SOHAIL MIKRANI

Oman 2021 | ENERGY | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Sohail Mikrani, Deputy General Manager of Maktoom Trading & Contracting Company LLC, about the company's performance during the pandemic, changes in the sector, and applying innovate solutions.

How would you summarize Maktoom's performance over the past year, and what projects are you currently, working on?

Maktoom Co started as an Artificial Lift Service (ALS) company and today it has become an Artificial Lift Total solutions company. We had a good journey so far since its establishment in 2006 and today recognized as an international company. We have our branches in Bahrain and Kuwait and executed some short-term projects in Yemen, India, Somaliland, and Iran. We have expanded into the middle east in a short span of time. We had organic growth in the last decade where we have added new markets, new technologies, and new customers. We signed many partnerships contracts with many international companies some are running successfully. As far as project concerns, we are working on few new technologies with different oil blocks. Some products are under trial and some are expecting to start soon in the year 2021. We will expand more with success of these projects.

What strategy are you employing to be competitive outside of Oman?

ALS service is our core and we started as a service company in the region. We are trying to grow horizontally as well as vertically. Our strategy to add all ALS products at our bottom line and new technologies to the top line. We are adding ALS-associated products on both sides of the horizontal line. This way we are trying to expand horizontally as well as vertically. We have approached with the same strategy in the international market outside Oman where we are trying more focused technically rather than commercially. Of course the commercial is also a major role player while winning the bids but being sound technically gives an extra mileage. In December 2020, we were awarded a project in Bahrain, for which we are now in the mobilization phase. It's a five-year contract. We are looking forward to great success.

How do you see the sector transforming, and what changes are essential for the evolution of the industry?

The Gulf still produces 25% of the world's hydrocarbons resources, within six major countries: Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, and the UAE. If we include Iraq and Iran then 45% of the total stock comes from this region. However, we cannot only depend on hydrocarbons. The sector transformation is the necessity of today despite the 50% of the GDP in these countries come from oil and gas. We have to reduce the dependency on hydrocarbons and should focus more on renewal energy or other sources of economic growth. The governments are promoting agriculture, fishing, and manufacturing, and these changes are essential. Even PDO has come up with a strategy to promote local goods. It still has the in-country value (ICV) initiative going on, though in addition, it has a new strategy to develop local Omani companies. It has prepared a list of products that can be manufactured in Oman and is asking local companies to start manufacturing these goods. Apart from that, hydrocarbon dependency is shifting to sustainable solutions like solar and wind. In Sohar, there is a trial power plant running completely on solar. Duqm itself is windy, and the country gets a large amount of sunlight. Apart from that, PDO started a solar farm in Dhofar. Oman is transforming, and these are some good initiatives. The government is working to improve the GDP from other sources, and it has planned for 10% of energy to be sourced from renewables by 2050, though it needs to move now. If not, the next generation will suffer. Now, scientists are working to find ways to reuse carbon dioxide as a source of energy. The whole world is working for tomorrow because hydrocarbon dependency will not last for more than 50 years. Countries need to shift their targets, and that is a good strategy, especially in the region.

What innovative technology are you using in your services?

Our focus is to increase the run life of the system, optimize production, and save energy. We are working on some trials of PMM. It is a great source for saving energy and reducing maintenance costs. Using this technique, we are working to reduce the final production costs. If there is less maintenance, and energy losses are reduced, we can produce more. We have added some other products in our product lines like specially coated downhole pump to increase the run life, self-aligned stuffing boxes, specially coated production tubes, and re-use of pumps using some innovative ideas. Also, we plan to focus on solar energy but that is under our long-term plan.

How do you see your growth and expansion over the next 12 months?

12 months is too short to talk about any big changes, but we have some short-term and long-term plans with target for 2023 and 2030. In the next 12 months, we are expecting some more contracts to be awarded which are in the evaluation stage now. We are focusing to execute the awarded contract successfully in Oman and Bahrain. We are looking forward to a successful trial of our new technologies in the coming few months. We are focusing on our manufacturing facility this year and committed to start in 2021. We are also working to sign some JV in Kuwait to participate in a new artificial lift tender floated by an oil operator. We saw a decline in sales in 2020 due to COVID-19 but again a significant climb in the year 2021. We are looking forward to a good year ahead under the leadership of our respected chairman Mr. Maktoom Al Mahri, who mentored us to never give up.