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Dr. Fouad F. AlKhadra, CEO, Gulf Spic General Trading and Contracting Company WLL (GS)

by Kanchi Batra - 28 September, 2021, 12:00 188 Views 0 Comment

Diplomatist: In 1997, you established GS along with Southern Petrochemical Industries Corporation Ltd (SPIC), India. Can you give us a brief idea of the company’s growth, areas of operations, services offered, key milestones achieved, etc.?

Dr. Fouad F. AlKhadra: GS started with manpower supply as the main business. Over the years, GS established operations in all fields and now has a dedicated Engineering and Design Department with 340 design specialist staff, Projects Department and Maintenance Department. GS provides a full range of Engineering, Procurement, Construction, Commissioning, Project Management Consultancy Services, Operation & Maintenance services for Oil & Gas, Power, Petrochemicals, Fertilizers and Industrial Services.

The company has grown to achieve manpower strength of more than 5000 and the paid-up share capital of the company presently is KD 15 million (about USD 50 Million) which is 60 times its original size.  GS is the first Kuwaiti EPC contractor to be awarded an EPC contract (EPC of New Flare Gas Recovery System in MAB) in competition with International EPC contractors in the year 2014.

GS has been qualified by Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC), Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), Kuwait Integrated Petroleum Industries Company (KIPIC), Petrochemical Industries Corporation (PIC), Equate Petrochemicals, Ministry of Electricity & Water (MEW), Joint Operations – Wafra & Al Khafji (JO), Kuwait Gulf Oil Company (KGOC) & other major companies for their various categories of works.

Diplomatist: GS has emerged as a leading engineering, procurement and construction contracting company, with a presence in all segments. What are some of your plans to maintain that leadership and extend it even further?

Dr. Fouad F. AlKhadra: We have developed the technical specialities departments to be more independent rather than depending on internal jobs, meaning the various technical department especially engineering, construction, etc. concentrate on direct business from the clients in addition to internal jobs. A number of local contractors in Kuwait use our specialised services, especially in Engineering Design. This takes care of sustenance during the lean period.

Diplomatist: What are the benchmark projects developed by the company?

Dr. Fouad F. AlKhadra: There are many. I will give the two most important ones. GS is the first Kuwaiti EPC contractor to be awarded an EPC contract (EPC of New Flare Gas Recovery System in MAB) in competition with International EPC contractors in the year 2014. GS executed and completed a challenging EPC contract for the balance Works of the AGRP Project for KNPC.

GS has strong relationships with all government and non-government manufacturing companies in Kuwait and with various international companies. What is it that makes GS a partner of choice for these companies?

GS has the comprehensive technical capability to address the issues of our clients. The capabilities include various engineering studies before the project is fully executed. In EPC contracts we review the FEED documents and re-validate the same before preparing the design drawings for project execution.

Also, the technical issues raised by vendors, especially by “single-source manufacturers/vendors” are handled by our technical team comprehensively thus bridging the gap between the manufacturer and end-user, to move forward in the interest of the project. Our safety record, quality and environmental record are appreciated by our clients and thus our clients consider GS as a partner of choice.

Diplomatist: How does 2D/3D construction design software help in increasing project quality, saving time and reducing project risk?

Dr. Fouad F. AlKhadra: With 2D / 3D designing the incidence of errors is significantly avoided. Identifying the errors, if any, is easier and changes can be made fast. It also enhances the quality of engineering. At GS, we are also having 3D Laser Scanning Technology which will be very useful in creating a new 3D model for older plants. We are doing this service for our major clients in Kuwait.

Diplomatist: What are the challenges Kuwait EPC sector is currently facing and how can the scenario be improved?

Dr. Fouad F. AlKhadra: The biggest challenges are sustenance and survival for some time so as to be ready to jump at opportunities in the future. 2020 was an unforgettable year in many ways. It has permanently changed the world. The industry needs to adapt to the new environment. Also, focus on business models and strategies by preferring contracts with regular inflows such as maintenance contracts would prepare us for the future to be better prepared for whatever comes next.

Diplomatist: For contracting business, right and skilled manpower is essential. What are your strategies and how do you keep the right managers?

Dr. Fouad F. AlKhadra: Yes, it’s very important. The right person at the right place with the required skillset, qualification and experience goes in a major way to take care of the contract executions. We have dedicated managers who are with us right from the beginning and have grown with the company. Providing a professional working environment to our managers has really helped in addressing and discussing issues in-depth and find solutions. Taking care of the lower level manpower with decent accommodation and quality food and other camp facilities has given comfort for them. 

Diplomatist: What are your personal aspirations for GS’s future development?

Dr. Fouad F. AlKhadra: I would aspire to establish GS as an Internationally Acclaimed EPC Contractor, providing value-added services to Clients through Commitment and teamwork by effectively utilizing the in-house Technical and Managerial expertise.

Diplomatist: How do you plan to face competition from international companies as well as international standards and specifications?

Dr. Fouad F. AlKhadra: Every company has its own strategy. However, there are some advantages available for local companies. As a 100% local company, we have support in terms of taxation laws. Also, there are certain categories of works allocated only for local companies. International companies face a lot of issues in adapting to this environment with adverse weather conditions, etc. With regard to international standards and specifications, all the oil sector companies are working as per international standards and specifications and so we are adapting to international standards already.

Thank you for the opportunity to share some information and I am very optimistic about a great future for all. Thanks.

Kanchi Batra
Kanchi Batra
Kanchi Batra is the Business Editor of The Diplomatist.
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