Rolin – Oil & Gas Manager, France and Africa, Krohne – France
As the France and Africa oil and gas manager of Krohne, a company specialized in measurement instruments, Rolin discusses the company’s family-oriented business approach and the role he plays in nurturing solidarity and economic ties between Krohne and its African partners.
Could you briefly introduce Krohne’s oil & gas activity in France, and how do you assess France’s role within Krohne’s global oil & gas portfolio?
Krohne France is one of the main subsidiaries of the Krohne Group. We manufacture all the level range of the group in Romans-sur-Isère, where our headquarters are also located. The French subsidiary was founded in 1961 and covers a large part of Africa including countries like Sudan, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo and Chad. Oil and gas has always been an important market to us, although until a few years ago, Krohne had mainly been an instrument manufacturer that delivered stand-alone instrumentation to package builders in the oil and gas industry.
We now make direct sales, which mostly take place with the petrochemical and upstream branches of large French groups. Fifteen years ago, Krohne decided to create a company dedicated to Oil & gas, which is now a skid builder intended for the oil and gas industry. Our core business consists in delivering flow metering solutions, asset management systems and leak detection systems. In France, we work for Total of course for whom we just delivered via Technip a major package of instruments for its Norwegian offshore operations. Our clients also comprise GDF Suez and Sonatrach to whom we recently supplied gas-metering solutions via various EPCs.
Which segment of your activity represents the most indisputable competitive advantage?
To this day, the MIV (main instrument vendor) still constitutes our most valuable asset. We deliver the flow, the level, temperature and pressure transmitters to our customers in the oil & gas industry. Our skid supplying activity is growing at a robust pace.
Krohne boasts a history of introducing innovations to this industry. You recently unveiled the New Ultrasonic Flowmeter for Superheated Steam. Does your growth model increasingly rely on innovation, research and development?
Innovation is indeed playing an essential role in Krohne’s success. We are an independent company and we intend to remain family-owned. In order to sustain an independent activity, we are committed to consistently allocate considerable funds towards innovation, research and development. In the 1980’s when the barrel cost USD 10, the upstream operators were seeking methods to lower costs. Krohne therefore seized the opportunity and decided to introduce them to its technologies related to the metering of crude oil and gas. Overall, our customers seek our services because our technologies increase safety and reduce operating expenses.
Krohne operates in a very competitive environment. How do you position yourself as a partner of choice?
Being a family owned company changes our approach to human resources. Our professionals are committed to the company. Most people here consider themselves part of the Krohne family and work here for at many years. Our clients find our employees’ profound attachment to the family business very appealing.
You currently manage Krohne’s Oil &Gas activity in several parts of Africa. What is your personal assessment of what the Council on Foreign Relations calls ‘France’s special relationship’ with its oil-producing former colonies?
The most devoted protectors of the French language can be found in Africa. Today French is an asset when dealing with companies like Sonatrach. The position of Total as the major oil operator in Africa also gives France an edge in the region. Lastly, France’s historical ties have progressively enabled French companies to become partners of choice in Africa.
Krohne has partners in countries like Algeria, the Ivory Coast, but we had a challenge understanding if Krohne opts more for local affiliates or local partners. Could you please elaborate more in this internationalization strategy?
Krohne has long time partner companies in Africa that subscribe to our philosophy of independence and family prone business. These partners across Africa consider themselves part of Krohne, and they for example, attend the training sessions we organize here in France. We help them define their hiring policies. we established these ties because we strongly believe in producing local content. However, certain decisions will always be taken at the headquarters in France, which is why we supervise the African activity from here.
What can we wish Krohne for the near future?
Sooner or later, the barrel will go up and I wouldn’t be surprised if it one day reaches levels of USD 200-300 and maybe even more. The day it does, every single drop of oil will count… and for that, you can rely on Krohne as we are simply the specialists in accurate and safe measurement and metering.