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Mon 15 Feb 2010 04:00 AM

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Ground support

Logistics and manpower services are a top priority for oilfield service companies.

Ground support
Ragdan El-Akabi is CEO of FIAFI Group.

Logistics and manpower services are a top priority for oilfield service companies.

FIAFI Group has been operating in Iraq since 2004 when it was initially involved in logistics, security, maintenance and training. On the back of increased demand from customers, the company has expanded its service offering to include construction and life support.

The company is offering solutions across environmental, pipeline and manpower services. Upstream customers are looking for integrated infrastructure solutions to support their entry into Iraq, explains Ragdan El-Akabi, CEO, FIAFI Group.

How are you placed to handle the expected influx of oil related business in Iraq?

I believe there will be a significant increase in demand for our services from the upstream oil sector and my company has been ramping up its operations during the last year to increase our operational capacity.

This included a period of re-investment to expand our logistics fleet. We have undertaken large-scale infrastructure services programs within tight mobilisation timeframes to date and so I feel that our preparation and experience puts us in a position of strength.

  Which sectors have dominated your workload so far?

Our logistics and camp services have to date been dominated by providing support on US Military contracts and the various contractors operating in Iraq.

However, this is now geared to move towards supporting the oil and gas sector, although it has to be said there are huge construction contracts pending outside the upstream sector that will also require very similar services.

 What housing is suitable for remote oilfield sites?

The preferred choice of housing for our clients is usually prefab units which come in flat packs and are erected on site. In areas where security is an issue, some clients prefer containers which are converted into living accommodation, the steel structure offer more durability. We have also erected large dining facilities from prefab housing.

What role do you play once a site is built?

Naturally, building the camp is just the beginning. What counts after that is the life support services coupled with operations and maintenance. This ranges from catering and laundry through to power, water and sewage. Our life support department has a history of life support services sometimes in remote locations in Iraq.

Upstream projects frequently require heavy lift equipment for its projects. How does this work in Iraq?

We do have the capability to deal with outsize cargo and heavy lift operations. FIAFI Group is ever increasing its capabilities and what we do not currently have, we either source locally for the purpose of the task at hand or purchase and import specifically to cover any capability shortfalls.

Availability of specialist equipment is dependant upon supply and demand in the market at any given time, but it is possible to cover most requirements. We also provide cross border logistics and full customs clearing solutions, though problems in that regards are less common today.

Do remote sites cause additional security concerns?

Remote sites need not cause additional security concerns as much depends on where in Iraq it is located and the measures taken to protect the site. Effective management and a sympathetic approach to the local population can pay dividends with the micro security situation surrounding the site.

Engaging with the local people and providing employment brings untold rewards. Hearts and minds are the way forward - everyone needs to be able to provide for their families.

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