HIGH STANDARDS

Kuwait 2018 | ENERGY & INDUSTRY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Abdulnaser Al-Fulaij, CEO of Kuwait Gulf Oil Company (KGOC), on its focus on health, safety, and the environment, developing strong partnerships, and pushing ahead despite the sector slowdown.

Abdulnaser Al-Fulaij
BIOGRAPHY
Abdulnaser Al-Fulaij has held the position of CEO of Kuwait Gulf Oil Company (KGOC) since January 2016. Previously he held several positions of increasing responsibility at Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), and Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Co. (KUFPEC). He has more than 29 years of experience in the oil industry, practicing petroleum engineering, resource management, asset management, corporate and strategic planning, and business development. He holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and is member of various engineering and professional societies.

What measures do you take to ensure you are an employer of choice?

We want to emphasize that we work with quality partners, both offshore with Aramco and onshore with Chevron. That opens the doors for any present or future employee to work with companies of the highest standard. The transfer of technology and knowledge that employees receive from working with those companies is significant. They are able to differentiate themselves from employees who work with other companies under the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) umbrella, and this is simply from the nature of their work with our partners. In addition, we have a great and competitive package for people working in joint operations onshore and offshore. It gives them better benefits compared to working with other companies in the oil sector. In addition, we provide focused training and they tend to work in areas unavailable in other companies. When it comes to offshore, KGOC is the only company that offers Kuwaitis work in Kuwait. Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) is just starting, while we have many people with experience working offshore. That differentiates KGOC.

Could you tell us more about the environmental sustainability of your operations?

Health, safety, and the environment (HSE) is the number-one objective and issue that we look at every day. With our onshore operations, HSE is critical because some of the equipment and facilities are old. We make sure that everything is maintained in great shape to avoid any environmental issues or accidents. We also stress the training of our employees and those in joint operations to the highest HSE standards. We are fortunate to have partners with strong HSE standards. We try to match them and implement best systems that will meet guidelines set by KPC. We continue because no matter how much effort is placed on HSE; it is never a lost investment.

What is the strategy regarding developing your partnerships for the medium and long term?

We continuously develop our partnerships. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are historically attached at the hip. We build on that relationship in the work environment. The work relationship is strong because we are building on the culture itself. It is not just a commercial relationship.

What are your plans after production restarts?

There are many projects that have been planned, but were shelved. There is a great deal of work coming. When the restart takes place and orders come in, there will be many activities and major investments. This will happen across the board in all aspects of the industry for both onshore and offshore. We are lagging behind now for almost three years. The world has moved on, and new technologies have been introduced; it does not make sense to do the same old thing. Currently, under a low oil price environment, the challenge is to reduce costs to be more efficient and lean.

How do you see the oil trade evolving globally, and what opportunities can it bring to Kuwait and companies looking to invest in the country?

We see this change of global commodity prices as an opportunity for Kuwait, KGOC, and companies to take advantage of. We can secure deals that may not be available when oil prices are high and the world is living in a glut of good fortune in terms of high oil prices. Making excellent deals now and forming contracts makes a great deal of sense. Service providers face many difficulties so it is best to form deals with them at the moment in the hopes of production and activities resuming. We are trying to secure that. Furthermore, we are taking advantage of this slowdown or inactivity by training our people again. It is also important to secure the development of our people. It will be wise to move our company into the 21st century in terms of using the latest technologies.