40 Years of Slick Service Quality
Weatherford Algeria continues to invest and modify its oil service offering as it prepares for industry fluctuations and stronger market competition
Writer Matthew Staff
Project Manager Arron Rampling
Weatherford Algeria has established itself as major oilfield services provider over the course of its 40-year history in the country, and continues to introduce new initiatives and programmes to prepare for the next 40 years of operations.
Growing alongside the sector’s growth in Algeria, Weatherford has been able to adapt and improve its services firmly in line with industry requirements, while adding its own innovative and entrepreneurial approach to go beyond market expectations.
“A company objective is to support any type of operations throughout the country,” says General Manager, Olivier Konig. “Weatherford activity in Algeria was initially based on core business and technology, especially Tubular Running Services, and set the bar for competency and service quality in this domain.
“As the company grew over the years, we introduced multiple services including pumping, drilling services, wireline and secure drilling services, underbalanced drilling, managed pressure drilling, air drilling and drilling.”
This vast array of services bridges its main headquarters and satellite bases in Hassi Ramel, the largest gas producer in the country; TFT, the second oilfield producer opened in Algeria behind its main facility, Hassi Massaoud; and Ardar South West Region which has been the setting of numerous new development projects since its introduction.
Weatherford’s primary operation facility, Hassi Messaoud is where the company has really made a name for itself however, providing a second-to-none platform to support the high levels of activity without external support, gearing it up for the business’s current mission to cover the conventional and non-conventional resource activities in Algeria over the coming years.
This strategy is in-keeping – as always – with general industry trends occurring across Algeria at present, and especially a refined focus on exploration. With a 1,000-strong workforce and a further 400 personnel subcontracted and dedicated to Weatherford however, the company is more than prepared to cater for these fluctuating market demands.
“Algeria is one of the world’s top ten producers of both oil and natural gas. Existing upstream and midstream infrastructure is ageing and inadequate to meet Algeria’s near-term production goals,” explains Konig. “We expect new investment in these areas, as well as investment in offshore exploration.
“In addition to the existing traditional fuels, Algeria has the world’s third largest reserves of recoverable shale gas resources (19.8 trillion m3) across seven regions throughout the Sahara. A new hydrocarbon law was enacted in March 2013 to encourage foreign investments in unconventional gas exploration and exploitation.”
Weatherford has subsequently been working towards a restructuring to reinforce the organisation in line with efficiencies, in order to maintain its position as a market leader in the future.
A flexible approach also enables Weatherford to react quickly to more specific industry and regional challenges, as Konig notes: “The security situation and the travel restrictions it implies have proven very challenging; we consider this as an integral part of our day-to-day business in Algeria and globally.
“Weatherford has in place processes to efficiently mitigate the issue and ensure business continuity whatever circumstances arise, as we did throughout the 1990s without interruption, despite the threats.”
Comprehensive Product Range
Complementing Weatherford’s proactive and adaptable philosophy is the company’s approach towards capital investments and technological advancements, transferring its industry knowledge either through joint ventures or by establishing locally registered entities to transmit the technology to local manpower.
Skill sets in the industry include market leading services such as tubular running services which have been carried out by Weatherford in Algeria for more than 30 years; fishing and re-entry services incorporating a committed QHSSE (quality, health, safety, security, environment) philosophy; thru-tubing services; and secured drilling services across more than 50 wells in a joint venture with Sonatrach.
Solid expandable services, artificial lift systems, surface logging systems and liner hanging services make up the remainder of Weatherford’s unparalleled offering; all of which are completed in line with the business’s general dedication to hazard mitigation, personnel and asset protection, performance optimisation and project evaluations, all the way through to completion.
“We provide everything, from a comprehensive line of products for conventional completion in benign reservoir applications, to engineered and integrated completion systems for complex and challenging environments,” Konig explains. “Our expandable completion systems address traditional completion design challenges related to commingled production, segregated production, maximisation of rates and drawdown control.”
After more than 30 years of honing these services specifically for a market that it knows better than most, the company could perhaps be forgiven for resting on its laurels, but a recent major restructuring process epitomises the Group’s consistency in never shying away from necessary capital investments and continuous improvements.
“After 30 years of continuous growth in the country, Weatherford Algeria recently went through a major restructuring process to rejuvenate the structure and realign the organisation towards anticipated new and future challenges, especially in enhanced recovery for ageing fields, unconventional gas exploration, and exploitation of the offshore sector,” Konig continues
Major investments have been made as a consequence of this strategy over the past two years to improve existing support bases and facilities throughout the country, incorporating three drilling rigs and a complete fleet of secure drilling equipment.
Health and Safety
A primary reason behind these investments was also to enhance the levels of health and safety within the wider organisation and to improve employees’ working conditions; a strategy encompassed within its QHSSE management system.
“Weatherford QHSSE management system is a main strategy for developing a safe and environmentally sustainable business,” Konig states. “Covering development, sales, and service operations, etc., it provides a means of managing potential HSE impact from international standards. Our QHSSE system is an integral part of Weatherford’s day-to-day activities and provides many advantages.”
These advantages include enhanced efficiencies within its operations, the reduction of risks and accidents, improved customer satisfaction, a more enthusiastic and motivated workforce, the promotion of international trade, profit increases and a general reduction in waste.
The same emphasis is placed on safety, via its Safety Leadership Council which comprises nine senior company leaders in an attempt to transform its safety culture and to establish community engagement into health and safety from all members of the Weatherford workforce.
Konig adds: “We all have a personal responsibility and accountability to work safely, to care for those around us, and to take the necessary action to prevent injuries from occurring. All employees are regularly urged to follow safe practices.”
Engagement and collaboration throughout the business is an asset which Weatherford is especially proud of, providing competency models for each job to help identify the skills and knowledge required for the professional development of each individual.
“Our technical training programmes are designed to act as catalysts for learning, both in the classroom and on the job,” Konig says. “Algeria takes full advantage of our Training Centre located in Hassi Messaoud, which includes a fully functional rig and classroom capacity for 40 people.
“Its training rig provides unique training experience to our employees and also benefits for our clients and contractors.”
Weatherford is increasing both the quality and quantity of its training programmes to ensure the business has the right people in the right classes at the right time.
Konig adds: “Taking advantage of advanced training techniques, practical hands-on training, and complex well simulators (located in Abu Dhabi training center), Weatherford employees are prepared to face whatever challenges arise.”
To maintain the highest standards of operational excellence within Algeria is not only a requirement in the country but is something the industry has come to expect from Weatherford as a result of its consistent success over the past 40 years.
This requirement becomes all the more prevalent moving forward though, given the current influx of new companies entering the oil services industry in Algeria, increasing the level of competition.
“Algeria is a definite regional stronghold for sustainable business opportunities,” explains Konig. “Weatherford has a long-term vision, and our projection goes beyond 2014. A long-term vision is critical to secure the required investments to support the expected growth.
“After nearly 40 years, Weatherford still sees Algeria as a land of opportunities. With strong ties and trust built over the years with our partners and clients, we look forward to engaging in the coming unconventional resources and offshore research.”
All of this, as it has always done, will be completed with the highest levels of service quality in mind; a key to the company’s success which Chairman, President and CEO of Weatherford, Bernard J. Duroc-Danner is keen to emphasise: “Weatherford ‘owns’ service quality. Our brand and our people are synonymous with service quality.
“We build service quality into everything we do, with competency, unified systems, and consistent processes to deliver product and service reliability. Our quality culture drives our performance, profitability, and continued growth. Service quality gives us and our clients a competitive edge.”