The Byrne Group Chairman talks to the Oil & Gas Year Abu Dhabi publication

Sheikh Hamad

TOGY talks to Sheikh Hamad Al Sulaiman, chairman of Byrne Group, about areas of potential growth in the UAE and the region, why the company is rapidly expanding in the oil and gas industry, and the low rate of leasing in the region. Byrne Group provides equipment rental in the areas of oil and gas, industry, construction and events.


Why is Byrne suddenly expanding rapidly in the oil and gas industry?
Since its inception Byrne Equipment Rental has been a supplier to the oil & Gas industry in the region, mainly through the oilfield services companies and for the most part in the onshore space. Our strategy has changed nowadays to meet the more exacting demands of the wider industry covering upstream, mid-stream and downstream sectors. In recent years we have driven a growth initiative in our business by adding a suite of O&G centric equipment to our rental fleets, including our more recent focus on the provision of energy efficient and renewable solutions. Our objective is to fully understand our client’s equipment needs and to respond to these by developing viable rental and lease solutions.
We believe the oil & gas industry is not fully served by the equipment rental and lease sector mainly due to the shortage of rental companies that can meet the equipment and service level expectations of the industry - that’s gap the Byrne are ready to fill.


Where do you see the most potential for growth in the UAE and regionally?
We reflect on 2017 and 2018 as slower than had previously been the case in terms of trading activity. That said in such times I see the rental and lease model as anticyclical in that, when the market takes a downturn, many companies prefer the equipment rental and lease model over ownership. As a result of this we saw a significant upturn in business in Q4 of 2018.
My view is that the reason for the slowdown in 2017 and 2018 was due to businesses recalibrating as new initiatives and new visions were set out for the whole region. These new visions are extremely positive and will no doubt be successful, but equally they required a period of planning and time to gain traction.
As I said earlier, we started to see this towards the end of last year and we continue to see it in to 2019. Right now, equipment and remote accommodations camps for rigs etc, are in high demand reflecting increased exploration activities. In Saudi Arabia we have seen an upsurge in activity on the minerals side and we are seeing a pick-up in the UAE with the allocation of new blocks from the bid round.
We are hopeful that 2019 will be interesting. We see the biggest traction for work happening in Abu Dhabi and KSA.


What level of service missing from this market can you provide?
The market we serve is one that needs an elaborate multi-disciplined equipment rental and lease company that has modern and structured systems and procedures which can provide ‘one-stop-shop’ solutions. There are of course rental companies that specialise only in or only in particular sectors e.g. Power or mobile access, whereas Byrne can cater, not just to these product needs, but then extends to serve 80%+ of a client’s needs - Most other equipment rental players in the region will cater to 15-20% of the client’s needs at best. The other big differentiator is that unlike any other rental company of our type, Byrne has a depot network and teams of rental professionals stationed across the GCC, and we have plans to soon expand further afield with Singapore and Indonesia as the most likely locations on our agenda.


Is it true that most companies in the region aren’t used to leasing equipment?
This is very true. From our market research, I can give you an example - In Australia, of all the equipment that is operated in that geography up to 60-70% is leased. In this region, that figure is less than 5%. This shockingly low percentage is not due to lack of willingness on the part of end users of equipment, but is rather to do with the fact that there aren’t many rental and lease suppliers that have the diversity of equipment required or who can provide the level of service required.


What projects are you looking at in the oil and gas industry?
We recently signed several significant contracts to provide rig camps through our Spacemaker/Byrne Technical services business. We are also building BRMs [blast-resistant modules] which we offer to the market on a sale or rental basis. We are also at an advanced stage of bringing our Hybrid power generator to the market and developing solutions based around solar power We are also moving into hybrid generators, flare capture technology and solar power.


What is your capacity in working with solar and hybrid power?
Within the solar sector we are working on multiple projects supplying 5 MW or 40 MW of power, depending on the client’s needs - this is not small scale. We also support our client’s solar requirements coupled with conventional power as required.
Over the last 18 months we’ve been developing a single hybrid product for the market, with specialized lead crystal batteries, bespoke rectifiers coupled with a 1,000-hour service interval engine which requires less maintenance. We underpin this with a dedicated management system to get the most out of the solution which we have recently launched into the market.

What technology are you implementing internally and how do you envision your growth?
We are finalising the implantation stages of a state-of-the-art ERP [enterprise resource planning] system which will assist the 25% growth we achieve annually. The growth is partially due to our flexibility in opening new offices – as an example we can open an office anywhere in the world within three months and have ‘boots on the ground’ with a fully enabled equipment rental depot. In the future we have plans to develop AI and Blockchain which will support our intelligence software.


What are you hoping to accomplish in 2019?
We aim to continue growing our established business verticals while implementing our budget. We want to continue to make a sustained and significant push into the oil and gas industry and expand our offering to oil and gas companies. Regionally, we are planning to open a major rental and lease operation in Jazan in Saudi Arabia. Finally we are forecasting significant growth for our Spacemaker business across the region and in new markets beyond the GCC.


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