Mehdi Guellil – Founder & Managing Director, Kerdos Energy – France
Kerdos Energy, which was founded in 2010 in France’s “historical oil and gas region,” Pau, works with private and public organizations to identify opportunities and risks related to their transition towards cleaner and more efficient energy sources. Learn more from their young and ambitious founder, Mehdi Guellil.
You founded the company in 2010. What is the main factor that inspired you to embark on this new entrepreneurial adventure?
I started my career working for Total and then, I have focused my work on energy efficiency throughout my career. My ambition has been to work in cooperation with Total while ensuring that Kerdos Energy remains a business on human scale. When you start a company, you have to wait three years to prove your concept. 2014 was a breakthrough year, with very promising results.
You deliver energy efficiency and optimization strategies for various industries. What types of projects and services do you provide for the oil and gas industry?
We kept two main activities: one is very conventional and consists in process engineering. We are currently working on subsea development. We concentrate on maturity analysis and R&D projects to identify the main key points to develop a new system or technology. We therefore work on conventional oil and gas consulting and more innovative ventures. We work directly for industries and users. We conduct energy audits, measurements, and assess different opportunities for cost-reduction. We also analyze the main evolutions of the market to provide advisory services to our clients. We explain which technologies to develop which market segments to focus on etc.
You provide consulting services to accompany companies and help them re-define their strategies. In an industry as conservative as the oil and gas sector, how essential is it to receive feedback from an external actor?
Our clients have several motivations when hiring our services. They can seek advice on regulations related to emissions. But our core business consists in cost-efficiency. Companies have recognized the fact that carbon and energy costs can be valorized. When I worked for Technip, I implemented carbon ready projects. I always believed that carbon could be a by-product to be managed by oil and gas players. We are assessing to which extent we can integrate carbon management to their core business.
You offer services in energy management, deliver consulting services and also train professional worldwide. How would you briefly define the philosophy and vision that you instill in your activities?
Kerdos Energy is a small and dynamic company, which offers an innovative way of designing projects, which our clients find refreshing. Our company has built synergies between professionals who formerly worked with the oil and gas majors. We therefore have a clear understanding of our clients’ processes coupled with our disruptive ways of conducting business. Today, we evaluate technologies, produce calculation sheets and evaluate the competencies of providers. We are currently handling a technology maturity evaluation for an O&G operator for example. Total, Gazprom and Engie also hired us on various energy efficiency projects. We identify to which extent the French system consisting in promoting energy efficiency from the government side, can work abroad. Our goal is to assess the difference between existing technologies and what is available in new startups. In France we are capable of producing new regulations and innovative ways of developing and assessing technologies. These skills available in France have gained resonance worldwide.
We work in the oil and gas industry but also in the automotive industry, and generally speaking, any sector which relies on energy. We provide assistance with the same methodology applicable to all industries.
I believe that it makes sense to challenge and evaluate new possibilities if you can demonstrate the economic viability of an upcoming technology. By using this methodology we can identify competitive projects. The fact that France does not boast any significant production has sometimes sent a negative message abroad. Public perception of oil is also extremely negative. This resentment towards oil and gas has undeniably impacted our industry.
Your clients comprise local and regional authorities in Pau. How do you contribute to the economic success of your region?
Pau is renowned for being the French oil and gas hub. We indeed rely on competitiveness clusters to organize meetings and create synergies between different bodies. We are interested in understanding to which extent we can implement a future energy system. We have actually conducted certain projects on behalf of local and regional authorities. We assist public institutions in implementing carbon funds, and we do actively recruit talented individuals from the Pau area.
Most of your clients are French. What are your prospects for international expansion?
Today, we need to follow clients in order to expand internationally. We have established close ties in Africa where we assist industrial companies in implementing energy efficiency systems. We actually just finished a project in the Ivory Coast. In Russia, we experienced difficulties due to the language barrier. I however strongly believe that France’s industrial performance and pool of qualified engineers constitute our most valuable asset. We will continue to legitimize our expertise to the eyes of the international public, a never ending process!