Rose Marie SAAB FAOUR, President of INDEPENDENCE DRILLING

It is not possible for the industry to grow without the participation of Colombian businesses.

Rose Marie SAAB FAOUR President INDEPENDENCE DRILLING

Addressing industry challenges in Colombia

January 21, 2019

Rose Marie Saab Faour, president of Independence Drilling, talks to TOGY about the outlook for the oil and gas business in Colombia, the possibility of key reforms and the importance of maintaining relations with local communities. Colombian oilfield services provider Independence Drilling has worked with clients such as Ecopetrol, Occidental Petroleum, Cepsa, Hocol and Frontera Energy.

• On the industry in Colombia: “We have just emerged from a crisis that was particularly hard for the oil and gas industry, especially for the service companies. Colombia is well aware of its fiscal condition and the need for reforms to improve its economic situation. Oil is the main factor that can drive change in the country. The hydrocarbons sector supports the finances of the country.”

• On challenges for the industry: “In addition to the tax and fiscal issues, there are environmental and social aspects to attend. The social situation, the issue of prior consultation and the context of environmental regulations are the greatest challenges. In regard to these matters, there has to be a very clear and defined policy, along with a strong industry commitment to accompany the government. To achieve this solution, there has to be a team effort, to make sure the rules of the game are respected.”

• On the role of locals: “In Colombia, we have plenty of industries and capable people willing to participate immediately. It is not possible for the industry to grow without the participation of Colombian businesses. I think we must trust our country. We have the capacity, the commitment and the desire to excel. Obviously, as in many other countries, there is a need for technology, but there must be support for the Colombian industry. The process will be successful only if the industry gives Colombian companies the proper support.”

Most TOGY interviews are published exclusively on our business intelligence platform, TOGYiN, but you can find the full interview with Rose Marie Saab Faour below.

Click here to read more

How would you characterise the business environment under the administration of President Iván Duque?
There are good times coming for the oil and gas industry. There is a great amount of work to be done to achieve the government’s goals, so we must be up to the challenge.
We have just emerged from a crisis that was particularly hard for the oil and gas industry, especially for the service companies. Colombia is well aware of its fiscal condition and the need for reforms to improve its economic situation. Oil is the main factor that can drive change in the country. The hydrocarbons sector supports the finances of the country.
Independence Drilling has a commitment to the country, the government and the industry to move forward with our business. We are betting everything on our drilling and well servicing business.

 

What is the upstream investment climate like in Colombia?
There is a gas issue offshore. Sector players say that administrative delays are taking a toll on planned investments.
The rules of the game have changed and what the sector needs the most now is stability so the investment continues to arrive. The sector is still dynamic, with international and local players moving in positive directions in both oil and gas.

Do you expect a tax reform under this government?
This is a priority, hence the government has to act in this direction. The lack of stability is what scared the industry most in previous years; however, the government is currently committed to providing stability on this matter. I believe the president, the minister of mines and energy, the ANH [National Hydrocarbons Agency] and the minister of finance understand this, and that is why they are actively promoting the Colombian oil industry.
There may also be other issues currently on the table, but I believe the Colombian oil industry will be favoured because the government deeply understands that this is necessary for the success of the country.

What are some of the difficulties of operating in Colombia and how can they be overcome?
In addition to the tax and fiscal issues, there are environmental and social aspects to attend. The social situation, the issue of prior consultation and the context of environmental regulations are the greatest challenges. In regard to these matters, there has to be a very clear and defined policy, along with a strong industry commitment to accompany the government. To achieve this solution, there has to be a team effort, to make sure the rules of the game are respected.

Where in the value chain do you see opportunities for local companies to grow?
Colombian companies are key actors in the value chain. Independence, as a national company, has the knowledge to identify opportunities for the oil industry across the country; we understand its resources and its local needs, to achieve a better interaction with the communities.
In Colombia, we have plenty of industries and capable people willing to participate immediately. It is not possible for the industry to grow without the participation of Colombian businesses.
I think we must trust our country. We have the capacity, the commitment and the desire to excel. Obviously, as in many other countries, there is a need for technology, but there must be support for the Colombian industry. The process will be successful only if the industry gives Colombian companies the proper support.

Do you see any improvements regarding the security situation in the country?
We can work safely across the country. The anxiety of past years is long gone. Safety is not a factor that worries us today.
There are social aspects that have become a safety valve; we are having social dialogue and the authorities are hearing the voices of the communities. I believe listening to the communities is essential. People have realised this process cannot be implemented without having full co-operation between each actor: operators, service companies, communities and local authorities.

For more information on Colombia’s oil and gas industry, see our business intelligence platform, TOGYiN.
TOGYiN features profiles on companies and institutions active in Colombia’s oil and gas industry, and provides access to all our coverage and content, including our interviews with key players and industry leaders.
TOGY’s teams enjoy unparalleled boardroom access in 35 markets worldwide. TOGYiN members benefit from full access to that network, where they can directly connect with thousands of their peers.

Business intelligence and networking for executives: TOGYiN

Stay Informed