FOR THE LONG HAUL

Dubai 2020 | SUSTAINABILITY | INTERVIEW

In Dubai, Baker Hughes is focused on developing in-country value, creating more jobs and talent, and enhancing local content.

Ayman Khattab
BIOGRAPHY

Ayman Khattab brings 30 years of diverse experience primarily in the oil and gas industry. He started his career with Schlumberger as a field engineer. In 2008, he joined General Electric (GE) as the Middle East oil and gas general manager and was later appointed VP for commercial growth and business development for MENAT. Between 2013 and 2016, Khattab was CEO of Basin Holdings. In 2016, he rejoined GE as the president & CEO of North East Africa. Khattab moved to BHGE in 2017 as the Vice President for South Gulf and East Africa region. He graduated from the American University of Cairo with a BSc in mechanical engineering and is also an active member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers.

What is the significance of Dubai and the UAE for Baker Hughes?
The UAE is a key country for our business and is our key partner. We have developed many business models with ADNOC and the UAE, with a presence in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi is the oil and gas hub for the UAE, while Dubai is the hub for everything else, including our regional headquarters. Our Dubai facility is home to one of our global training centers and a manufacturing facility. One of the main advantages of our headquarters in Dubai is the greater ease of doing business and its central location in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. Our access to markets, both developed and growing, is unparalleled. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are two sides of the same coin. When people think of the UAE, they think of Dubai because of its reputation for innovation, openness, and accessibility; Abu Dhabi brings a great deal of weight in terms of cash reserves and its financial sector.

What are the impacts of your significant investments in the UAE?
Our investment in the UAE is part of our footprint in the country—a total surface area of around 70,000sqm. This includes offices, a training center, and a manufacturing facility. In terms of presence, we have about 500 employees in Dubai and another 300-400 in Abu Dhabi. Our presence, in terms of workforce, facilities, and activities demonstrates how important the UAE is to us. In terms of actual out-of-pocket investments, we established a partnership in 2018 with ADNOC. We made an investment where we took a 5% equity stake in ADNOC Drilling, which was an injection of USD550 million, a major investment. When we decided to take on a partnership, our decision was with ADNOC.

How does Baker Hughes work with Dubai to spur innovation?
Dubai has been and remains a center of innovation. The city is ahead of other cities in terms of how people think and implement bold ideas. The things that have been done here are incredible. Dubai has been encouraging an open dialog and bringing together different players. Being in Dubai has been a great way to attract talent, including the best minds in all sectors. We spend large sums of money on R&D, but it is not all in one place. We have research centers all over the globe. We launched initiatives such as the VitalyX real-time lubricant monitoring system with ENOC. This way, we can perform our research not only in our labs, but also with our customers. If there is a problem, we can join forces with a customer to develop a solution and transform our approach to innovation. Innovation is not just about technology; it also encompasses innovative commercial models. We try to be more focused on outcome-based solutions, something that can add value for the customer in terms of improving connectivity, reducing costs, boosting efficiency, and increasing reliability.

What are your strategic priorities and vision for Baker Hughes in the region?
There is greater importance on in-country value. Everyone is trying to bring more companies into Dubai and expand and diversify their industries, hence developing an ecosystem that might not have been there before. It is about building local capabilities, job creation, and strengthening the supply chain. The purpose is creating a business environment that is sustainable and able to keep up with the growth our markets are witnessing. Our partnerships are aligned to developing in-country value, creating more jobs, developing more talent, and enhancing local content. These are not just any jobs, but sophisticated, technical, and high-end jobs. There is a fantastic pool of talent in the UAE, and everyone is trying to attract these people to their companies. Being a partner is a core piece of our strategy. As a partner, you have to invest in each other equally.