The Business Year

Zamil Abdullah Al-Zamil

Chairman, Zamil Offshore Services

Ghassan Mirdad

Vice-President & General Manager, Schlumberger

What are the main services you offer here? ZAMIL AL ZAMIL We design, produce, and build here. Our ships are small but very high tech. For example, our new drilling […]

What are the main services you offer here?

ZAMIL AL ZAMIL We design, produce, and build here. Our ships are small but very high tech. For example, our new drilling rig is special for the oil business. This kind of ship is produced only here and in the North Sea—it is not even produced in the Far East. The rigs are very expensive; their daily costs are $200,000-$300,000 for gas or sometimes for oil. In that respect, you need a safe and stable ship, and we produce exactly that. Singapore will not produce such ships because it does not want to take the risk. Zamil Offshore was the only company that took a big chance and produced them here.

GHASSAN MIRDAD Schlumberger is the world’s leading supplier of technology, integrated project management, and information solutions to customers working in the oil and gas industry worldwide. We are in the oilfield service sector for upstream projects and we have been in Saudi Arabia since 1941. Schlumberger was started by two French brothers with origins in a well logging company. The company now consists of 15 industry leading product lines that provide quality products and services in reservoir characterization, drilling, and production to customers worldwide.

How are you working to train the right human resources?

ZAZ We invest in manpower. Before, most of the marine industry was controlled by the British and Americans. Now, we are training many Saudis to work offshore, training them in drilling. They become captains, engineers, and mechanics. We can build any kind of ship here with the labor we have. We have many Saudis working offshore currently, and out of 70 ships around 30%-35% of the personnel are Saudi. Previously, around a decade ago, this figure was 0%. We develop ideas, make new business in Saudi Arabia, and develop our manpower. This is why Aramco is happy with us and considers us one its most important partners. The management there knows that we will not leave like other foreign companies and take their boats.

GM One of the company’s core values is its people. Schlumberger invests continuously in hiring and developing local talent. Since the early 1970s, we have recruited engineers and technicians from all the countries where we work. We want our managers to be local, meaning we develop them, often overseas, so that they can become future country managers in their home country. In Schlumberger, from top to bottom, you will find Saudi nationals in different roles including sales, marketing, human resources, finance, as well as general labor or as drivers. The company invests in its workforce through training programs and competence building while on the job. The development of competent employees has been one of the company’s strongest contributions to the oil and gas industry. In my particular case, I have worked for 17 years with Schlumberger, both as an engineer and in line management, on several assignments and various different countries. I have spent a total of 13 years of my Schlumberger career outside Saudi Arabia, being prepared for my current assignment. In line with this philosophy, Schlumberger has more than 100 Saudi nationals serving abroad, and that number will probably double very soon. Through exposure to different environments, different customers, different ways of thought, and different cultures, an individual becomes more confident in taking on higher management responsibilities. This is the way that we develop people at Schlumberger.

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