Doosan Babcock France bets on the energy industry in Provence

success story
Doosan Babcock France bets on the energy industry in Provence
26 January 2017 / Implantez, Générale, ITER, Energies
The firm continues to sign local contracts

Just over a year after creating its French subsidiary, Doosan Babcock is thrilled to have chosen Aix-en-Provence to establish its headquarters. This energy-oriented, Korean-British engineering firm continues to sign local contracts in the energy sector (nuclear, thermal, renewable) and is betting on the industrial companies located around Étang de Berre. Provence Promotion supported the opening of the French branch from the start and is helping it grow.
Damien Desprez may have been working on his own in October 2015, when he founded Doosan Babcock France, a subsidiary of the leading South Korean energy company, DHI (Doosan Heavy Industries), but now he heads up a team of 10 based in Provence, three of whom are detached full-time to ITER in Saint-Paul-Lez-Durance. The young business took advantage of the sage advice given by Pays Aix Développement and Provence Promotion in its search for office space and talent recruitment.

EDF's CIPN (*) in Marseille and the Cadarache CEA (*), along with the construction of the ITER, an experimental thermonuclear reactor and the biggest works project in the region, were determining factors in the decision to set up shop in the Duranne business park in Aix-en-Provence, where the company had 250 m2 of office space.

"I am very satisfied with our location in Aix. We are working for ITER to conduct research and assist with the design and construction of various components to be used in this experimental machine designed to harness energy from fusion," boasts Damien Desprez, CEO of Doosan Babcock France.
For the South Korean group, the extension of the service life of France's nuclear power plants is a formidable business opportunity. "France has 58 nuclear production units. EDF, which wants to extend the life of these plants, can pull it off if it does the work," says Damien Desprez.

Trains and planes, sea and sun...

Now under contract with EDF, he has also high hopes for the new energy sub-sectors being explored by the companies located around Étang de Berre. Doosan Babcock also deals in oil and gas, thermal energy and renewable energy. "We could take advantage of valuable opportunities associated with the refineries and related facilities, and with the Arcelor Mittal steel plant," the CEO adds.

This is not the first southern foray for Doosan Babcock. In 2012, it won a contract with E.ON to convert biomass from one of the units at the Provence Thermal power station in Gardanne. Indeed, the group has 25 years of experience with this type of conversion (Tilbury, Ironbridge and Drax in Britain; Atikokan in Canada). This project, which was once managed from the United Kingdom, is now overseen in Aix.

Damien Desprez appreciates the proximity of the Marseille-Provence airport, as well as the TGV high-speed train station in Aix, which is just 10 minutes from the office. After all, this executive takes off quite frequently to South Korea, Great Britain and Paris.

With plans to hire on the horizon, Damien Desprez is counting on the abundant sunshine to attract talent. Isn't that a minor detail? Not at all. "We recruit from a pool of hard-to-convince international profiles. The particularly pleasant setting of southern France is a major asset and can be a decisive factor in our overall appeal," insists the head of this engineering office. The Doosan Group employs 41,000 people around the world. Its European subsidiaries are located in the United Kingdom, Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic.

(*) CIPN: Nuclear Fleet Engineering Center; CEA: Atomic Energy Commission.