Flow Control

Oil & Gas Middle East surveys the region?s leading valve suppliers

Fisher doubled its space requirement months after opening in Abu Dhabi.
Fisher doubled its space requirement months after opening in Abu Dhabi.

Oil & Gas Middle East surveys the region’s leading valve suppliers and finds that responsiveness to customer demands is separating the winners from the losers.

Valve suppliers to the oil and gas industry are witnessing a bounceback in demand as upstream projects and drilling operations get the green light in the Middle East.

The valve industry plays a vital role in oil and gas upstream production, a role which is valued increasingly by project operators as they look to ensure operations run smoothly and effectively, with as little downtime as possible.

Valve specialists are under increasing pressure to provide products that can not only perform under such circumstances, but which also offer a long operating life and require as little servicing as possible. We hear from the region’s top providers on how they keep winning business in an ever more discerning operators market.

Profile: Fisher
Who: William Luehrs, vice president and general manager, Middle East and
Africa

Emerson’s Fisher has won plaudits throughout the upstream inductry for its control valves, regulators, instrumentation and performance services.
But winning business in the region takes more than good products and a solid reputation, as William Luehrs, vice president and general manager, Middle East and Africa tells Oil & Gas Middle East.

“We have made quite an investment in Abu Dhabi in order to be nearer to our customers. We opened up there and within a few months had doubled our space,” he explains.

“We have now been very successful there on the project front thanks to our installed base. We were very successful on the Takreer refinery project, the Sahil, Asab and Shah (SAS) Field Development for Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations, and a big slice of the Borouge expansion projects.”

The firm has also squeezed cost sourcing to better compete. Luehrs says working closely with EPC’s on the major upstream and downstream projects in the UAE has been vital for winning those volumes of business.

“An important part of that is out level of localization. An EPC can make or break its reputation on start-up and commissioning, so having a very solid local footprint works massively in our favour with them. We have our engineers and service centres right here”.

Leuhrs says the high performance valves market has evolved over the last decade. “Several years ago the message from customers was: ‘Just make sure it is up and running,’” he says, but now customers are more sophisticated, and concentrate on throughput and lifecycle cost.

This is where Luers sees Emerson gaining a competitive edge: “to compete in that space you need a fully fledged service centre and field engineers here, and that’s exactly where we have positioned ourselves,” he says.

Valve Supplier
Profile: NOV Anson

Deeb Deeb, director- sales & operation, Middle East, North Africa & SE Asia, National Oilwell Varco, Mission Products says that the buyout of Anson valves just over a year ago was a good fit for National Oilwell Varco.

“We bought Anson around two years ago now, and that was a great buy for NOV because Anson has a stable of good products with a fantastic reputation in the market.

We offer is a range of high pressure flow lines equipments. The NOV Anson E Type Through Conduit Gate Valve has been developed to satisfy the need for a high quality, high specification valve which is reliable and reasonably priced.

We make full use of modern materials and manufacturing techniques. The valve is robust, easy to maintain, which is what our clients want,” says Deeb.

In addition, the company’s API.6A, plug, choke, mud, and relief valves means the entire upstream demand range is catered to.

“The initial cost of our upstream valves is very competitive, but it is the longer term cost-saving resulting from our valves’ robustness, and lthe ow cost of our spares that makes NOV Anson the most cost effective valve on the market today.” Deeb says Saudi Arabia is the company’s biggest Middle East market for volume and revenues, followed by Kuwait.

“The part of Mission I work for mainly deals with drilling and well services. This means we work closely with KDC, Burgan, and Weatherford as major customers.”

Deeb says that after the acquisition of the Anson brand the NOV Mission products division has embarked upon an aggressive growth plan.

“The market won’t accommodate our targets by growing this year, so growing our market share is definitely our goal. That said, the market is better than last year.”

Getting closer to the client is a key part of growing that business. To facilitate better support services Deeb says the company will have a new edge, and better flexibility when their modular service centres arrive.

“Right now we are extending our existing facility in Jebel Ali Freezone. We have plans to open new locations across the region for service and rental support.

On top of this an interesting project we have right now is our new service containers. These are essentially mobile service centres, which come as a pair of converted 20 ft shipping containers. One is a workshop and small office, and the second is the test bay,” says Deeb.

One of these units is currently in Egypt awaiting deployment to its next job site.

“We can send these direct to the oilfield where they carry out the service and pressure testing in the field, and they can carry out most functions including issuing certification, so the customer doesn’t have to ship equipment to any workshops.”

“The next step is rolling out all of the comprehensive service centres across the Middle East and North Africa region. We have a major workshop one in Dubai, another two very close to opening in Egypt and in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, and later this year we will open the Algeria service centre.”

Deeb says these workshops will primarily work on high pressure flowlines.
“We have noticed a real enthusiasm for service centres. I think in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico tragedy there is resurgence in interest for people to go back to the original equipment manufacturer.

Right now we are working on getting the API license for our workshop here in Dubai. We have all the procedures in place, but it’s a certification issue, so it doesn’t happen overnight,” explains Deeb.

The company’s throughput is dictated by the rig count, and that has increased significantly in its major markets recently. “We have seen a real uptick, particularly in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, both onshore and offshore. I am confident it will continue to increase over the coming two years, so I am very optimistic,” he says.

Deeb says the NOV Mission goals are high, and through a combination of organic growth and acquisition, he is hoping to grow revenues by 300% in less than five years.

“We have had a lot of success through the brands and companies we have acquired, but a real star bit of business was the acquisition of Anson, that really has been a best performer, he concludes.

Profile: Y B I Valves
Who: Albert Comerma, business development director

YBI Valves is a Taiwanese Company with 25 years’ experience in the production of casting and forging industrial valves. The firm has a strong pedigree in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and Egypt.

“These have always been strong performers for us, but right now currently our dominant regional markets Iraq and Iran,” says Albert Comrma, business development director.

He adds the local markets have become increasingly important to YBI, and currently represent about the 50% of the company’s export revenue.

“Of course, we are hoping to build on that in the coming years. 2010 in the Middle East was an outstanding year for our products, and orders have been growing year-on-year despite the recessionary period,” says Cormerma.

As the region increases sour oil and gas development, YBI have been building up an inventory of API 6A standard wellhead equipment, including a several high end well head valves, high temperature and high pressure valves.

This year YBI will complete the installation of its new forging plant in China with 18000 square metres of production space.

“Some regional highlights include Jandar Project in Iran, supplying carbon steel and stainless steel gate, globe, ball and check valves (1/2”-21”) as well as winning some business in Iraq, as part of a project contracted by BP supplying carbon steel and stainless steel Trunnion Balls (2”-18”),” he explains.

Cormerma highlights YBI’s API6A products as a real technical breakthrough products, citing their higher quality materials and manufacturing accuracy.

Profile: Shipham Valves
The Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO) is to install what is said to be the world’s largest Nickel Aluminium Bronze (NAB) gate valves as part of its installation of the new steam turbo-generators (STG) project.

Shipham Valves of the UK were commissioned by global EPC contractor Technip to manufacure a number of the large diameter (28” up 46” Class 150) valves.

These NAB gate valves will be used on the huge seawater intake pipelines that form part of the BAPCO-STG project. The enormous 46 inch NAB gate valves are nearly 5.5 metres in height and weigh over 7 tonnes.

John Wall, managing director of Shipham Valves said “The successful delivery of these products to the BAPCO-STG project confirms Shipham Valves’ position as global market leaders, at the cutting edge, for the supply of corrosion resistant valve solutions for sea water applications in arduous marine environments in the Middle East region and beyond.”

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