How has Applus Velosi been adding value to the local and regional markets with Abu Dhabi as its base in the Middle East?
We have been in Abu Dhabi for many years, so we are well known in our industry. Our main business is testing, inspection, and certification. For example, if TAKREER has a refinery expansion it would order equipment and materials, and it needs to know that its vendors are going to be producing what it needs on time and on specification. Our company has a worldwide network of inspectors who visit vendor sites and help to ensure that costly delays and rework are avoided. We also provide third-party inspections at the customer's own site to certify the integrity of the installed unit. Other services include non-destructive testing. For example, if a customer is building a pipeline, the welds that connect each section need to be absolutely perfect. We will carry out ultra-sonic testing or radiographic testing, or whatever the job requires, to check the integrity of the welds.
What factors drove the bulk of your business in 2014?
Our business is driven by projects. The oil refinery is a nice example. The nuclear power projects ongoing in the Emirates are opportunities for us as well and we do provide services there. One interesting thing that stands out when you look at where the UAE's capital is spent is that there is a lot more being spent in construction than in hydrocarbons. The Etihad Rail project is a great example. In the last year or so, the number of new projects in the oil and gas business has fallen away slightly. There is more to come, of course, but when I look at the mix of investments and where capital is being spent, there are superb opportunities for us in infrastructure and construction, as well as the traditional oil and gas chain. So my focus is shifting toward developing new services for those sectors.
How are you capitalizing on the opportunities that you see arising with various projects in the pipeline?
One such opportunity is services, in which we are already successful and well established, such as lift equipment inspection. Every construction site we see has huge tower cranes. They all need to be inspected and certified. It is very much the same service, and delivered by the same inspectors. The obvious thing to do is to take a successful service and replicate that success in another sector. We also provide HSE services to many sectors. The other thing we are doing is introducing new services, like mechanical and electrical power systems, such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems in buildings. We are helping our customers to make certain that everything they do is compliant with the regulations. Regulations drive everything we do. Companies won't spend money if they don't have to.
What makes Applus Velosi the partner of choice for industry players?
One thing that we have in our favor is that we have been around for many years, so we know our customers very well. We are pre-qualified with all the major operating companies and are very experienced. We continuously review the services that we provide to make sure that the latest technology is available to our customers, not just at the point where the projects are being built and commissioned, but also throughout the operating life of the project. We provide asset integrity management services, which assess the life of a process unit, for example, and how to extend it. We introduce services that go beyond the commodity.