ESAB moves to new 'green' facility in Dubai
Welding specialist highlights regional successes
Following its recent move to its new environmentally-friendly facilities in the Jebel Ali Free Zone, Swedish industrial welding and cutting specialist ESAB was keen to show arabianoilandgas.com around its new ‘green’ home and discuss where next for the 106 year-old company.
ESAB which has been present in the region since 1981, prides itself on the quality of the relationships it has built particularly in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and to a lesser extent Iran.
In the recent past, the company has had quite a lot of success in Qatar with its mammoth gas projects and with Qatar Petroleum’s Nakhilat shipyard project where it is delivering about 80% of the welding equipment, being the company's most recent work there.
Speaking at the new facility which is claimed to save 60-70% in energy costs and recycles all of its water in a closed-loop system, ESAB Middle East’s managing director, Johan Fransson says that being in the region helps to woo existing and new customers but highlights the erratic nature doing business in the Gulf as something that companies should get used to.
“One challenge is the nature of the business here in that it is so project-oriented because nothing happens, nothing happens, nothing happens and then suddenly it’s all systems go,” he says.
“It’s hard to be geared up to cover everything but it requires that you work very close to the customers so you know what’s going on and you can be prepared.”
The company provided the welding services for the hull sections of the Aker H6 rigs that were made by Dubai Drydocks in 2006. It has also carried out work on the platforms, decks and jackets in the Karan gas field in Saudi Arabia for J Ray McDermott as well as the Shah gas refinery for Mumbai based construction firm, Dodsal.
Fransson believes that keeping as much of ESAB’s activities as local as possible - whether it be stocking complex CNC welding machines, consumables and spare parts or training up clients’ workforce - keeps it competitive and more responsive to the demands of its regional customer base.
Specialists from the ESAB’s factory bases in Europe are based in Dubai to be close to the company’s customer base and provide technical support and assistance.
“We don’t need any people coming from oversees to install or service any of the things we sell, we have the people right here, Fransson explains.
Fransson who has worked for ESAB all his life and has been working in the region since 2004, says that as a company, ESAB continues to ride out the fallout of the global downturn and reiterates that the company’s local market position has aided it in this regard.
“We probably went through the downturn better than most others. Our market position helped us to keep our volumes up because we have been here for so long in addition to having good relations with our customers, partners and distributors.”
“Part of what we sell is steel, if the steel price goes down a lot so does our revenue, this really has nothing to do with our performance as a company,” he says.
“A lot of those projects that were put on hold, cancelled or postponed have now restarted, the demand is there, if we are going to get the oil and gas we need for the future.”