Al-Baraka Oilfield Services (BOS) is one of the Super Local Community Contractors (SLCC) for the south of the Sultanate of Oman. BOS offers diverse, quality and integrated oilfield services and technologies in the Oil and Gas sector. Excerpts from an interview with Musallam Said Salim Al Maashani, the dynamic CEO of BOS.
Tell us a bit about your career path leading up to Al-Baraka.
I have completed my Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering, Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from the United States and another Master’s in Petroleum Engineering Technologies from Australia. I joined Schlumberger Overseas here in North Oman as a field engineer. The next move was to PDO, which was a client for Schlumberger, as a construction engineer before I moved up the ladder and to become the Head of Engineering Construction for the Nimr area in South Oman. My next move was to the Oman Airport Management Company as the Salalah New Airport Readiness Manager to take care of the new airport construction phase. I was on that assignment for about 3.5 years till the new airport was commissioned. Post that I moved back to the oil and gas industry to look after the Duqm gas pipeline with Oman Gas Company for a short stint of five months. On 1 January 2016, I joined Al-Baraka Oilfield Services as the new CEO.
What are the services offered by Al-Baraka?
Al-Baraka being one of the four super LCCs established in 2011, was fortunate to get the support of the Ministry of Oil and Gas, PDO and Oxy which are the two major operators of oil and gas operating within concession areas where the shareholders are coming from. We operate on two core businesses. Firstly, we operate two work over hoists in the Southern part of the Sultanate of Oman, and our focus is now to expand in this field by increasing the number of work over hoists and also scouting for opportunities in other well engineering activities.
Secondly, we are one of the ODC contractors in this concession area currently specializing in flowline replacement project where our scope includes engineering design, flowline construction, well hook-up and demolition of the replaced lines. Our long term plan is to become a full-fledged ODC contractor in the near future. In addition to these two services, Al-Baraka managed a few other contracts, which are currently executed by LCCs, the type of contracts varies from simple manpower contracts to more sophisticated pipeline maintenance works.
What is your assessment of the current challenges in the oil and gas industry? How has it impacted your company?
The oil price slide has impacted the global oil industry, from oil producing countries to non-oil producing countries and some of the major projects in the GCC and in the world have been put on hold. There has been a reduction of operation and integrity projects and we have seen most of the companies trying to cut down the costs as much as possible. Being one of the companies in core oil and gas industry, we are working closely with our partners in the industry to identify means of reducing operating expenditures.
Recently the oil prices have been picking up and we hope it will increase at least in the next few months to enable us to sustain our business. Our positive interaction with our clients provide us with a lot of optimism for the future. One factor that is favourable to us is that we operate in a core area of producing oil, which hopefully will not be impacted a great deal. We are extremely hopeful that business will continue as it is and we are very glad to have the MOG and operators standing by the contracting companies to help us sustain during these challenging times.
What are the Omanization targets set and achieved by BOS?
We are very proud that in our course of operations, our Omanization level is almost reaching 85 per cent and our aim is to reach 100 per cent in the next two years. On the flowline contracts, on a management level we are having almost 100 per cent Omanization. Overall, it is 36 per cent because in this segment a lot of jobs like welding and skilled works are required and we are trying hard to get as many Omanis on board as possible. Our overall Omanization in the company corporate wise is almost 60 per cent and the target is to touch 75 per cent within the next couple of years.
On the training side, we are training Omanis to become professional welders and we have been bearing the cost of training 12 such prospects since the last year. PDO has also helped in bearing some of the cost last year towards this common goal. We are pursuing with that plan to ensure these trainees complete their course and clear PDO’s training evaluation. This initiative is our contribution to further the national objective.
On the ICV front, I can tell you that if a contract mandates something on that front, we comply as we have reached more than 300 per cent of what is required by each contract. Our ICV comes from the local community and we also ensure that the small LCCs residing in the interiors also get big shares of the contracts. We do try hard to give priority to the concession areas that we operate in. We are happy with the progress we have made in Omanization so far and are thankful to PDO for their constant support and guidance.
What are the future plans for Al-Baraka?
At Al-Baraka we have the vision to be one of the major contractor/player in the market with oil and gas, E&P companies in Oman. For now our focus is the oil and gas industry. We want to become a full-fledged ODC contractor within the next couple of years and we are keen to grow our fleet of hoists workover in the next 2-3 years’ time. I am proud to state that we are one of the best in the hoist area in the South in terms of operation, execution, HSE records, efficiency and delivery of work and PDO is extremely pleased with our performance. We are keen to build a robust strategy to shape these core businesses to strengthen our presence in the future. We are also keeping our options open to other businesses and investment ventures around our core areas. We are clearly not here to be just another contractor but to become a significant player in the market and we are committed to being the best in what we do.