Expanding oil services companies reach out to GCC partners

Petrofac is seeking an edge on rivals through local investment. (Supplied)
Updated 07 September 2018
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Expanding oil services companies reach out to GCC partners

  • Petrofac has made it clear that having a social license to operate — shorthand for supporting local economies — was a critical factor that determined whether it won tenders or not
  • Petrofac CEO Ayman Asfari: The delivery of in-country value, or ICV, is becoming increasingly important. The established national oil companies are prioritizing ICV

LONDON: Oil services and equipment companies are courting GCC partners to bolster local job creation and investment as they seek an edge on competitors to secure new business in the region.
The oil price recovery means there are more opportunities in the oil and gas sector after years of stagnation, although the KSA market has been relatively strong.
Petrofac, the oil services company with a growing reach in the Middle East, has made it clear that having a social license to operate — shorthand for supporting local economies — was a critical factor that determined whether it won tenders or not.
Petrofac CEO Ayman Asfari told Arab News: “The delivery of in-country value, or ICV, is becoming increasingly important. The established national oil companies are prioritizing ICV. In Abu Dhabi, for example, the tendering process now fully embeds ICV. It means that companies with the highest ICV have almost the right of first refusal on business.”
Active training and a development program of local talent are needed, he said.

 

ICV was a key focus area in Saudi Arabia. “More than 20 percent of our employees on the Fadhili project are Saudi nationals and our total local content across all our Saudi projects, including procurement, is expected to peak at more than 50 percent later this year,” said Asfari.
“On the question of the ICV, the in-country value, it’s really a license to operate now. It’s a requirement by clients increasingly. And unless you can meet that requirement, you will not be able to do business,” he added.
Elsewhere, London-listed Lamprell, based in the UAE, is looking to qualify as a contractor to Saudi Aramco under which contractors take up offshore engineering, procurement and construction and projects in the oil and gas sector.
An important aspect of this process is the Kingdom’s Total Value Add (IKTVA) program, which is intended to boost local investment and meet Vision 2030 objectives.
Lamprell strategy is to set up a Saudi limited liability company with KSA’s Asyad Holdings as a local partner.
Equipment and engineering services company Sparrows Group has recently been granted commercial registration to operate in KSA after it created a local JV.
Sparrows said: “A locally established company with the relevant commercial registration is a major requirement. The IKTVA program is sponsored by Saudi Aramco and is designed to drive increased investment, economic diversification, job creation and workforce development within the Kingdom.”

Decoder

The oil price recovery means there are more opportunities in the oil and gas sector after years of stagnation, though the KSA market has been relatively strong.


‘Don’t be too optimistic’: Huawei employees fret at US ban

Updated 26 May 2019
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‘Don’t be too optimistic’: Huawei employees fret at US ban

  • This week Google, whose Android operating system powers most of the world’s smartphones, said it would cut ties with Huawei
  • Another critical partner, ARM Holdings, said it was complying with the US restrictions

BEIJING: While Huawei’s founder brushes aside a US ban against his company, the telecom giant’s employees have been less sanguine, confessing fears for their future in online chat rooms.
Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei declared this week the company has a hoard of microchips and the ability to make its own in order to withstand a potentially crippling US ban on using American components and software in its products.
“If you really want to know what’s going on with us, you can visit our Xinsheng Community,” Ren told Chinese media, alluding to Huawei’s internal forum partially open to viewers outside the company.
But a peek into Xinsheng shows his words have not reassured everyone within the Shenzhen-based company.
“During difficult times, what should we do as individuals?” posted an employee under the handle Xiao Feng on Thursday.
“At home reduce your debts and maintain enough cash,” Xiao Feng wrote.
“Make a plan for your financial assets and don’t be overly optimistic about your remuneration and income.”
This week Google, whose Android operating system powers most of the world’s smartphones, said it would cut ties with Huawei as a result of the ban.
Another critical partner, ARM Holdings — a British designer of semiconductors owned by Japanese group Softbank — said it was complying with the US restrictions.
“On its own Huawei can’t resolve this problem, we need to seek support from government policy,” one unnamed employee wrote last week, in a post that received dozens of likes and replies.
The employee outlined a plan for China to block off its smartphone market from all American components much in the same way Beijing fostered its Internet tech giants behind a “Great Firewall” that keeps out Google, Facebook, Twitter and dozens of other foreign companies.
“Our domestic market is big enough, we can use this opportunity to build up domestic suppliers and our ecosystem,” the employee wrote.
For his part, Ren advocated the opposite response in his interview with Chinese media.
“We should not promote populism; populism is detrimental to the country,” he said, noting that his family uses Apple products.
Other employees strategized ways to circumvent the US ban.
One advocated turning to Alibaba’s e-commerce platform Taobao to buy the needed components. Another dangled the prospect of setting up dozens of new companies to make purchases from US suppliers.
Many denounced the US and proposed China ban McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and all-American movies and TV shows.
“First time posting under my real name: we must do our jobs well, advance and retreat with our company,” said an employee named Xu Jin.
The tech ban caps months of US effort to isolate Huawei, whose equipment Washington fears could be used as a Trojan horse by Chinese intelligence services.
Still, last week Trump indicated he was willing to include a fix for Huawei in a trade deal that the two economic giants have struggled to seal and US officials issued a 90-day reprieve on the ban.
In Xinsheng, an employee with the handle Youxin lamented: “I want to advance and retreat alongside the company, but then my boss told me to pack up and go,” followed by two sad-face emoticons.