Kurt and Stuart (right) ... shifting focus to localising manufacturing in KSA

After its pioneering success with the multistage completion technology in North America's shale market, Packers Plus expanded globally, with the Middle East being the first of a few markets it set foot in

For 15 years, Packers Plus has led the market in Saudi Arabia with pioneering well completion technology.

In these years, the company has shifted its focus to localising manufacturing — through facilities in the Kingdom — and growing its local team with many a Saudi talent.

In an interview, Packers Plus CEO and President Stuart Wilson and General Manger Kurt Keam discuss the 15 years of success in the Kingdom and what can be expected in the coming year.

Arriving in Saudi Arabia 15 years ago, how do you describe the early years for Packers Plus?

For a relatively young company at the time, Packers Plus Energy Services moved to expand into the international market. The founders certainly knew there would be some challenges. But how those challenges were overcome makes our story a real success.

The achievements we had with pioneering the multistage completion technology in the shale market in North America were remarkable, and to take that first step in coming to the Middle East region was a significant one.

What truly made the difference, however, was the support our Saudi customers gave in those early days.

Firstly, our customers are very receptive to new technology and are true early adopters in the industry.

And with Packers Plus, they immediately saw the actual value and potential of what the StackFRAC multistage completion technology could become.

Secondly, the Saudi customer saw the importance of working together as a partnership with a very close relationship between the technical and operational groups.

These support pillars made the introduction of our technology run smoothly and gave an excellent platform to build on for future years in the Kingdom.

How do you see the growth in local employment for Packers Plus throughout the first 15 years?

Going back 15 years, it was natural to bring much of the technical and operational expertise from North America, where our track record and experience of our staff were centred.

However, Packers Plus made a conscious decision early on that focusing on training and developing the local Saudi staff was critical.

Today we remain true to this, as a core of Packers Plus in Saudi Arabia, with nearly three quarters of the team being Saudi nationals and many local talents leading the company to exponential growth.

When the in-Kingdom Total Value Add Program (iktva) initiative was established, we had a solid position with our local staffing policy. However, as we have moved further into manufacturing our technologies locally in Dammam, the Saudi team percentage has grown to a higher level.

How has Packers Plus grown the technology portfolio in Saudi Arabia over the 15 years?

As a client-oriented company, listening to our local customer's needs and challenges is something our Packers Plus Saudi senior management team set as a high priority.

In addition, Packers Plus has a global reputation for innovation and has always been a significant strength of the company. Therefore, working with an equally innovative local operating company in Kingdom is an ideal partnership for us.

Our Rapid Tool Development Center in North America is focused on designing bespoke technologies that meet and exceed our customer's needs.

In recent years, technologies have been fit-for-purpose and specific for the Saudi market.

Packers Plus has embraced the customers trial test process as it allows us to stand behind our tools and demonstrate our strengths in innovation, producing reliable solutions to meet the customer's completion challenges.

Looking to the future, what are the areas of development that we can expect to see for Packers Plus in Saudi Arabia?

Our new technology added to our portfolio: Multistage Completion Solutions, Liner Hanger Solutions, and Flux: Flow Control and Sand Management completions, will have a greater emphasis placed on the local design and manufacturing of our tools at our Dammam facility.

The key will be bringing our high-level quality management system (QMS), which has been well established in North America, to the local Saudi facility and to our field services.

The Dammam facility is truly a world-class manufacturing facility and was built specifically to meet our in-Kingdom needs with the highest quality control capabilities.

Packers Plus has a fully integrated quality assurance and quality control process that begins at the design stage.

It follows each tool through manufacturing, assembly, testing, shipping and ultimately installation on the wellsite.

Doing so allows for a product tracking system to be brought to Saudi Arabia that is second-to-none within the oil and gas service industry.

Packers Plus is committed to the in-Kingdom initiatives and to our local customers. Partnering with Midad Limited Company on the introduction of our new products and the Dammam facility allows Packers Plus to celebrate our 15 years in the Kingdom and support our customers with a definite commitment and continuous flow of innovation for the years to come.

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