Abdelrahman Amin – General Manager, TWMA, Egypt
Abdelrahman Amin, GM for TWMA Egypt, outlines the positive development of TWMA in Egypt in the past decade; the value that their waste management services bring to the oil and gas industry, most notably in terms of recovering usable oil for their clients; and TWMA’s future plans for expansion and investment within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
Abdelrahman, you were saying that you have been part of TWMA essentially since its establishment in Egypt in 2006. How has the company developed in the past decade?
“As a global company, we ensure that our workforce is trained in line with corporate expectations.”
TWMA provides high-quality operational and environmental solutions to the global oil and gas industry. It is notable that Egypt was actually our first area office in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, acting as a hub from which we entered new markets, including Libya in 2008 and the UAE in 2012.
In the past ten years, TWMA has achieved some significant milestones that I am very proud to share. Firstly, when we established ourselves in Egypt, the office was staffed almost entirely by expatriates, but through development of the nationalization plan, we worked hard to recruit high quality local personnel. In 2013, we became an entirely local affiliate with a 100 percent Egyptian workforce.
During our time in Egypt, we have worked hard to deliver the highest level of service quality, with a strong focus on safety. Our most recent milestone is when we managed to achieve a record of five years lost-time-injury (LTI) free.
We have worked with international operators like BP, Shell, Statoil, BG and Total – all the big names – since our establishment in 2006 and I believe that is testament to the quality of service we provide. One element of our value proposition is that we are able to recover oil from our unique thermal treatment process. Treating oil-based or hydrocarbon-contaminated drill cuttings and liquids and recovering the usable oil content for our clients is a core business practice across all operations globally. This allows us to add value to our clients operations; we not only handle the waste, but we recover usable oil. To date, we have recovered over 34,000 barrels of reusable base oil for our clients.
Our industry has encountered some difficulties in the past few years but TWMA has managed our business and maintained some very important contracts which is encouraging. It helps that the upstream sector in Egypt has maintained robust activity levels over the past few years due to the government working to boost local supply. TWMA in the UAE has also won some significant contracts, so that is a huge boost to the company in the region.
Can you tell us more about the technology that TWMA has brought to Egypt?
One of our key solutions has been developed around the use of our uniquely designed TCC RotoMill®, a thermo-mechanical solution that offers the safest and most efficient method of handling and processing drill cuttings and associated materials at source. The process of thermal desorption allows us to break the waste down to its main components of oil, water and solids. The process itself does not heat the drill cuttings; the heat is generated by mechanical friction, which distributes the heat homogeneously without breaking the oil molecules, thereby preserving its properties. This process then allows us to return recovered oil to our clients for re-use, following verification testing, which is an immediate cost saving.
Part of the competitive edge of the TCC RotoMill solution is that it can work everywhere – at our treatment facility, at client sites, onshore or offshore. It can also be supplied fully mobile in the form of the TCC RotoTruck®. This means we can treat and minimise waste at source, providing a huge advantage in a country like Egypt, by eliminating the trucking hazards and the involved logistical challenges.
Most of our work in Egypt is offshore, where we offer a complete solution, from the rig shale shakers to final disposal. We design and provide the technical solution to safely collect drill cuttings on the rig, the rig to shore transportation methodology in the form of cuttings skips (containment boxes), the personnel and all elements of the onshore transportation and treatment. We can also deal with the transportation from the client’s base facilities onshore to our waste treatment facility in Alexandria. All the client has to do is to ship the waste from their offshore rig sites to the onshore base. We take care of everything else!
The fact is that while other companies do offer oil and gas waste treatment services, none of them are able to recover usable oil from the process. For instance, incineration is a very common way of disposing of waste, but this is not environmentally-friendly and does not recover usable oil.
What explains TWMA’s record of success in Egypt and the wider MENA region?
It is really about the added value we bring to all of our clients. As an example, in Abu Dhabi, TWMA won a significant contract with a major operator. Through our ongoing safe and effective service delivery, we have been able to return a high volume of recovered oil, which has reduced our client’s overall project costs in a similar manner as our contracts within Egypt. Our vision is to add value to our clients and this is the best proof that we do achieve it.
As a company, we place a strong emphasis on continuous improvement, which has driven significant enhancements in our safety management system, our processes and procedures and our competency and training programmes, all of which support our service quality levels.
As a global company, we ensure that our workforce is trained in line with corporate expectations. Additionally, we translate all our standard company procedures into Arabic to ensure that everyone has the fullest understanding of the instructions. We also maintain our professional accreditations to ensure we deliver to the highest standards. In 2013, we were certified by BSI for the three ISO standards (QMS – 9001:2008, EMS – 14001:2004 and OHSAS – 18001:2007)
Ultimately, our first priorities are health, safety, the environment and providing added value to our clients. Our target is to have zero incidents, accidents or Lost Time Injuries across all our sites and projects. Our teams actively participate in internal and client’s safety observation systems, which drives our safety culture. Whenever we visit a client site, our team’s active participation in the Safety Observation System is very evident. This is tangible proof of the HSEQ perception and standards that we maintain. The key is to engage your teams and empower them to deliver the best results.
In terms of your clients, does TWMA work more with international players or local companies?
We entered the Egyptian market to support one of our global clients, BP, who required a high quality environmental services provider that could provide a high level of quality assurance, and since then, we have worked with many of the international operators in Egypt.
As we become more established in the local market, we have diversified our client mix to include some of the established joint venture companies (JVs) in Egypt, including but not limited to Pharaonic Petroleum Company (PhPC), a JV between Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS), BP and Italian Egyptian Oil Company (IEOC).
The treatment of drilling waste streams is our core service offering but our portfolio of solutions also includes tank cleaning and general waste management, enabling us to provide one of the most extensive service offerings to clients across Egypt and the wider MENA region.
How do you assess the current mood of the industry in Egypt?
I believe Egypt is entering a new era, especially since the 2015 Zohr discovery with Eni. It was remarkable that such a big discovery was made when the oil price was low, and Zohr has definitely played a key role in opening the eyes and whetting the appetite of investors to come and explore the Mediterranean area further. Onshore we have already witnessed discoveries from BP and Petrobel (Belayim Petroleum Company). This will be a key driver of the transformation of Egypt’s oil and gas sector, and I do believe that more is yet to come.
During the Egypt Petroleum Show (EGYPS) in February 2017, we saw a hopeful outlook across operators and services companies alike. At a time when global investment in E&P is falling, our President, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Petroleum have used this as a platform to encourage continued investment in our country and our industry.
On a more personal note, having been here ten years, what has kept you motivated to stay with TWMA?
TWMA has given me a very rewarding career. Over the last ten years, I have faced various challenges and opportunities, and have been engaged with a wide range of clients and projects. I have always enjoyed a high level of support and I am very grateful that the opportunities to progress have been available. Personally, I see my time with TWMA as very successful and I look forward to developing even further within the TWMA organization.
Looking forward, what is next for TWMA Egypt?
I would like to better position TWMA for the opportunities and challenges ahead by increasing our service offerings, gaining more market share and expanding our client portfolio. For instance, we are currently engaging with NOCs to build a greater understanding of the value and benefits of working with TWMA, especially our on-site treatment capabilities both on and offshore.
TWMA is also looking to heavily invest and further grow the MENA region. After recently celebrating our successful decade in Egypt, the country remains a key focus for us and we are currently in the process of upgrading our TCC RotoMill® unit in Alexandria. We are committed to continually enhancing our service capabilities and have invested GBP 380,000 (USD 476,000) in this upgrade. In terms of vessel and rig cleaning, we actually have the highest activity throughout the entire TWMA organization, and we were instrumental in supporting growth in the UAE with the provision of skilled and competent personnel during their start-up phase. Egypt has, and will continue to be, very strategically important to TWMA. Looking forward, we have a strong growth plan that definitely includes expansion in Egypt and MENA as a whole.