Workforce challenges during market changes

NEWS / May 17, 2020

As the landscape continues to evolve for the workforce in the energy sector, we talk to Muhammad Tayyab, Regional Manager (Middle East) for Fulkrum about a current project the company is supporting in the UAE, how Fulkrum is adapting to clients’ resourcing requirements and how the region is responding to market challenges within workforce and recruitment.  

Established in 2011, Fulkrum is a leading provider of expert inspection and expediting services and personnel to the global energy industry. With a growing international reputation, Fulkrum has offices in the UK, USA, UAE, KSA and Malaysia and has worked with many of the world’s oil majors and EPC contractors throughout the project lifecycle, including feasibility, FEED, procurement, fabrication, commissioning and beyond. 

The company achieved ADNOC approval in 2018 which has led to a growing client base with global and local EPC’s on various projects for ADNOC onshore and ADNOC offshore.  

Tayyab explained, “We were delighted to secure a contract in UAE with a leading provider of fabrication, engineering and contracting services to the offshore and onshore oil & gas and renewable energy sectors.  Our client has been appointed to fabricate jackets for a leading offshore windfarm project in the United Kingdom which is expected to provide power for 950,000 homes. 

“It is vital the fabrication yards have full Quality Control support at each site – Fulkrum provides teams of QC inspectors from various disciplines including welding, coating and NDT. They will oversee the fabrication of 48 jacket foundations out of approximately 100 required for the wind farm project.”

The focus for Fulkrum is to provide a proactive Quality Control coverage through its global network of inspectors, which in turn can lead to improved uptime.  With organisations focusing on quality as a key part of their execution strategy, it is essential that their quality policy is at the forefront of every project.

Tayyab added: “Our track record in the Middle East has been built on our industry-leading level of customer service and responsiveness.  Additionally, we have an expansive network of inspectors based across every region, meaning we always have locally based solutions to our clients’ needs.  In most instances, our proposed team will have recent experience of the site we are assigned to.”

With the current economic landscape subject to constant pressure and change following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic it has meant Fulkrum has also had to adapt.  

“As a company that provides specialist personnel, we have seen more clients requiring local candidates due to travel restrictions for ex-pat personnel.  With our focus on locally based resources in the regions we operate in, this allows us to respond quickly and enable our clients’ projects to continue without interruption.”

Fulkrum’s track-record in the Middle East has been steadily growing since 2017 following the award of work on an extensive engineering, procurement, construction and installation project in the UAE in which required the recruitment of more than 20 resident QC inspectors.   

Tayyab explained: “We continue to support all of our key clients on their ADNOC, ARAMCO and Qatar Gas projects, covering their vendor inspection needs globally.  We have a strong track record of working with all of the LTA contractors which gives us an essential understanding of ARAMCO project needs. Additionally, the ADNOC approval we secured in 2018 has ensured we can better support our UAE based clients moving forward.”

For many years, Fulkrum has been committed to its localisation goals both to meet local content requirements for regulatory frameworks and to ensure local knowledge is utilised for its global projects.  Within its KSA and UAE offices, these efforts have been increased during this period – this has led to two new Saudi nationals being appointed as well as the coordination teams increasing within both offices.  

“Although many oil and gas producing states are introducing requirements for ‘local content’ as standard, this has always been a key focus for Fulkrum.  It ensures our own localisation goals are met but also is key for transferring knowledge into the community, creating jobs, promoting enterprise development and accelerating the transfer of skills and technologies.  All the local hires will go through our internal training programs and we are confident that they will become integral parts of the team and contribute to our Middle East growth plans.  All the new members are bringing a wealth of EPC project experience and will again contribute to our continuous growth in the region.”