Regional uprisings are impacting petrochemical ops

Destabilising events are forcing companies to consider relocation

Abdelghani Henni, editor.
Abdelghani Henni, editor.

The recent uprising in the region has cast a shadow on the operations of many western companies. From Bahrain and Oman to Yemen and Egypt and other North African countries, political instability has caused international companies working in these countries to think about the safety of their employees as well as the long-term effectiveness of their operations in the region.

The immediate action of some of these companies was to evacuate their expatriate staff from these areas to neighbouring countries, deemed safer havens, as soon as the disruption turned violent.

I have four friends who were based in Bahrain, but due to the recent instability in the Kingdom, they have been temporarily evacuated to Dubai by their companies.

All of them work for Western companies providing service to upstream and downstream sectors, and the consensus among them was that the future of their operations in the region is not clear, as their companies are thinking seriously about leaving Bahrain and moving to another GCC country.

As such, employees of these foreign companies are awaiting a “deliberation” from top management in their firms to take the decision on whether to stay in Bahrain or to move to another country.

The question now is: Which city is ready to host these companies? Many have said that colleagues are keen to move to the UAE, and make that a central regional hub office.

Others have suggested the smart money is moving to Qatar. Not one has expressed a desire to relocate operations to Saudi Arabia. I have heard some corporations have even declined the invitation of Saudi Aramco to be based in Al-Khobar.

If they must move, I advised Dubai, as it is a neutral place due to the absence of downstream projects, but at the same time wish them the best chance of returning to their homes in Bahrain.

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Oil & Gas Middle East - September 2020

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