Worley seeks to generate 75% of its revenue from sustainability-related work in five years, CEO Chris Ashton told investors in early May.
Image courtesy Worley
In a year of change for the company, Australia-based engineer-contractor Worley’s net income dropped dramatically in fiscal 2023 to $23.8 million, down from $110.8 million the previous year, it said.
The company had revenue of $7.29 billion, compared to $6.25 billion in the prior year, the company reported on Aug. 23.
Worley attributed the drop in net income mainly to the June sale of its refinery maintenance business, which was done to improve profit margins, cut debt and advance the company’s goal of shifting away from fossil fuel-related work.
Worley lost $154.6 million on the sale, the company stated, which helped cut its statutory net profit after tax (NPATA), excluding amortization, to $67 million. That hybrid calculation differs from net income, which includes operating expenses but also tax savings from debt. 
The result “reflects the strong growth we’ve delivered and the momentum building around sustainability-related work,” says CEO Chris Ashton.
Publicly traded, Worley (WOR-ASX) ranks at No. 7 on ENR’s most recent list of the Top 225 Global Design firms, reporting $4.95 billion in 2022 global engineering revenue, of which nearly $4.27 billion is outside Australia. Its rank is No. 52 on ENR’s latest Global Contractors list with $1.9 billion in 2022 revenue, all beyond that nation.
In June, ENR reported that Worley seeks to gain 75% of revenue from sustainability-related business within five years. Ashton noted that the firm is about two-thirds through a three-year estimated $100-million corporate investment in hiring, training, technology and other strategies to boost the transition.
“We’re already seeing that investment pay dividends in positioning us with the markets that we’re in and allowing us to capture work that we may not have been able to without that transformation investment,” he said at the time.
The firm and Princeton University’s Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment announced on Aug. 29 what they described as “a new action plan for the renewable hydrogen sector.” 
Their analysis examines the infrastructure delivery challenge to reach net-zero operational carbon by mid-century, including an eight-to-12-fold increase in global electrolyzer manufacturing capacity, four-fold boost in annual capacity additions for offshore wind and a 35% hike in desalination capacity by 2030. 
The report finds that traditional project delivery methods “will be simply too slow to deliver the infrastructure needed,” but with broad adoption of the approach by infrastructure participants, “delivery times could potentially be reduced by 40% while maintaining a disciplined approach on investment.” 
Initiatives proposed include government underwriting of demand, streamlined permitting, more standardization in the hydrogen industry and widespread industry sharing of information and best practices, which Worley and Princeton say “will require a shift” in current approaches.
“We know that the desire to deliver on net zero is strong across the industry, but that needs to be backed up by a pragmatic plan to get there,” says Sue Brown, Worley executive group director.
Announcements by European and other energy firms earlier this year to invest more in core oil and gas production amid rising prices should not be seen as a shift in the energy sector’s long-term low-carbon commitment, but it presents a more complex communication task, Ashton told renewable energy sector publication Recharge in March. He termed it “a very, very challenging message” to manage.

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Deputy Editor Richard Korman helps run ENR’s business and legal news and investigations, selects ENR’s commentary and oversees editorial content on ENR.com. In 2023 the American Society of Business Publication Editors awarded Richard the Stephen Barr Award, the highest honor for a single feature story or investigation, for his story on the aftermath of a terrible auto crash in Kentucky in 2019, and in 2015 the American Business Media awarded him the Timothy White Award for investigations of surety fraud and workplace bullying. A member of Investigative Reporters and Editors, Richard has been a fellow on drone safety with the McGraw Center for Business Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. Richard’s freelance writing has appeared in the Seattle Times, the New York Times, Business Week and the websites of The Atlantic and Salon.com. He admires construction projects that finish on time and budget, compensate all team members fairly and record zero fatalities or serious injuries.

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