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Capital choice

Brisk business in Abu Dhabi is steering UAE down the path to recovery

Cor Corbeek, general manager, Central Region, Middle East and Africa, for Emerson Process Management
Cor Corbeek, general manager, Central Region, Middle East and Africa, for Emerson Process Management

Brisk business in Abu Dhabi is steering the UAE down the path to recovery, says Cor Corbeek, general manager, for Emerson Process Management

Abu Dhabi has proved to be the regional rock amidst the global storm which lashed much of the industry this year.

Amongst those reaping the benefits of being on the ground in Abu Dhabi is Cor Corbeek, Emerson Process Management’s general manager for the Central Region, Middle East and Africa.

The energy business is a major driver for Emerson in the region, accounting for the lion’s share of revenue streams. “In the Middle East around 60%, up to maybe 70% of our business is in the oil and gas industry. Petrochemicals, chemicals and power make up much of the remainder for our central region business, and those sectors are growing too,” he adds.

With a reduced cost environment, now seems like the ideal time to perform maintenance and upgrade programmes.

“Actually almost the opposite has been the case for us. After the oil price went down so much, ADNOC, and most of its national oil company counterparts in the region, instructed all of their operating businesses to reduce their maintenance costs. That has impacted upgrade work considerably.”

This year’s still considerable oil-revenues have spurred activity centres like Abu Dhabi to push ahead with new projects.

“A lot of our business comes from projects, and that has remained strong in the UAE. ADNOC wants to increase its production capacity from 2.5 million barrels per day up to 3.5mbpd, and that means a lot of new business,” says Corbeek.One of those projects which hold immense opportunity is the Shah Sour Gas Field development, currently in an advanced stage of tendering.

“Shah is a huge project. They are still selecting EPC contractors, but behind the scenes there is a lot of lobbying and positioning for those instrumentation and automation packages,” explains Corbeek.

Process automation only accounts for a small percentage of the overall EPC bid, though on a US$10 billion project, that in itself is substantial.

Corbeek says that UAE appetite and enquiries for the wireless automation solution, PlantWeb, have been very strong, specifically with oil and gas related companies. “Takreer recently placed a large wireless automation contract with us. Other heavy industries here in the UAE are also interested now, such as Dubal, so wireless has really taken off this year.”

Part of the appeal of the PlantWeb solution is that, thanks to its wireless properties, installation costs are greatly reduced. However, it’s not just that cost benefit which is seeing demand grow. “It would not really be feasible to run cabling to many of the places wireless sensors can go. The PlantWeb solution opens new opportunities to improve monitoring capabilities, and that’s what is exciting the market.”

Corbeek is unequivocal about where the largest opportunity sits in his region. “It is Abu Dhabi for sure. That’s where everything is happening. ADNOC has something like $50-$60 billion worth of capital projects on the table. Even from a regional perspective, not just a national one, the activity there, both upstream and downstream, it’s a genuinely prolific market right now. It’s really quite amazing,” he concludes.

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Oil & Gas Middle East - September 2020

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