a pragmatic, robust approach to understanding pinch points on the network.
“We now look forward to utilising their expertise as we extend our assessment to the wider freight intermodal network.”
On the Paul Leonard appointment, Wood said: “Leonard will be responsible for the company’s business line across the US lower 48, Alaska, Canada, Trinidad & Tobago, Brazil, Mexico and Guyana.”
Andrew Stewart, CEO of Wood’s Asset Solutions Americas business said: “We are delighted to welcome Paul to the executive team in our Americas business.
“This is a great internal success story for our business and illustrates our investment in our people to realize leadership succession.
“Paul is a seasoned energy industry professional with a proven track record in the delivery of major projects and has vast experience in the US shale sector, which is a key growth market for Wood.
“His appointment marks our strategic intent to capture further growth opportunities in our shale services business across key US basins; bringing shale facilities, pipeline construction and operations and maintenance services to our clients in the seven major U.S. plays.
“He will also lead the continued expansion of our onshore and offshore upstream oil and gas and brownfield modifications services.”
Leonard joined Wood’s Eastern Canada business in 2014 as director of operations servicing multiple clients and projects in Newfoundland, most notably ExxonMobil’s Hebron project.
He has more than 18 years of industry experience, with 14 years spent at ExxonMobil where he began his career as a project engineer before going on to lead major projects and world-class engineering and operations teams.
Relocating from St John’s, Newfoundland, Leonard will be based in Houston, Texas, in his new role.