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Q&A with shipping and logistics firm GAC

Ahead of unveiling the Middle East's Top 30 EPC Contractors, Arabianoilandgas.com speaks to GAC about the latest trends in the oil and gas service sector

GAC is a worldwide shipping, logistics, marine and service provider.
GAC is a worldwide shipping, logistics, marine and service provider.

Ahead of unveiling the annual Oil and Gas Middle East's Top 30 EPC Contractors List, Arabianoilandgas.com speaks to GAC about the latest trends in the oil and gas service sector

Tell us a bit about the work you do with EPC contractors in the Middle East, and some of your main clients in the region?

Gettng essential infrastructure installed and operating in difficult locations is a constant challenge for engineers. GAC’s long experience with this kind of work in the Middle East makes us a strong partner for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) companies seeking to reduce the stress of their operations.

Throughout the Middle East, GAC provides a one-stop solution for a wide range of EPC projects. Using our own fleet of anchor handling tugs, construction barges and supply craft, we support pipeline campaigns, topside and jacket installations, with services ranging from project logistics, customs clearance and land transportation delivery through to husbandry and procurement services for craft involved in subsea construction, pipe-laying and offshore construction. GAC is also at hand to arrange agency services, marine vessel charter, bunker fuel supplies, crew support and storage.

What are some of the major projects you are working on currently, and what work do you have in the pipeline for the next 12 months?

Recently, we have been involved in a number of global agreements with drilling, EPC and seismic contractors, managing their supply chains in a time sensitive manner whilst controlling costs versus urgency. Our ability to offer a variety of services from crew and vessel husbandry through to movement of heavy cargo and general suppliers allows GAC to be a unique service provider in the industry - truly, a one-stop shop.

How important is research and development to your firm, and which of your products are your company’s most popular?

Research is key. It’s what enables us to keep up to date with developments in the region and align our strategies and service offerings accordingly. In order to provide the Oil & Gas sector with the support it needs, it’s essential to have a finger on the pulse with local operators and stay aware of projects starting up or in the pipeline.

What are the main challenges in doing business in the upstream oil and gas sector in the Middle East?

Demand for quality services with high level focus on HSSE / Compliance remains high, but increasingly we are seeing greater focus on cost reductions. Further, local regulations are in a constant state of flux and there is no real unified set of rules and regulations from one city or country to another. This can lead to a lack of clarity, so it is essential to maintain a dialogue with all authorities to stay ahead of any changes coming online.

Has the oil price fall had an obvious effect?

Lower oil prices mean that our customers are seeking to drive efficiencies and exert even tighter cost controls. This is where GAC can really deliver value by working closely with them to develop supply chain solutions that to reduce costs, increase efficiencies and mitigate risks.

Which countries in the Middle East are your main drivers for business?

GAC has been operating in the Middle East since its first office opened in Kuwait in 1956. Today, we are present in most countries in the region. Since the earliest days, Oil & Gas has been a key sector in the region and that continues today, especially in places like the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

The region has a huge number of suppliers – how do you try to set your company apart to make yourselves an attractive proposition to EPC contractors?

We’re now in our sixth decade and over the years we have gained massive experience providing quality shipping, logistics and marine services – sometimes in extremely challenging environments. Whilst regionally strong in the Middle East, GAC is a global force to be reckoned with and we can draw on the expertise of a wide range of professionals to meet almost any challenge. We offer a uniquely integrated portfolio of services that covers total logistics, ship agency and marine support, all backed up with the GAC promise of quality, safety and compliance with all the rules and regulations governing the sectors we serve.

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