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Sat 31 May 2008 04:00 AM

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Challenging markets

Marc Mazen Afyouni joins Edgo, after 27 years at Schlumberger.

Marc Mazen Afyouni joins Edgo, after 27 years at Schlumberger.

What will your new role as group regional director for Libya, Algeria and Chad entail?

Edgo, the engineering and development group, has several activities in the three countries in the oil and gas, water, and construction sectors as well as in education. We operate through various companies, joint ventures and partnerships, and I will oversee the business from the long-term management, strategic planning and growth perspectives.

Clearly Libya and Algeria are both proven oil and gas provinces, with known important reserves and production potential.

You will also be taking the role of general manager for Camco in Libya - what will this position require of you?

First let me explain what Camco is all about. Extracting oil and gas has been a highly technical process with very expensive technologies deployed by the foreign companies in the region, and at very high cost to the countries.

This is where we see the role of Camco, a 20 year old oilfield services company that deploys cutting edge technologies at competitive prices from alternative sources with high standards of safety and quality.

Today the services we offer include slickline, cased hole logging, perforating and well testing. We intend to complete this offering by introducing open hole logging, drill stem testing and multi-phase metering in 2008, and to expand our geographic coverage outside Libya in 2009.

My role will be to ensure that this growth is realised through adapted investments, proper staffing and a good quality of service to our clients.

Do you see potential in the countries that you will be covering? (Libya, Chad, Algeria).

Clearly Libya and Algeria are both proven oil and gas provinces with important reserves and production potential. They both have aggressive development plans for their infrastructure and for the diversification of activities into other industries and into tourism.

For that they need additional revenues from oil and gas activities and therefore additional production capacity. The group's portfolio allows us to take part in both the increase of production and the diversification of activities.

Chad on the other hand has only one major discovery and all to do to prove its exploration and production potential, so we see it as a longer-term investment. That being said, we are fully committed to developing our presence in all three countries.

What do you think are the main challenges, risks and opportunities facing the oil and gas industry in Libya, Chad and Algeria today?

The main challenge for any oil producing country in the region is to diversify its sources of income to shield it against large drops in energy prices. Clearly Algeria and Libya have started putting plans and investments in place as I mentioned before.

However, the biggest challenge to the regional oil industry is to develop locally grown technical capabilities in order to reduce the cost of technology.

For that I believe governments in the region should do more to encourage the participation of the private sector and to fund research and development initiatives by both local and regional players.

What has been your major challenge so far, in terms of your new job role?

Having been an international staff member with Schlumberger, my positions required a great deal of travelling, which I enjoyed tremendously. The toughest part of this position will be to stay in one place for long periods of time, but I think I will get used to it fast, and my family will appreciate this newfound stability.

Is it important that regular investments are made to secure the stability of the company?

Edgo is an important regional player and has a very strong financial position. It enables us to place our investments in the emerging businesses as needed but always with a view to the long term.

Our track record has been very solid and our companies have been very stable since their establishment, offering long-term employment opportunities that compare favorably with those of the biggest players in the industry.

Where do you see yourself and the company in five years time?

Libya is opening up very fast, and I believe Algeria has been following the same path. My objective is to expand our Algeria operations to match that of Libya, and I believe this is achievable within the next 5 years. I also plan to deploy Camco's services within the rest of the Middle East.

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