Building the capacity of Kuwait’s energy sector TEY_post_Yousef_Khalid_Al_Fulaij

We aim to continue finding partners that want to potentially use Kuwait as a hub to service the region.

Yousef Khalid AL FULAIJ Managing Director KHALID Y. AL FULAIJ & PARTNERS

Building the capacity of Kuwait’s energy industry

October 31, 2022

Yousef Khalid Al Fulaij, managing director of Khalid Y. Al Fulaij & Partners (KYF), talks to The Energy Year about the company’s plans for expanding its portfolio of partners in Kuwait and the importance of the drive for greater local content in building the capacity of the country’s energy sector. KYF is a trading and contracting company that operates mainly in the energy sector.

In what areas of the energy industry are you looking for more partners?
Oilfield services is an area where we see a lot of activity happening in the coming months and years, in areas such as drilling, artificial lifts and well completion. What we look for are niche products and niche services. And if there is a company that possesses the capability and the qualifications to enter Kuwait’s market, we try to work with them. Once those companies qualify, then the competition is limited. If what they provide is a general product, or what we call a “commodity product,” then there will be a long list of competitors, and the opportunity to win contracts diminishes as the number of participants grows.
We don’t join hands with any company. It’s not about quantity, but quality. When we start talking with a company, we first seek to understand what they are trying to do, what they plan to promote, what capabilities they have and whether we would be able to serve them or not. And if we find out that it is difficult for us to serve them or for them to become qualified to do business in-country, then we would inform them of that possible outcome and agree with them that, at this time, it’s very difficult to work together. If we know from day one that we won’t be able to serve that company to the level that we aim for, then we are better off not doing that.

 

What is KYF’s growth strategy?
We are mainly focused on continuing to expand the portfolio of companies that we partner with in Kuwait to service the whole energy value chain – whether that means serving the end user directly, or indirectly through their contractors and other services providers. We continue to look for reputed companies that have international experience and are interested in tapping into the Kuwaiti market.
There are a few companies that we have come to agreements with, and now we are in the process of getting them qualified with the national oil companies. Once they are qualified, we will start to identify opportunities for them.

How important is local content for the sustainability of Kuwait’s oil and gas sector?
I believe local content is the future. We need to encourage all international partners to set up in Kuwait.
This also means a lot for the sector because we need employment. We need to offer better opportunities for fresh graduates and, effectively, offer them a future.
We were the first in the major engineering and project management field to work with our international partner towards establishing a joint venture office in Kuwait, building local capabilities and know-how and opening the door for local employment opportunities. That was in the early 2000s. A few years back, we started a new joint venture with another company.

What are your key goals for KYF for the coming years?
Our goals revolve around technology, which we’ve been looking into for the past few years, while also continuing to target unique and traditional services and products in the energy sector.
In terms of technology, we are exploring opportunities in areas such as the internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI). It’s a long-term vision since the development of IoT and AI solutions takes a very long time, plus, we will have to address clients’ questions like: “Why should I choose your company rather than a competitor?” and “What differentiates you from the rest?” Many players are approaching clients and claiming to be the best, but this needs to be tested. This is especially the case when it comes to technology because the comparison between different products is often not easy.
Further, we aim to continue finding partners that want to establish a business in Kuwait and potentially to use Kuwait as a hub to service the region. We believe that traditional services in the upstream oil and gas field will continue to be in demand as the country targets increasing its oil and gas production capacity. Similarly, products and services in the industries of refining, petrochemicals and power, both conventional and alternative, will be needed. We anticipate an increase in Kuwait’s refining capacity, petrochemicals processing capabilities and power production.

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