The Business Year

Talal Al Awfi

CEO, Oman Trading International (OTI)

In our region, most crude oil produced is sold specifically to end-users. While the trading of oil is usually prohibited, Omani crude oil has always been freely traded. The latter has positioned Omani crude as a marker crude in the region and initiated interest by all players in the market (from traders to end-users). Simultaneously Oman was considering the creation of a more active marketing and trading vehicle to capitalize on the trading value chain from production to consumption. There was overwhelming consensus, driven mainly by the Minister of Oil and Gas, Dr. Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhi, that a more active unit should be created to capture any value beyond the typical FOB sale. OTI was created in January 2006 with the mandate to add value to Omani-exported energy products and thereafter expand globally and trade third party barrels. From humble beginnings trading Omani produced products, OTI expanded its footprint to include global products, and nearly 50% of its products are now sourced from outside Oman.

Rashid Mohammed Al-Ghailani

CEO, Oman National Engineering & Investment Company (ONEIC)

ONEIC was established in 1978 with the chief goal of supporting the electricity sector by providing meter readers, bill issuance, and collection. The company’s success story began when it decided to diversify. Instead of focusing on billing, the company created new business lines such as engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC), operations and maintenance (O&M), and marketing. This allowed ONEIC to have a successful and sustainable business for 40 years; we currently have 4,200 employees and one of the highest Omanization rates, some 48%, within our line of work. The future is even more challenging with advancements such as the use of technology in meter readings and non-traditional sources of payment through apps, but we are coping with these challenges and creating new business lines to better face the future. We certainly compete with other billing companies, which is extremely healthy for the country. One of these, OIFC, has a great deal of experience in technology, and we are trying to compete in its area.

Qais Mehmood Al Khonji

Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Qais Mehmood Al Khonji

Oman is almost completely oil-dependent, and prices affect everyone, from oil companies all the way down to food and beverage establishments. Tanfeedh aims for diversification, though it will not happen overnight. The current situation of the market, however, is positive for Genesis in terms of business, considering that part of our job is to provide customers with information as to where and how to dig to extract more oil. We entered the market at the right time, even though the process has been challenging. We are newcomers competing with the American company Weatherford for market share, and we have had to prove ourselves. In the last 18 months, we have been in contact with Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) for a trial job. It wants us to demonstrate our knowledge and expertise before it commits on a more long-term basis. Things are slow, though we are moving forward, and drilling operations have increased in the past few months.

Musallam Al Mandhari

CEO and Secretary of the Board, Oman Society for Petroleum Services (OPAL)

The playing field here has certainly changed, and we are seeing companies beginning to realize that a USD50-60 barrel is here to stay. The government’s Tanfeedh program is also focusing on doing something about it and, to a certain extent, the oil crisis has created opportunities for us to seriously look at our expenditures and other sources of revenue. It has created new impetuses for government and businesses alike. For sure, most businesses have been hit hard, but the drilling and exploration sectors have been hit the hardest. Luckily, the government has been prudent about maintaining certain production levels, but in the long term it needs to continue to grow. Therefore, at least the drilling rig numbers have not gone down drastically like we have seen happen in the US and elsewhere. The Ministry of Oil and Gas has been very clear that we need to find more oil reserves; to do so, we need to drill.

Hemant Murkoth

CEO, Business Gateways International

The Joint Supplier Registration System (JSRS) of Oman went live in 2014. This is an ICV (In-Country Value) initiative of Oman’s Ministry of Oil and Gas. The JSRS addresses the core needs of both the suppliers and O&G operators, which was to have a single pool of credibly verified and updated suppliers that operators could commonly use for their day-to-day procurement. The JSRS is meant to form a consolidated national level procurement system to be governed by the Ministry of Oil and Gas, and Business Gateways was appointed to develop and implement this system on behalf of the stakeholders governing O&G activities in Oman. We not only developed the registration system, but also created a detailed validation mechanism before awarding the JSRS certificate to the company to make sure that only the right companies come on board and tap into the system. We currently have over 5,800+ suppliers on the platform, around 4,200+ of which are Omani companies while the rest are from 80-odd countries.

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