So, here we are, on the cusp of what some are now calling a recovery… so is that right?
I spent the first week of May this year at the annual OTC event, and it was spectacularly obvious that the show’s attendance had fallen dramatically from 2014, by half as it was reported. There was no doubt this year though as our team waited patiently for the attendees to, well, attend, they just were not forth coming in any kind of substantial way.
So, how was OTC this year? For OES, whilst being quiet, it was not all bad. As a company 2015 saw us have to reduce headcount, which we have managed mostly by natural wastage although some hard decisions had to be taken. We have also looked long and hard as a business at what we need and what we want, and found the two are very different. Our team is working longer and harder to make things happen and has ensured the company manages itself in every way through this long drought. Right now I am considering increasing the OES team holiday allowances due to the amount of time so many are putting in travelling the world to service our ever expanding customer base.
What we have seen is a real focus on quality and where money is spent. We have also seen decision making from our customers become keener and easier to comprehend and indeed benefit from. This is not always good news as frankly, as in any downturn, it does sometimes simply come down to price. OES cannot compete with some as we have higher costs, those costs though are what differentiates OES from many, if not all, our direct competitors. Our permanent staff model is one we have stuck by, despite it being at the expense of profits. As a privately owned company I can make the decision to stand by our 20 year reputation for quality, defined by OES’ investment in people of the highest calibre and a permanent employee model for all our field inspectors.
I believe in investing, and have continued to through this two year downturn. Anyone who doubts this just needs to have seen OES scoop one of the coveted Spotlight on New Technology awards at OTC this year. I proudly stood on stage along side billion dollar enterprises such as Baker Hughes, Halliburton, GE Oil and Gas and Schlumberger to receive our recognition on investment and innovation.
Yes, I did say two year as it is now coming to an end, and those who follow me will have read my prediction of USD 50 oil mid-year, moving on up from there as the year goes on to mid USD 60’s and beyond. I predicted this the end of last year, and reiterated the same in February and later still, even with so called experts clamouring about oil never seeing north of USD 30 again.
Well, here we are closing in on mid-year, and here we are touching USD 50 barrel oil, currently Brent, shortly WTI too. I am ready to see the revitalisation of my business, and due to my investment OES, and Askaris for that matter, will be ready to receive the recognition by emerging stronger, more innovative than ever, and ready to pick up and support our customers with the very latest cost saving and technologically superior solutions we’ve ever displayed. Additionally we look at significant strategic partnerships and how our existing innovative award winning technology can truly benefit like minded partners who can bring their technology to match with our know how and oilfield upstream expertise and deliver world class inspection solutions. One of these is very close to announcement, watch out, as I’m going to surprise many!
We have also had a real chance to focus on customer service, understanding our customers real needs and desires, and been able to establish our brand more strongly than ever before. Our market share has increased incredibly of late, whilst total spend is dramatically down, once things do start to settle and spend increases I believe we are going to have to carefully progress in ramping up world wide operations…lets just hope it comes in stages and not everywhere all at once. I have been watching and choreographing our business structure to be ready for the uptick, expecting that it could be fast paced. I have given away short term profits with a long term view on quality and sustainability whilst ensuring the service OES customers have come to know so well is not only maintained, indeed, of late improved, and significantly so.
So, how was OTC 2016, it was the preface of a new book, and in the coming weeks we will be beginning the first new chapter, and for sure it will be a good read.