A cause for hope amid the Covid-19 crisisApril 22, 2020
Guillaume Larnicol, vice-president for sub-Saharan Africa at Expro, talks to The Energy Year about the impact of both Covid-19 and low oil prices on the industry and changes that the company is having to make to adjust to these new realities. Expro provides solutions to improve efficiency, reduce cost and increase production for the oil and gas industry.
How has the Covid-19 crisis affected Expro’s activities throughout Africa in the first quarter of the year?
The first quarter remained solid as we have been able to continue to support all our clients while maintaining the safety of our people. However, the month of March saw a number of projects starting to suspend their operations either due to force majeure, suspension or termination, and with most countries going into lockdown and closing borders it has been difficult to crew change our staff who are offshore. But we are pleased that so far all of our staff remain healthy and safe.
How can oilfield services companies cope with a dual shock of Covid-19 and the oil price collapse?
We are making considerable efforts to reduce our costs during this period so that we can maintain our resources to resume rapidly once the crisis is over. By definition, a crisis is temporary, and I remain positive that everyone is doing what is required to ensure that activities in general can resume soon.
At the same time, we continue to look for areas where we can be more efficient, and not just during this crisis but efficiency gains that will also benefit us in the longer term.
What are your expectations for the months to come?
Q2 will certainly remain a very difficult quarter for everyone and not just the energy sector, but I strongly believe that the right efforts are being done to ensure the world can adapt to the situation. It’s not going to be easy, but this crisis hasn’t been triggered by a financial crisis like in 2008, so if the pandemic can be controlled soon it will be easier to recover from.
What steps is Expro taking to enhance its in-house capabilities in the areas of well construction, intervention and decommissioning during the crisis?
We are continuing with our investment in lightweight intervention, as the need for offshore intervention and decommissioning has been there before the Covid-19 crisis.
Are there any opportunities that can emerge from this crisis for your company?
On the basis that crises have always been a catalyst for “positive paradox,” then there is no doubt that new opportunities will emerge from this crisis. But we haven’t been waiting for the crisis to focus our efforts on improving cost efficiency for our customers. This crisis is particularly violent in term of how quickly it has impacted nearly every single country in the world within a very short period of time, so I think it is prudent to wait until the summer before we can assess all of its consequences.