Velosi continues to build on its inspection and risk-management portfolio for Saudi Aramco, and is tackling a new challenge with an office opening in Iraq.
“In 2008, Velosi became very interested to hear that Saudi Aramco was considering outsourcing its inspections functions,” says Mohammed A. Al-Khalifa, Velosi’s Country Manager for Saudi Arabia. “Three months after I opened our office in Saudi Arabia, we landed a major general inspection services contract from Aramco.” The contract was for five years, extendable for another three, something Al-Khalifa “expects very much” will happen.
“We started very small but we have grown in the last four years,” reflects Al-Khalifa, saying the company’s manpower in Saudi Arabia is up to 340, with over 270 operational staff, most of which inspect projects, thanks to Velosi’s international recruitment resource base. Al-Khalifa says getting up to spec for the Aramco commitments was “a nice challenge to have.”
The company serves Aramco with both vendor inspections and project Risk-Based Inspection, a core part of asset integrity management. Ten of the latter are currently in hand, including the giant Manifa artificial island-based production development.
Clients now include the major state hydrocarbons firms, from Aramco to PetroRabigh, Satorp and Sabic, through to private sector stalwarts like Australia’s WorleyParsons and JGC. In 2009, the company scooped a Best Performance gong from Aramco.
“Assessing risk is all about investing in optimised services,” says Al-Khalifa. “We help Aramco to optimise their maintenance programs. There is a trend to recognise that if you identify a risk earlier then will elongate the life of an asset.”
The company has been in the GCC for 15 years, starting out in Qatar, where it has its main training hub.
To enter the Kingdom, Velosi partnered with the veteran Al Shoabi and Al Turki businesses. Al-Khalifa acknowledges the problems of doing business in Iraq, but with so much work in prospect, the company is “determined to go forward” with its expansion.