Michael Purkiss

Across the oil and gas fields of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and beyond, the obvious expectations of any operator seeking effective servicing of its kit correlate to those demanded the world over: the maintenance or upgrade of equipment, enabling the extension of the life of an existing asset.

The current strategies of the region’s leading national oil companies are as much based upon maximising every dollar from every barrel produced, as their counterparts working in the Gulf of Mexico or the North Sea.

Michael Purkiss, general manager, Abu Dhabi, of leading controls technology firm Proserv, believes the best, and most efficient, service providers offer flexible skills, with the capability to react to what the market is demanding: “In the likes of Saudi Arabia, as elsewhere, operators gain the most benefits from service companies who can demonstrate genuine adaptability. Being able to utilise a range of competencies across the entire energy supply chain, whether upstream, midstream or downstream, really sets you apart.”



Purkiss says Proserv Controls consistently looks to deliver the two core fundamentals of a quality service provider – do a job promptly, in the desired timeframe, and do it to a high standard – as such criteria are the “tenets of future growth.” But regionally, there are also particular conditions that need to be considered and again adaptability is crucial.

“An effective service provider in the Arabian Gulf ought to have the ability to be completely flexible about what original equipment manufacturer (OEM) products it can maintain.

“Being OEM agnostic not only means the provider itself can win more contracts, but, equally, it allows the operator to know one firm can handle several of its needs.”

Proserv has specialist technicians across the Middle East

He adds that maintaining local teams in Saudi Arabia or the UAE, who can then be on-site swiftly, not only helps mitigate unplanned downtime but also means that the service personnel are schooled in the day-to-day issues of remote locations, temperature extremes and often ageing towers and platforms.

But, in Saudi Arabia particularly, Proserv is very much attuned to the importance of the In-Kingdom Total Value Add (IKTVA) programme. Purkiss comments: “The localisation policy being prioritised in the kingdom is something we are completely committed to and support. We have invested in the area and we will train the local population to gain the necessary skills to go into the field. Currently we have a number of Saudi Arabian nationals in our team but our long-term goal is to see this reach 100 per cent.

“To have Saudi field service engineers looking after Saudi Aramco assets is of real significance.”



Purkiss suggests that developing an increasing understanding of the unique challenges of the Arabian Gulf fosters opportunities for genuine partnerships between service companies and operators, “Having the experience of thinking on our feet, being able to mobilise fast and being OEM agnostic means we are not fazed by anything out of our bandwidth and this adds value to our offering.”

He stresses partnerships open up multiple benefits for operators and service partners alike but the level of trust that is created improves efficiencies and speed of service: “When a service partner has been working with an operator for a while, its personnel get to know how the field tends to function, what procedures to follow and generally become familiarised with the whole operating rhythm. This naturally leads to major time savings, as the team can just get straight to work when something arises.”

Purkiss also feels the evolution of a partnership allows a service partner to accumulate data about fields, via dedicated intelligence solutions, helping it to spot trends and make predictive maintenance recommendations.

“No-one enjoys making operational expenditure commitments but if an operator trusts its service partner, those decisions become easier. Likewise, if the service provider has the technical flexibility to offer a wide range of support skills, the remedy is also immediately at hand,” he concludes.

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