In a bid to expand its global presence, Worley Group Ltd., North Sydney, Australia, said Oct. 7 that it has signed an agreement to acquire Parsons E&C Corp., Houston, for $245 million. The new unit, after approval by Worley shareholders at their upcoming meeting, will be known as WorleyParsons.

John Grill, Worley’s chief executive officer, says the merger will allow Worley to expand its technical capabilities, noting that consolidation in the oil and gas industry is driving projects of greater scale and creating a similar consolidation amongst service providers. “It firmly positions us in the top five oil and gas service providers in the world and provides an excellent platform to extend our world-class light metals capability,” he said.

“This is the logical next step in our relationship with Parsons E&C, with whom we have worked closely as a joint venture partner,” Grill added. One of those joint venture projects is for Iraq reconstruction in the oil sector. The Parsons Iraqi Joint Venture, which includes Parsons E&C, Parsons Corp., Pasadena, Calif., and teaming subcontractor Worley Group, earlier this year was awarded a 24-month, cost-plus award-fee contract with three one-year options to oversee restoration of the oil facilities in the North.

Officials also said that the existing operations of Parsons E&C will continue to operate predominately under the leadership of Bill Hall, the firm’s current chairman and CEO. Hall has accepted a position on Worley’s board of directors.