City renovation in KuwaitJanuary 25, 2023
Edghard Arab, general manager of Green Line, talks to The Energy Year about the company’s competitive advantage and its role in renovation projects. Green Line is a specialised contracting company, executing contracting projects for private individuals, large companies, ministries and various government organisations.
How has the competitive advantage of Green Line been evolving in recent years?
We started with the construction of sewer networks, and later on, we expanded into anything related to infrastructure work. For more than 10 years now, we have had microtunnelling as a speciality service, on top of infrastructure work all over the country.
We have built a very good relationship with the Ministry of Public Works (MPW). We offer them our services, whether it is for technical advice or for matters dealing with execution. We have developed the right expertise, and the market trusts us.
Sometimes people call us the “no problem company.” We are known for always finishing our projects ahead of time. All our projects are finished either ahead of time or on time.
What role do you play in renovation projects?
We are one of the few companies in Kuwait that are experienced in renovation. In renovation, we enter a city and we remove the sewers, electricity networks, telephone networks, stormwater, asphalt and more. We re-develop the entire city from the base upwards, and we re-do the civil works.
Massive renovations are mostly for the civil work, for electricity, asphalt, pipelines, etc. These are some of the most difficult jobs. You are entering an area where there are residents, and they should not be disturbed. Meanwhile, the sewage, water, electricity, roads and everything else should be operating at 100% all the time. And as you can imagine, nobody is happy when we enter because it will soon look like a war zone. Nobody would like to enter into that type of job because it is difficult and costly. You can do 200 metres of line in the desert, and it takes one day. But in a renovation, you cannot do more than 10 metres per day.
In which segments do you see more activity happening in 2023?
The most active sector at the moment is oil and gas. Oil and gas, like any other industry, requires infrastructure. Wherever there are deep pipes, there are pipes passing under utilities or other utilities passing over the oil and gas pipes, and there are strict rules regarding that. There is a corridor, and in order to pass the pipes through this, the corridor of oil and gas cannot be touched, even by going underneath it; that is the process. So whenever there is interference between oil and gas pipes and other pipes, we have to do microtunnelling.
There are also many projects coming up in infrastructure maintenance, sanitary networks and roads. For these kinds of contracts, you are responsible for the infrastructure of an entire certain area or district of the city. The second area of growth consists of infrastructure renovation contracts, which revolve around renovating older areas of Kuwait.
What is your strategy to increase your portfolio of energy-related projects?
We are putting a lot of effort in getting more contracts in both the power and oil and gas sectors. We are working for the Ministry of Electricity & Water & Renewable Energy and doing microtunneling for them, so that they put their distribution lines inside of the sleeves we fix. We are interested in participating in solar energy projects. We can contribute by constructing piles. We are also working on sand control projects for oil wells: cleaning up the sand, taking it and putting it away.
Does Green Line have any international expansion ambitions?
We have done some work in Saudi Arabia and in Qatar. We do the job, we finish and then we come back. In Oman, we did the country’s first microtunneling project, which was about seven kilometres. Qatar is much easier than Oman, as it has solid soil. Understanding the nature and characteristics of the soil is important.
We are currently looking to expand in Saudi Arabia and find new contracts there.
How strategic is it for Green Line to invest in new technologies and bring them in-country?
It is important to always be on the lookout for new technologies. From being a pioneer in special fibreglass structures to a specialist in epoxy application and an innovator in using new techniques, we have always been at the forefront of new technologies and know-how. Being aware of each technology’s maturity process is also important. Once it becomes a commodity, it can affect the performance of the company. Technology is key, but understanding its changing nature is even more important.