PARTNER OF CHOICE

Kuwait 2018 | ENERGY & INDUSTRY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Hussam A. Marafie, Chairman & CEO of Gas & Oil Field Services Company (GOFSCO), on its contributions to the country, strategy to forge partnerships, and stringent safety culture.

Hussam A. Marafie
BIOGRAPHY
Hussam A. Marafie is the Chairman & CEO of GOFSCO. Prior to this, he held a senior management position at Schlumberger as a Wireline Field Engineer overseeing operations in key markets. Marafie is also a board member at Noor Financial Investment Company, Vice Chairman at Grand Oil Company – Kuwait, and Founder of Eastern United Petroleum Services. He holds a bachelor’s degree with a specialization in mechanical engineering from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne and was also awarded the Executive Leadership Development Certificate from Stanford University School of Business, a Leadership Program Certificate from Harvard Business School, and a Program Certificate from Harvard Business School, now known as Harvard Alumni.

How has GOFSCO contributed to Kuwait?

Being a local company, we have to rely on our local resources to provide our services with high-quality assurance and in a safe work environment. We own our equipment, bring the most talented workforce on board and train them, and provide services and solutions based on our long experience. Due to our long relationship with our clients, we have created a strong bond of trust, especially with Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), which is our main client and is responsible for 90% of our work activities; we consider our relationship as a partnership rather than customer relationship. Another large client we have here is Kuwait Gulf Oil Company (KGOC). We take pride in being dynamic and flexible in providing our services to the local market. We have employees who have been with us for more than 30 years, and this continuity gives us an advantage over any other player in the market. We are here to stay and have built up a strong know-how and trust with our clients. One of our targets for the next three to four years is to increase the number of locals working in our company to over 70%. The more competitive the market becomes, the more we want to keep our investment in the country. There is a high turnover of foreign staff in the oil and gas business because expatriate workers move around to new jobs internationally. Locals typically stay in the country until retirement. Localization gives us a more sustainable employment base in terms of turnover, and our clients appreciate this stability as well.

How are you strengthening your position to become the preferred business partner for primary operators operating in the region?

GOFSCO's strategy is to have experienced people on board and ensure we have the most reliable equipment. We invest a great deal in both our people and equipment. We try to align ourselves with the challenges of our clients and predict how we can fix any new issues they might have. We have been able to adapt to all the changes in the market over the last 45 years. We understand the trends because of our experience here and have developed a strong database of market trends and client behavior. We also ensure all our equipment is state of the art. We position ourselves as a company with high standards that is comparable to any of the international players in the market. We draw on the numerous sources of new technologies that are available in the market today. We have a dedicated team that looks for changes and enhancements in technology for us to adopt. We also create a number of customized competitive solutions for our clients.

How does GOFSCO ensure a constant commitment to the highest health, safety, and the environment (HSE) standards?

HSE is at our core and part of our culture. We ensure that the safety culture is part of every employee's daily approach to work. We have a dedicated team, including certified people, who look after HSE. Every quarter, a team in charge of safety practices performs a site visit for spot checks to ensure all our safety standards are being applied and followed. Any accident—day or night—is immediately reported to me as part of our HSE procedures, and we have a fast response safety team. Every day, the head of the team at every site holds a safety meeting to remind our onsite working employees about the safety procedures they need to follow, because we deal with high pressures and toxic gases on a daily basis. We also have a system of safety observations where staff can note any safety issues that arise and we address these during a weekly staff meeting. These procedures have helped us avoid accidents.