Shell Global Solutions in the Middle East – a panoramic view – part one:

Published November 21st, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Sharing value propositions & technology Solutions: Shell Global Solutions was established as a business in 1998. Its purpose was to provide innovative value propositions and technology solutions to companies both within and outside the Shell Group by sharing and applying the collective experience, operational knowledge and technological know-how of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies.  


Within the space of two years, Shell Global Solutions has progressed from having no business outside the Shell Group and its joint ventures to a situation where some 20 percent of its revenue is now derived from customers in whose businesses Shell has no equity stake - and that non-Group income is growing rapidly.  


'Shell in the Middle East' talks to Jeremy entham, the company's Vice President, Marketing and Sales, about the services offered by Shell Global Solutions in the 10 market sectors in which it operates.  


We then focus more specifically on the work achieved and currently being carried out by Shell Global solutions with customers in Oman, Saudi Arabia and Egypt...  


The overview: 

"Shell Global Solutions was formed in 1998, and is a close-knit family of technology businesses operating from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Singapore and Houston, Texas, in the States," explains Jeremy Bentham, Vice President, Marketing and Sales, at Shell Global Solutions. 


"The organization also has representatives in a wide range of other countries and operates globally. Currently, we have some 1,500 staff who are working not only globally, but across a range of 10 market sectors. 


"Shell Global Solutions is obviously best known in those sectors where we currently have the largest presence, those being Refining, Gas Processing and LNG [Liquefied Natural Gas].  


These are industries in which we have, of course, built up such a presence because of our historical association with Shell and its joint ventures. 


"The other eight sectors in which we operate are Supply and Distribution, Exploration and Production [surface facilities], Chemicals, Motorsports, Oil Marketing, the Additives business, the Automobile industry, and general industrial markets, in which we focus on industries using high levels of energy and complex equipment, such as the steel industry. 


"These industrial markets are those where customers can especially appreciate the expertise that Shell Global Solutions brings to the areas of maintenance, reliability and optimization of large, complex plants and equipment.  


This is a carry-over from the work done by Shell Global Solutions for the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies in its Oil, Gas and Petrochemicals businesses. 


"It has become increasingly recognized in multinational companies that the commercial dynamic is very powerful in directing attention and resources towards those areas where they are most valuable for both service recipients and providers.  


For this reason, Shell Global Solutions was established to provide technology solutions in a commercial way to companies both within and outside the Shell Group. 


"From a standing start of having no business outside the Shell Group and its joint ventures, we have managed to develop Shell Global Solutions in just two years to a situation where today some 20 percent of our revenue is derived from customers in whose businesses Shell has no equity stake, and our non-Group income is growing rapidly. 


"The reason that it is growing so rapidly is because of the innovative value propositions that we are able to offer to customers, based around making Shell's operational and technological know-how available for all customers on a global basis. 


"This benefits all our customers, both within the Shell Group and externally. This is not just through the profitability that Shell Global Solutions brings to the Shell Group, but because the competitive and commercial dynamics are rapidly sharpening the quality and value of the services we provide for all our customers. 


"So, much more of Shell's overall technological and operational knowledge is now available to a much wider range of clients than ever before, and we provide a number of different types of offerings in each market sector. 


"Firstly, we offer specific high-value services, such as benchmarking or separation technology, to an operation such as a refinery, chemicals or gas plant, or services to support distribution and marketing activities. 


"Secondly, there are bigger and more complex offerings, which engage Shell Global Solutions in a deeper and broader range of interactions with its customers.  


Examples of this would be our MERIT and Pacesetting programmes, which bring our knowledge of best practices in maintenance, reliability and operational performance in complex industrial plants to our customers. 


"We also have long-term ongoing service agreements, where all our services and expertise are available on call. This includes a very wide range of services and, indeed, opens up the full Shell store of expertise. 


"We are marketing our services worldwide, but the Middle East - with so many Major Resource Holders in the area with between them some 60 percent of the world's oil and gas reserves - is clearly a region where we believe our understanding of global best practices and our long-term operational experience will be of particular use and value to customers. 


"A great deal of the expertise, knowledge and experience within Shell Global Solutions, and indeed the Royal Dutch/Shell Group, comes from the fact that we have been working, and are currently working, in the field in so many different operations, situations, countries and environments." 


He concludes, "We are presently working with companies in Oman, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE, and are actively pursuing business opportunities throughout the Middle East." 


Shell Global Solutions & PDO: 

Hans Erlings, Marmul Asset Manager at Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), says, "Some time ago, I was present at an impressive presentation made by Shell Global Solutions on methods to reduce maintenance costs and improve equipment uptime. 


"They use a system called MERIT [Maintenance Enhanced Reliability Improvement Team]. It is a systematic analysis of the maintenance processes within an organization and its purpose is to eliminate breakdowns through good preventive maintenance programmes. 


"At PDO most of our breakdowns occur on equipment with rotating parts, such as compressors and pumps. When they do occur it affects our oil production and we have to take staff off scheduled maintenance duties to fix the breakdowns. 


"Instead of following a proper preventive maintenance schedule, many companies service equipment only after it has broken down - and this is what we call 'fire-fighting'. 


"In order to try and reduce breakdowns, PDO called in the MERIT team of Shell Global Solutions to conduct a review of our situation at the Marmul Asset, which includes the Marmul oil field and surrounding fields.  


PDO have 15 production stations here. These receive a mixture of oil, water and gas directly from the oil wells, which is then separated. The gas is compressed and used by PDO to generate power, whilst the oil is transferred by pipeline to the coast. 


"The review was carried out by the MERIT team with staff from PDO's Maintenance, Operations and Services Departments, as well as the Finance Department so that we could officially log the cost savings. 


"Following the review, which we paid for, we struck a deal based on a 'no-cure, no-pay' basis. Shell Global Solutions were so confident of the savings that they could make for us that they were happy to make an arrangement which was strictly performance based.  


Our agreement is that Shell Global Solutions will receive payment by results of up to a maximum of US $1.1 million over the contract period. The upside for PDO as a whole could mean savings of between US $10 to 15 million a year. 


"Shell Global Solutions started work in March. We have implemented the organizational phase and the results are already paying off.  


This implementation will take up to two years and our maintenance personnel will have to be properly trained for the improvements to take full effect. 

"We are now moving from a 'fire- fighting' mode to a control mode.  


This involves people from all departments, so full involvement of staff and ensuring that everyone is motivated are important factors. I have high hopes for the end result and so far things are looking good," Hans concludes. 


Françoise Robe is a Senior Consultant for Air Quality with Shell Global Solutions' HSE Consultancy. She operates from Shell Oman Marketing in Mina al Fahal, near Muscat. 


"At Shell Global Solutions my team, which is a Modelling Group, is referred to as a 'virtual team' because the only thing its members need is a computer and connection to the Internet," she says.  


"The Monitoring Group, based in the UK, is a little less flexible as its members do need their special monitoring equipment as well but can easily move to any location worldwide. 


"Business and industry are today becoming more concerned with environmental matters - a major factor being the emission of noxious, toxic fumes and gases. 


"My presence in Oman reflects the interests that Shell Global Solutions has here in the Middle East and in the increasing number of opportunities for HSE Consultancy work and technology transfer.  


In the time that I have been here, I have put together proposals for four different projects, including for non-Shell customers, in Oman, the UAE, Qatar and Egypt. 


"The first of these to be accepted was for Petroleum Development Oman [PDO], a company in which Shell holds a 34 percent interest. It is for an Air Quality Modeling Study to examine the impact that a new power plant in the Marmul area could have on the environment.  


The plant will obviously be built to strict specifications and my job is to evaluate the level and toxicity of those emissions to ensure that there will be no adverse impact on the people in the area or the environment.  


Part of my job is also to advise clients of any suitable changes - if any - which should be made to a project to ensure compliance with international standards."In this PDO project, all modeled concentrations show compliance with environmental and safety standards. 


"I am also here in the Middle East to look for new projects for both my own area of specialty and for Shell Global Solutions in general." 


Shell Global Solutions & Sadaf: 

Saudi Petrochemical Company (Sadaf) is a 50-50 joint venture between Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) and Shell. The company, which is based in Al-Jubail Industrial City in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, produces ethylene, crude industrial ethanol, ethylene dichloride, styrene, caustic soda and methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE). 

Source: Shell Middle East 

© 2000 Mena Report (

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