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Life Lessons: Applying wisdom

by Guest on Nov 12, 2017

Peter Sanders is the technical manager for UK-based Oil Plus.
Peter Sanders is the technical manager for UK-based Oil Plus.

Oil Plus already has a strong presence in the Middle East but, like many UK-based firms, we are looking to cast our net further afield and explore opportunities in different regions to sustain long-term growth.

The Middle East has remained a relatively strong market during a difficult and uncertain climate for the energy industry. Although global oversupply concerns continue to depress crude prices, producers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have invested around US $294bn in oil, gas, and petrochemicals projects. While oil and gas spending globally is expected to continue to decline, Middle East producers are looking to maintain spending in order to meet production targets.

Our aim is to improve the level of technical excellence within the global energy industry by helping our customers design efficient production facilities and run cost-effective operations by providing site-specific maintenance, monitoring, mitigation solutions, and training programmes. This is where I think we could add real value to the Middle Eastern market going forward. I would consider Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE to be the hotspots for our products and services, but to successfully establish ourselves in those countries is no mean feat. 

With more than 35 years’ experience in the oil and gas industry, one thing I have learned over the years is that to successfully break into the Middle Eastern market, you must do your research and be committed to making it work. Many UK firms have struggled to make their mark in the Middle East because they have failed to build a strong entry strategy. I truly believe you need someone on the ground, who is well connected and can act as an ambassador, and identify strong business leads. 

To be successful, companies need to stand by their values, beliefs, and standards, working closely with the local government and the communities in which they will operate. Operations move at a different pace in this region, and companies need to prepare themselves for every eventuality. Things might not always go to plan, but flexibility is essential to meet the region’s requirements. 

It’s also important to weigh up the risks and benefits when entering any new country. There are a host of regulatory, safety, environmental, and political laws that must be addressed – and these  differ from country to country – so  forecasting and planning is key to success, and strong leadership is required. 

Companies that do it right and adapt their specialist services and technology to meet the immediate and long-term needs of the Middle East oil and gas market will thrive.

From Saudi Arabia’s ambitious oil-to-chemicals complex, to the re-emergence of the Iranian oil industry following years of sanctions, we see a wealth of opportunities to export our skills and services to support the Middle East in achieving its production targets. 

We currently have a full-time regional sales manager, whose main focus is managing all of our business in the MENA region. In a bid to maximise business opportunities and gain further access to local market knowledge, we are also looking to strengthen our relationship with our existing strategic partner in Kuwait. This will allow us to have a local in-country sales representative developing our services throughout the MENA region. 

Looking ahead into the last quarter of 2017, we will be investing in a new laboratory facility in the region, which will allow us to provide an enhanced range of services to our regional clients. It will also enable us to manage a quick turnaround projects, delivering on time and within budget. 


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