Oil & Gas Services Council (MOGSC) – Ramlan Malek, President – Malaysia
Ramlan Malek was appointed as president of the Malaysian Oil & Gas Services Council (MOGSC) in early 2014. In the last decade, MOGSC has grown into a large association representing around 500 members. Malek speaks about the biggest hurdles and challenge that Malaysian oil and gas companies face now, and the role of MOGSC within the oil and gas industry.
How strong is the Malaysian impulse to make the move into foreign markets today, given the growth opportunities in the country today?
There are a lot of opportunities for Malaysian companies to move into foreign markets that are not being taken today. In recent years, many Malaysian service companies have developed themselves into credible and capable players in the market. They can now offer their services not just here in Malaysia but overseas as well. These companies are competitive; they have the capabilities, the track record and the capacity to offer their services further afield. We are now beginning to see major Malaysian players abroad setting an example that many Malaysian service companies should follow, such as SapuraKencana and Uzma.
Companies with assets such as vessels, drilling rigs and fabrication yards are doing business abroad but it would be great if we saw more knowledge-based companies abroad as well. In order to do this we need a more knowledgeable work force, including in R&D. Government support is vital to provide the incentive for training and development in this area.
As a result of slowing production in domestic fields, Petronas has committed to spend about USD 18.29 billion per year in 2012-2016, especially in developing new fields and enhancing recovery from old fields. Has this increase in economic activity translated in more companies setting up operations in Malaysia?
Yes, it has certainly attracted a lot of attention and interest amongst both international and Malaysian companies. We have seen many reports in the press about companies establishing a presence here in Malaysia and also we have seen reports of investors providing funds for their development. This benefits all segments, especially in capacity and capacity development, and I am very excited to see this development unfold over the coming months.
Every country has its own agenda and would like to see itself as a hub, but Malaysia does have real advantages and strengths over its competitors. We have a young and capable workforce, a central location, a healthy and active upstream sector with many projects and activities currently going on, English is widely spoken and the government provides many incentives to support and help companies develop.
In the past decade, MOGSC has grown into a large association. It seems that the association today is at its peak, currently representing around 500 companies. With that in mind, what are the priorities you set as president?
We have three primary objectives. First, we are here to promote the capabilities of our members and promote their offering. Second, we are here to support development of their capabilities; this is primarily archived through our working groups and development workshops. Thirdly, we are here to represent our members to various stakeholders locally and abroad and assist them in any way we can.
There is always more we can do for our members and it is key for us to keep the momentum going. We have done a lot in the last decade but we want to keep this ball rolling and see MOGSC play a central role in support of our members, which presently stands at about 500 companies.
Political leaders are demanding more protectionist measures, creating more jobs for local companies. In your opinion, what do you see as the biggest hurdles and challenge that Malaysian oil and gas companies face now, and how does MOGSC help its members overcome such hurdles?
Cost is a big issue in the industry right now and in recent years, we have seen a significant cost escalation that has an impact on project viability.We don’t have any issues with the attempts to manage costs and become more profitable, but at the same time we should be concerned about the actions which could have impact on participation of Malaysian companies. Such participation is essential in order for Malaysia to grow and strengthen as the regional oil and gas hub. We encourage our members to participate in work groups to develop capability and resolve common issues. Ideally, we would create international champions amongst Malaysian service companies to be significant players out side of Malaysia as well and encourage others to do the same.
Considering your vast experience in the oil and gas industry, why do you believe MOGSC to be central to the success of oil and gas companies in Malaysia?
I have been following MOGSC since the day they were formed in 2003 and while at Petronas we had a continuous engagement program exploring how we could support MOGSC and develop partnerships with MOGSC and its members. I have therefore worked very closely with the council on areas of mutual interest for many years.
I believe MOGSC and the service sector have a critical role and central responsibility within the Malaysian petroleum industry. Malaysia benefits from the revenues generated from the oil and gas industry and it is important to sustain these revenues if Malaysia is going to continue having the quality of life that it does today.
Looking ahead at the medium term, over the next three to five years, what would you like to achieve at MOGSC?
We hope to see our membership numbers increase as we look towards representing the majority of the oil and gas service industry in Malaysia. As well as this, we look to strengthen management of our society, and our development capability through working groups, and we hope to be able to represent the industry as a whole on key issues, when engaging Petronas and government agencies.
There are several challenges Malaysia companies face right now including competition. Malaysian companies need a strong domestic network in order to be strong players. In order to achieve this, they require meaningful and senior participation in the Malaysian upstream sector. I see MOGSC playing a pivotal role in facilitating these relationships.
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