A new PDO-backed factory, which will manufacture key well equipment for the oil and gas industry, has been officially opened in Nizwa. The Omani company Gulf Energy SAOC established the Fishing & Remedial Experts Enterprise (FREE) facility which is set to create up to 70 jobs for nationals.
Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) has signed a 10-year contract with FREE and will be the main customer. The factory will retain more than $8.4 million in country, supplying drilling and fishing tools which were previously bought on the international market.
However, although the initial aim is to support the domestic oil and gas industry, there is an aspiration to serve the Middle East and North Africa region in future. The official opening took place under the auspices of Mohsin bin Khamis Al Balushi, adviser at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
“The opening of the FREE factory in Nizwa will enable PDO to source critical well equipment and tools in the Sultanate rather than from abroad,” said PDO Managing Director Raoul Restucci.
“This is a win-win in that it retains more of the wealth of the national oil and gas industry in the Sultanate while at the same time boosting Omani skills and jobs, and all in line with our In-Country Value programme. We will do all we can to support the development of Omani businesses which can service our industry competitively, reliably and professionally.”
The 4,000 square metre workshop in the Nizwa Industrial Area is equipped with the latest computerised machinery. It currently employs 21 Omanis and is targeting 35 by the end of the year. However, the project will create at least 70 Omani jobs directly and indirectly by local manufacturing and supply of a wide range of down-hole and fishing tools and equipment to the entire Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) market and develop the procurement process within local Omani companies and enhancing their ability to procure, store, sell, transport, replenish and service the business.
Further, it will help training young national diploma holders in some of the most skilled operations in the oil and gas industry and create an environment that can encourage innovations and new patents leading to the development of new Omani technology.
“Gulf Energy and PDO are jointly launching a successful ICV project. The project will be the foundation for future research and development and equipment manufacturing to serve the company’s requirement and the local market,” said Gulf Energy Chief Executive Officer Hilal Al Busaidi.
“The facility is equipped with latest machine technologies run by local talented manpower. ICV must be embedded in all contracts to serve the country’s interest and localise knowledge and services.”