Interview with Arild Tveit- Sales Engineer Habitat

Since February 2020, StS Habitat has been present with both welding habitat equipment and work management on the Ras Gas Alpha (Qatar Gas)platform.

Through our Qatari partner, QCON, we have delivered and continue to deliver welding habitats against QCON’s EPC modification campaign for Qatar Gas.From May 2020, work began on several welding habitats on several of the wellhead platforms as part of the larger modification campaign.

StS has chosen to cooperate with one of the market leaders in the oil and gas industry in the United Arab Emirates, Al Masaood Oil and Gas. With this collaboration, we strengthen our ability to provide

Arild Tveit

Can you tell us a little about what StS provides of products and services to the Middle East?

StS has two partner companies in the Middle East, QCON covering  Qatar and AMOG covering the  UAE. There are two different companies, and hence two different forms of cooperation.

QCON is a pure EPC (company such as Aker Solutions) and therefore has its own jobs and contracts in-house to which we supply habitat exclusively. This gives us a stable operating situation, with apredictable and even volume. In Qatar, the bulk of our volume is in-house projects at QCON, but we also offer to third parties through our partnership with QCON.

AMOG is an agentcompany, operating as a direct intermediary between us and the end user. This is most foreign companies’ preferred way of entering the market in the Middle East, since local knowledge and not least ICV (In-Country-Value; local value creation) are in strong focus in the Middle East. In the UAE, we have call-off contracts with,  among others,  the largest national EPC player, NPCC, and we offer framework contracts directly to ADNOC and other major players.

What challenges have you experienced and how have they been solved along the way? What have been the success factors?

When you enter a new region, there are always challenges. One is new, one is unknown, customer relationships are already established between competitors and potential clients etc.

Our biggest challenge was to get the “hole in the boil”, i.e. get the first scope secured so that we could get some experience and a reference base we could build on. We got our breakthrough with a big scope for the company that became our partner in Qatar, QCON, and after that it immediately became much easier. An important part of the sale of StS to AMOG,  for example, was our reference and the quality of our partner from Qatar.

Precisely the quality of partner is something that is important to point out. In this region, it is easier to gain acceptance from new partners and customers, when you have partners and customers of a certain size regionally to refer to.  Experiences and customers from other regions are not given as much weight as the locals.

Feedback to StS on our execution – what has been good and what are the challenges/plans ahead?

We have generally received good feedback. Perhaps especially in Qatar, where we had our own supervisor who trained 20-30 locals from our partner, which has enabled our partner in Qatar today to even plan and carry out their habitat missions with StS’s equipment, of course something assisted by us on the planning side, possibly supplemented by us if the scope is large.

The challenges ahead are to consolidate our position in Qatar and the UAE. We got our breakthrough in both countries around the same time that CoVid-19 struck out in full, and I had to leave the region 2 weeks after contract signing. This was in mid-March 2020, so it goes on to say that we have some catching up around organization and sales work.

On the other hand, we strongly believe that we will be able to build on the work that has been done so far, and we are already experiencing how much easier it is for us to get an impact and how much more requests we get from the region. We can safely say that StS Habitat is an established player in the area now, with great potential for expansion both in the two countries we are currently active, but also further in the region.

Read more about our habitatsolutions here: stshabitat.com