ADIPEC is the one of the world’s largest events for the oil and gas industry and though Abu Dhabi was host to all the major players again this year, there was a distinct feeling that it was a slimmed down version. Stands were smaller, teams were fewer in number, companies packed in more to a short number of days and restaurants were not so full at the end of the day.
Discussions with clients, partners, friends and prospects over the time our team were onsite were focused on similar themes; belt-tightening, security, employee up-skilling and, as always but now more than ever, cost-effectiveness.
The long term prospects of a ‘lower for longer’ oil price may be rounding a corner with oil above $60 per barrel this year. However, after two years of everyone holding their breath this still does not change the pressure on oil companies for diversification, cost-cutting, productivity, integration and collaboration.
Of course, for service suppliers they must additionally have a foot in the door, solid client relationships, all while observing the increased emphasis on value for money and providing cost effectiveness.
Add to this the importance and necessity for achieving international standards and following international rules if you wish to seriously take part in an international market. Once achieved, as a business one must maintain the validity of accreditation and this requires the obvious benefit of continual training, process assessment and realignment. This all takes time and money.
As a security and risk management company in Iraq, we are used to adhering to strict guidelines of operations, and as we are part of a larger group of companies the ability to adapt to client requirements easily is well within our capability. More and more companies, who we spoke to and are operating in difficult environments, are seeing the appeal of a more comprehensive solution to operational necessities, rather than security purely as a commodity.
The human factor of operating in countries with challenging operating conditions highlights the need for a specific skill set and a certain attitude. Any lack of attention to hiring the right people, how they are managed, training and length of hours worked etc all have implications on the security of any situation. In Iraq right now, this issue is particularly in the spotlight with many men now out of work since the Iraqi security forces have have successfully rid the country of Da’esh.
Following the defeat of Da’esh, new markets and potential opportunities will open up in Iraq and interested parties will once again be assured of their investments and partnerships. At ADIPEC there was interest in an evolving gas sector in particular. Many are unsure of how this will actually evolve, however there is interest and it will a space worth watching.
Cyber security has been on everyone’s mind since the turn of the millennium, yet is still very much on the agenda for companies operating in Iraq. With the continued rush into digital, gig economies, block chains and crypto currencies a lack of awareness and investment in cyber security could seriously cost businesses. Affordable solutions are something that it pays to look for.
Planning for the future is key to all of the above elements for any business to be successful. As the old saying goes and still stands, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”.