TBY talks to Dipin Shikarpuri, Country Manager of Fircroft, on the growth of services activity for the oil and gas industry.
TBY How did Fircroft first begin to explore business opportunities in Kazakhstan?
DIPIN SHIKARPURI Fircroft has been operating in this part of the world for more than 12 years after we first identified the potential of this growing market. We have since been committed to this market and have grown in line with the GDP of the country. Our international presence and experience in 40 countries in addition to our master agreements with major operators worldwide, such as Chevron, ExxonMobil, BG, BP, and Shell, gave us the confidence to be successful in Kazakhstan. We remain committed to developing national expertise in this business and abiding by the local content requirements of the market.
What is the basis of your extensive working relationship with Tengizchevroil (TCO)?
Fircroft operates through a service agreement with TCO, in accordance with Kazakhstani legislation, providing engineering and technical services since 2006. We have more than 140 engineers—both nationals and expatriates—working on the different projects that TCO has underway.
How would you assess the demand for the services segment in Kazakhstan’s oil and gas industry?
It all depends on the upcoming projects; however, we are quite optimistic that over 2012 there will be a consistent demand for services from various projects in the oil and gas industry as well as the mining sector. The authorities and various ministries make their own forecasts, and we employ our own internal analysis of the world economy. Based on the specific pattern of services we understand will be demanded, we form our potential service profile. It is, of course, an ever-changing landscape.
Do you see any differences between the expectations of local clients and multinationals?
From my personal perspective, over the last decade, I have seen many tremendous changes in the professional development of the national workforce as it has gained substantial experience working on various projects around the country. As such, there is little difference in the expectations of domestic companies and foreign companies because their use of labor is for the same or similar purposes. That said, the largest clients continue to be multinationals, and we foresee that trend to continue.
How would you characterize the government’s approach to developing the capacity of local HR?
I think the government’s approach has been very positive following the recent lifting of legislative restrictions imposed on manpower companies regarding seconding staff to operators and maintaining a ratio of 90% nationals to 10% expatriates. I see this as a good sign from the state that it seeks to support the industry and the economy of the country. We believe that the government needs to increase the presence of vocational training institutes in the oil and services sector.
What are your expectations for 2012?
Fircroft is quite optimistic for the coming year looking at the trend of business in Kazakhstan for the oil and gas industry and mining sector.
© The Business Year