Egyptian Drilling Company: Investing in employee safety

Egyptian Drilling Company: Investing in employee safety

We speak with Egyptian Drilling Company’s new CEO, Jeppe Jensen, regarding the company’s exciting new ventures and investments within employee safet...

Obtaining a balance sheet which currently sits above $1 billion, Egyptian Drilling Company (EDC) has come a long way since its establishment back in the 1970s. Employing around 4700 employees, EDC is one of the largest drilling contractors in Egypt, Africa and the Middle East, harboring 71 onshore and offshore units, expanding into Libya, Qatar, West Africa and Gabon.

For 20 years, the company has built a setup in Saudi Arabia that has grown exponentially - so much so that its operations in the region are close in revenue to half of EDC’s main business operations. “We’re covering the Egyptian market with almost 65 percent, so that’s our market share,” explains Jeppe Jensen, CEO of EDC. “So, quite a solid position, and a very interesting business to be part of.”

Joining the company this year, Jensen explains that developing strong partnerships with stakeholders, alongside National and International Oil Companies remains a key priority. This is on top of undertaking internal governance as a result of sitting in a public-private partnership, so shareholder interests need to be a heavy focus. “It is also about having a finger on the pulse and seeing what is happening in such a competitive market,” explains Jensen. “My role involves talking to our team, visiting our rigs and seeing what is going on the ground and getting inspiration from our people, in addition to meeting with our customers and understanding the temperature of the market.”

Stakeholder engagement

Delivering a long-term, sustainable business model, EDC ensures that heavy emphasis is placed on guaranteeing recurring business, as well as providing significant financial returns to shareholders. Jensen adds: “Besides International Oil Companies, we also have a host of suppliers; one key strategic partner for instance is ExxonMobil Egypt, which is our sole supplier of oils and greases lubrication solutions. EDC has long and successful strategic partnerships with a number of suppliers, enjoying a wide range of benefits, both technical and commercial, which contribute to the world class performance that we deliver to our customers”.

 “The International Oil Companies (IOCs) see us as their preferred partner, and we are very proud of that. We are receiving good feedback.”

The company’s five core values have been embedded since its establishment in 1976, in order to remain competitive and provide quality drilling services. These are: Uprightness, Humbleness, Constant Care, Employees and Company name. Such values are also shared by EDC’s shareholders.

Jensen explains: “There is a meaning behind all of those values and it is about being a good corporate citizen; doing things right today, whilst preparing for tomorrow. What it also translates into in a business like ours, is our number one priority - Safety.”

Equipment investment

EDC adopts strict criteria in order to remain competitive in the market. A member of the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC), the company commits to regular maintenance and performance checks, ensuring all drilling rigs and associated equipment are of the highest standard in order to reduce risk and guarantee employee safety.

“We are working with heavy equipment and in an environment where we have to be careful, follow processes and know what our colleagues are doing,” says Jensen. “Following our values is an integral part of how we are undertaking the transactional part of our operations, which is very important for us. It also means our stakeholders can put their trust in us.”

Although the company has not bought any new rigs for over five years, EDC is continuously working on improving its technologies and processes in order to keep up with the market and the ever-changing needs of its clients.

Consequently, over the last 10 years EDC has heavily invested in the maintenance of all its drilling rigs, and upgraded them where necessary, in order to cater for specific customer requirements. Jensen explains that all partners have specific needs which are much more than the standard requirements, which the company strenuously meets.

“It is not unusual to upgrade a land rig in excess of $5 million, and it could be all the way up to $50 million for offshore rigs,” he says. “Those are heavy investments, but that’s done to maintain standards and be a competitive market player.” EDCs partnership with key international oil companies has led the company to house the best performing rig worldwide at one of its clients’ global portfolio.

Internal training

With a training centre built specifically for employee development, EDC has invested in sophisticated equipment, offering advanced drilling, safety and technical training to support staff. Although it is only used for internal purposes presently, Jensen adds that it has potential to provide training to external companies in the future.

Furthermore, EDC has acquired a state-of-the-art simulator, DS-5000 six years ago through a $500,000 investment. This has given the company the ability to train staff at any given time to work in the field through a safe training environment.

Regional challenges

Whilst the oil market is competitive, EDC continues to thrive, with the ambition to retain its market share in Egypt. Its success has led the company to look at further opportunities throughout the whole MENA region, both onshore and off-shore, and invest outside of Egypt. EDC is also looking at how to allocate its capital and maintain its position in the domestic market, giving priority to domestic clients in the process.

“We are definitely looking at keeping our competitive edge in Saudi Arabia,” Jensen says. “We are also participating in bids for business in the Gulf, including Qatar and Kuwait.”

Providing an edge over competitors, EDC’s operational uptime has been continuously over 98 percent, while maintaining the highest safety standards of 0.21 LTIFR, which is 0.55 less than International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) averages, enabling the company to be a preferred choice for IOCs.

Jensen concludes: “We apply very high safety standards, while maintaining high uptime, which is what IOCs are looking for. I think we deliver on our promises and that is our edge, and we have proven records of that.”

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