Africa holds opportunities for oil and gas
Ibrahim Al-alawi, deputy CEO of Al Mansoori, says Africa is a key market and digital technology is a key tool
What are the latest developments at Al Mansoori?
The big, exciting thing we’re very proud of is our new automated well testing unit. It is a fully automated well testing package that can be on site with no human intervention.
It is all controlled through the internet, so it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, as long as you have connectivity, you can control everything and you get all the data in real time without putting anyone in harm’s way. It has not been out in the field yet.
What are the key trends you’ve noticed in the past year?
Digitalisation, definitely data mining and making sense out of all this data. We are getting very good at collecting data, but we need to work out what we do with that data, and how we should use it to improve the way things work.
That is something we’re working on with our partners, artificial intelligence companies developing algorithms that can do the data mining and see the trends that we may not be able to see ourselves.
I’m also seeing a loss of knowledge in the industry, a loss of skills with the retiring of the old guard, and in the last two years of downturn we have not replenished the ranks of those people.
There is a gap, and it is being filled by younger people who have less experience. We see it as an opportunity, some see it as a liability, but we definitely view it as an opportunity, especially with digitalisation and artificial intelligence, which can help us do things that were previously done by human beings.
From your perspective, what is the potential for digitalisation?
As computing power and artificial intelligence improve, they will get much better at analysing data. Today, it takes a human mind to read something, look at it and make sense of it.
Our thought processes are being transferred to computers, and as that technology improves, and as companies adapt it into the oilfield, we’re definitely going to see more ways that that can be used to fill in the skills gap that we see in the industry.
What sets your company apart?
Our tagline is “Always Al Mansoori,” and that is very true, because when people use our services they always ask us to come back, because we believe in giving the customers what they want and in delivering their expectations, not just the contractual obligations.
We move one step above and beyond what is written in the contract to meet their expectations, what they have in mind and what they are hoping to see.
So far we’ve been very successful at that and we expect to continue doing that as long as we are around.
What can we expect from Al Mansoori in 2019?
One of the exciting things for us is East Africa. We’ve started first oil in Kenya, and we expect that to grow next year. We are also looking forward to the field development project that is going on in Uganda, we hope to be a part of that. There could also be some prospects in West Africa. We are definitely looking into Africa.
Ibrahim Al-alawi is the deputy CEO of Al Mansoori Specialised Engineering