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Yousef Al Nowais


Giving way to the golden gravel

Chairman & Managing Director, Arab Development


Yousef Al Nowais is the Chairman & Managing Director of Arab Development, a company he founded in Abu Dhabi. ARDECO is large diversified business and leading player in the oil & gas and petrochemical sectors as well as power generation and distribution and other engineering and infrastructure project services. Its large repertoire of partners and principals include such names as GE Oil & Gas, Tecnimont SpA, Linde AG, and Daewoo Engineering, among others. He is also chairman, vice chairman or a member of the board of: Archirodon NV, Carbon Holdings, Rotana Hotel Management Corporation PJSC, International Mechanical and Electrical Company (IMECO) LLC, AlDhafra National Insurance Company PSC, and Technical Metal Industries LLC.

ICV ensures there is a better utilization of local resources, in particular, human resources, that can be trained in the engineering, operations, and the commercial side of the business.

Can you walk us through the operating mandate of Arab Development and how your key services, areas of expertise, and portfolio within the oil and gas and water and power sectors have evolved since the inception of the organization?
Arab Development first started in the 1980s when its primary area of focus was power; however, this evolved over time toward the energy sector. I come from an oil and gas background, which has been beneficial in allowing me to contribute and add value to the company. What’s more, it granted me the opportunity to grow Arab Development into an established entity within the oil and gas sector, a sector close to my heart. I am comfortable navigating the vast segments of the industry and am able to do business with diverse stakeholders. Even though the organization started many years ago, it is still very much relevant in today’s economy. Throughout time, we have invested heavily in building competence, knowledge, and resources. We are thus well positioned to help the private sector, especially ADNOC and its subsidiaries across varied specialisms and projects. As an example, we can assist in the services field or manufacturing. ADNOC is an integral part of the private sector and the economy of Abu Dhabi. Consequently, the leadership of ADNOC also recognizes the role that the private sector plays in helping them to achieve their goals. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber has made it clear that he would like greater collaboration and synergies to be created across the industry and has stated he would like to find ways of improving the quality of key services and find ways to reduce costs. We must be careful about how we propose reducing operating costs in the energy sector as it is a highly sensitive industry. It is essential to deploy the right equipment and people. If operational problems arise, the consequences can be grave.

What role do you see Arab Development playing in helping ADNOC achieve its ambitious production targets?
The best operational practice is for a company to deploy technology that optimizes and improves production. ADNOC’s ambitions to increase production to 4 million bpd is a significant challenge. As a result, companies that are experienced in executing the work in the fields will gain traction. We have seen this already with the historic concessions that have been announced at different periods over the last two years. Many of these companies have proven competencies working in challenging environments. What’s more, it will be interesting to see how these companies cope with some of the rigorous operating environments here and how smoothly they can integrate new technology. ADNOC makes decisions quickly these days and continuously adapts and overhauls procedures. Consequently, they also listen to what’s going on in the sector.

What has been your experience working with ADNOC’s ICV program since it was first introduced?
It has been one of the best things to happen to Abu Dhabi, but what’s significant is ADNOC accepting to change within six months as per the demand of other companies. It keeps improving the ICV by continuously fine-tuning it. ADNOC doesn’t want it to be rigid and knows there must be corrections along the way. What ICV does is ensure there is a better utilization of local resources, in particular, human resources, that can be trained in the engineering, operations, and the commercial side of the business. Since the establishment of the ICV, there is now a backlog of work for some companies in fabrications, installations, etc. There are visible areas where ICV cannot be applied effectively, such as in gas turbines, big machinery, or motors. But everywhere else, there is great scope for Emiratization.



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