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Interview

Mohamed Galal – Central MENA Area Director, Weatherford, Abu Dhabi

The central MENA area director for Weatherford, Mohamed Galal, shares how the organization has exponentially increased investment in the UAE since 2011, why the UAE is one of the most strategic and dynamic markets to the overall portfolio of the company and Weatherford’s new project with ADCO where the company will be drilling 14 wells using Underbalanced Drilling Technology over the next three years.

How is Weatherford tailoring its service offerings in the UAE?

Limited economic resources available to many clients have created a shift in the market and have resulted in our approach. Over time, we have grown to include more comprehensive integrated services by having more expertise and talent. Our clients require the absolute best to meet the growing demands in the uneasy business market and as an oil and natural gas service company, we believe this provides an opportunity for us to be able to run our clients’ integrated projects from beginning to end and develop and adapt to their needs.

What does the UAE represent to the organization and how do the activities here fit into the global image?

In Weatherford’s global portfolio, the UAE’s office is ranked a top-10 affiliate; locally we are servicing most of the region from our facilities in the UAE. Our regional headquarters are in Dubai while in Abu Dhabi we have three facilities in Mussafah, as well as our downtown office located close to our clients. The importance of our operations in the UAE has grown over time and the UAE now serves as the hub for the region because we are able to deliver equipment and support services for all our clients in the Eastern Hemisphere; which covers the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific. Moreover, logistics ranging from visa processes, safe business practices and the infrastructure of the seaports and airports in the UAE allow Weatherford to operate in a controlled environment. Additionally, the nation offers a smart talent pool that is accessible and makes it easy for our organization to contract capable employees that want to live and work in the UAE.

What is the extent of your local operations and how have your products and service offerings improved over time?

Weatherford has invested heavily in the UAE because we believe in the capabilities of the nation and our partnerships with local and international clients. The company built three state-of-the-art facilities five years ago in ICAD, including our training center where we offer our employees and clients both technical and nontechnical training. These courses cater to the training and development of our employees in both technical and non-technical aspects, as well as tailored courses for our clients. We built a 78,000 square meter manufacturing, facility with over 60 CNC machines where we manufacture equipment, such as Liner Hangers, Whip stocks, Packers, Cementing equipment, as well as performing high level repair and maintenance for our equipment. These strategically built facilities allow Weatherford to fix and build tools locally instead of having to ship equipment back to Houston or the United Kingdom for repair. This results in faster services and turnaround time for our clients, which allows us to take on more projects. Our efforts have been recognized as we have recently been awarded the prize for “Best Oilfield Services Company” in the International category at the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC). Our presence in the UAE has grown significantly in the past 5 years and we are proud to be a part of the evolving oil & gas industry in the UAE.

How does Weatherford stand out compared to its competitors in the UAE?  

Due to our understanding of the local market, Weatherford brought in the right technologies and equipment to meet the demands of our clients. Over time, we conducted several pilot projects and managed to build trust and a successful professional relationship with the ADNOC Group. Moreover, Weatherford offers various service lines that differentiate us from other service companies in the industry, such as Underbalanced Drilling and Laboratory Analysis. We have niche technologies and a few years ago conducted the first four UBD wells as a pilot project in conjunction with ADCO. Recently, after our client recognized the added value of this technology, we have started a new project with ADCO in which Weatherford will be drilling 14 out of 20 UBD wells over the next three years.

What Technologies are Weatherford offering locally?

Weatherford acquired Reservoir Laboratories AS (ResLab) in Norway; a company that has state-of-the-art Core Analysis technologies and laboratories. Consequently, we have built a huge laboratory in ICAD where we conduct Conventional and Special Core Analysis, PVT and Geology services, which gives Weatherford the ability to provide detailed reservoir and formations characteristics for our clients. Moreover, we have offered Rotary Steerable Systems (RSS) services out of the UK and we recently introduced new tools for Formation Pressure, Azimuthal Resistivity and Micro Imaging tools. The local market has immensely benefitted from these technologies and I believe this is why Weatherford has a huge market share of the projects involving Directional Drilling and LWD services with its clients in the UAE.

These two main niche technologies allow Weatherford to compete head-to-head with our peers in Reservoir and Formation Evaluation.

How is Weatherford helping ADNOC attain its targets of 3.5 million barrels per day by 2018?

Despite current market conditions, ADNOC has continued with a steady flow of long terms contracts that are typically between two and three years and Weatherford is helping in every possible way to ensure that ADNOC reaches and maintains their targets.

Our investments in the UAE are aligned with our commitment to help ADNOC in achieving its targets; it has also helped us win a mega tender with ADCO, ADMA and ZADCO. The ADNOC group floated a mega tender consisting of three main product lines: Liner Hangers, Completions and Artificial Lifts. Between these three product lines we won the highest market share due to the fact that we have most of the equipment manufactured locally and are competitively priced. We do not compromise on quality, but we are able to heavily influence how inexpensive we purchase raw materials. Moreover, in order to help ADNOC with their expansion plans. Weatherford is increasing its amount of CNC machines and increasing the size of our facilities to increase local production and introduce more product lines into the market, such as CT and Pressure Pumping Services. Weatherford is taking all necessary steps to prequalify these services with our UAE clients in order to ensure that we are fully prepared to meet the demands of ADNOC and its subsidiaries when the large scope tenders for these services are floated.

What CSR initiatives does Weatherford have in place in the UAE?

Most notably, Weatherford is fully committed to investing in the communities we serve by partnering on various CSR activities. Recently, Weatherford launched its global CSR initiative ‘Place2Be’ in the UAE as part of its participation at ADIPEC. Place2Be is a school-based family counseling initiative that provides mental health support services to children, families and teachers within the school environment. Drawing on its unique insight and expertise as the UK’s leading provider of school-based children’s mental health services, Place2Be will offer a range of training and mentoring programs on children’s wellbeing that will immensely support the UAE committee.

What keeps you motivated?  

The market is changing rapidly and we have new products across the board, this keeps the workplace exciting and upbeat. Moreover, we have very good business relations with the ADNOC group, which allows us to continuously improve our service offerings. Our employees come to the workplace every day knowing that we have our fair share of exciting challenges, and as a leader of the organization in the UAE, I aim to create a dynamic workplace by having events for our employees to bond, mainly by hosting a range of social activities, such as sport events and family days.

Where do you expect to see the organization in three years time?

We plan to see the organization increase its revenue significantly within the next three years by focusing on our core capabilities, products and services that we do best. Our plan is to put several additional product lines into contracts, which is outside of our current portfolio. Weatherford has been growing immensely over the last few years in the UAE and we hope to continue this upward scale in the upcoming years.

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