What does the maritime industry need to survive? Hamriyah Symposium tackles opportunities to overcome the current downturn in the market


The conference witnessed the presence from global industry experts who are specialized in classification, offshore, and ship building and ship management fields and they discussed the opportunities ahead to develop the maritime sector in light with `the full support coming from the government entities

By Hudoob Younis

For the first time in Hamriyah Free Zone, Hamriyah Symposium provided a platform for unparalleled knowledge sharing, business development and networking opportunities, as well as listening to leaders, key decision makers and Marine Experts who shared their thoughts about major challenges, critical developments and key drivers of the industry in addition to the opportunities in the industry.

Mr.Saud Salim Al Mazrouei, the Director of Hamriyah Free Zone Authority and Sharjah Airport International Free Zone authority delivered the opening speech emphasized the importance of finding new opportunities to improve the industry saying: “We always provide a full support to all the emerging companies who want to start their business in Hamriyah Free Zone. Being the biggest oil and gas Free Zone with over 166 fabricator serving over 60 countries around the world, our goal is to find the best practice and the best opportunities to achieve the growth rates we aim to achieve. Hamriyah Free Zone door is always open to all the businesses that are looking for great opportunities.”

The current fluctuation in oil and gas prices

Over the past two and half years, the oil industry has experienced its deepest downturn since 1990. The industry is still in a survival mode due to the downturn in the oil and gas prices. This drop down had a lot of negative effects on the industry as a whole. Eng. Rashid Al Hebsi, CEO of Emirates Classification Society “TASNEEF” elaborated on his expectations for the sector saying “Oil and gas is the main stream for the offshore industry within this region. In this downturn we need to survive and this will happen when we collaborate together, optimize our services and cut the cost without affecting the quality of the services provided until the market stabilizes.”

Al Hebsi added “I expect that the upcoming trend will be in the next 10 years when the industry will be more focused on refinery than exploration. This means that we will require more product carriers. The speculations should be aligned with the status of the market.”

Offshore projects in the GCC

Offshore projects continue to grow in the region. The oil and gas industry is looking further to expand in size and capital spending especially that the GCC are mainly focused on energy.  Marina llic, Senior Market Analyst in DMS Global stated that: “There is a growing energy demand in the GCC countries, as they have increased focus and efforts towards exploring the offshore fields to increase production, capacity of oil and gas and to diversify the energy sources.”

Furthermore, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company “ADNOC” is looking to boost its crude oil production capacity to 3.5 million bpd next year, from the current 3-million-bpd capacity, by splitting offshore concessions and bringing in new partners. The offshore concession, currently operated by the Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company (ADMA-OPCO) and expiring in March next year, will be split in order to unlock greater value and increase partnership opportunities.

Digitalizing in the offshore field  

The progression of technology such as analytics and data gathering offer all industrial companies the opportunity to free up man hours and reduce human errors through the automation of various tasks. Most of the oil and gas operators are starting to capture these opportunities and would accelerate their efforts.  Mr. Alok Shanker, a Consultant in DNV GL further elaborated on the technology that will soon be used in the shipping industry, saying: “In the future, the shipping industry will be able to diagnose the problems and damages in any vessels by using a diagnostic tool. This tool will be attached to a screen and all the error messages will be outlined which will make the repairing process much easier, faster and this will contribute to cutting cost.”