Keith Leggett – Vice President for Operations & Managing Director, NOV, Abu Dhabi
National Oilwell Varco VP, Operations & Managing Director, Keith Leggett shares why NOV’s UAE offices were selected as the first site for a NOV Rig Systems fabrication outside the US, how their electrical rigs are creating innovative solutions for the industry, and how the company can play a larger role in helping Abu Dhabi reach their targets of 3.5 million barrels per day.
What does the UAE represent to the overall portfolio of the organization?
With close to 900 locations in more than 60 countries NOV has a very dynamic portfolio across the globe, but the UAE plays a very important and strategic role for the organization. NOV operates 12 locations with over 1,600 employees, and our presence in the UAE allows us a valuable seat in what is a hub of energy expertise for the Eastern Hemisphere.
NOV selected the UAE as the first NOV Rig Systems fabrication and assembly facility outside of the US, establishing our commitment to provide cutting-edge technology and responsive customer service in the region. This facility proudly produces over 65 different customized land rig designs for different terrains. There are now facilities in Singapore, Norway, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Brazil, and Russia. Over the last 15 years NOV has grown not only through acquisition, but also organically, as in the UAE. We are a truly international company these days and the UAE plays a strategic role in growing our presence in the Middle East.
Our five manufacturing facilities in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, including our Tuboscope facility that can produce over 3,000 premium joints of pipes per month, provide a rich suite of products distributed across our three Segments: NOV Rig Systems, NOV Wellbore Technologies, and NOV Completion & Production Solutions. We also offer an extensive range of services – such as assembly, testing, calibration, and maintenance – for a variety of drilling and well services equipment.
How are your offices in the UAE helping with your regional expansion?
Since all our regional operations are carried out from our regional headquarters in the UAE, we have opened satellite offices in the region. We recently opened an office in Saudi Arabia and will continue to expand in the Kingdom. The uptick in Saudi demand has translated into a concentrated effort on NOV’s part to meet and extend its service capabilities. In the coming years NOV will be focusing a lot more on Saudi Arabia because there is a demand and, put simply, they are looking for more sophisticated rigs and more powerful equipment, and we need to be around to support that necessity.
We are also opening a pilot support facility in Oman and Kuwait this year. Additionally, we have offices in Egypt, which help with projects in Northern Africa.
What current trends have you identified and how are you adapting NOV’s business model to maneuver around these obstacles?
Renewable energy has become a potentially serious threat to NOV’s long-term business model as a supplier for oil drilling rigs. Climate change fears, political instability in oil-rich regions, and peak oil concerns all have the potential to shift energy demand from fossil fuels like oil and natural gas to renewable energy such as solar power, geothermal energy, and wind energy. Governments throughout the world are trying to make renewable forms of energy more economically viable through subsidies, grants, and carbon trading schemes. However, we believe we will continue to play a strategic role in the region in developing cleaner and more cost effective ways for our clients.
What represents the majority of the work you are doing in the UAE?
We have different divisions in NOV, but from my division, which is rig systems we sell drilling rigs and the drilling packages and the hardware that go with them i.e., top drives and pumps for land and offshore. We are mainly dealing with onshore drilling but because Abu Dhabi is increasing its offshore oil production I expect to see our involvement in providing offshore rigs rise in the coming years. We are dedicated to providing the best rig systems and in today’s business climate we leverage our machinery and talent to help our customers meet the fast-paced challenges of the UAE oil and gas industry.
Which national projects has NOV been involved in that you would like to highlight?
Last year the United Arab Emirates’ National Drilling Company (NDC) signed a contract to buy onshore rigs from NOV. The new contracts are part of the Emirati company’s expansion plans and also the result of growing demand from its customers and are representative of how NOV is working hand-in-hand with local companies like NDC. With metrics set at 3.5 million barrels a day by 2020 in the UAE it means that there will need to be more drilling both onshore and offshore. I believe that with NOV’s new technologies we have an opportunity to assist the UAE reach their targets. Moreover, NOV has introduced new products in the market that will help ensure a cleaner and more cost effective method to drilling.