‘Oilman’ shares positive perspectives on the Sultanate’s oil and gas sector

When Dutch born Canadian, oil and gas service industry executive, Rene VandenBrand arrived in the capital last month, as part of a global fact-finding mission, the current oil revenue situation probably dictated a rather stoical approach to issues facing the sector, the region, and the wider global oil and gas industry. By contrast, a rather affable, engaging, quite liberal individual emerged, with not only a realistic appreciation of the industry’s issues and challenges, but an established record of working with Omani partner companies, and positive messages for Omani businesses, jobseekers, and students.
The Chief Executive Officer of RGL Reservoir Management Inc an Alberta; Canada based entity established more than 30 years ago, VandenBrand heads an operation with around 250 employees across manufacturing facilities in Alberta, Canada; Taft, California, and Nizwa,. Currently, RGL employs a workforce of 34 in the Sultanate, at its Nizwa facility, which is managed by Production Manager Wilhelm Bosman. I
Explaining RGL’s commitment to Oman, VandenBrand said, “Oman has a large, successful heavy oil development in the Mukhaisna field, where Occidental, on behalf of Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), is our largest customer, though not exclusively. Our business is essentially producing sand control solutions in the form of slotted or seamed well liners, with our product well suited to the demands of the unique Mukhaisnah project.”
Primarily involved in seismic oil and gas exploration sub-contracting to PDO, in 1996 and has for the last twenty years, been active in the country, he is positive about the industry in the future.
He shared, “Oil and Gas continues to be the dominant source of energy to the world, a situation which will continue to be so, as the incremental gains of alternative energy sources are, by comparison, minimal.”
He added, “We will need alternative energies such as solar and wind generation in the future, however this doesn’t represent a risk to current conventional oil and gas practices, because global demand continues to grow as lesser developed regions, develop.”
Questioned as to RGL’s environmental profile, he expressed, “Everyone in this industry must have a strong sense of environmental responsibility. We recognise we do have an impact on the environment, and that’s why research and development continue to form a substantial component of our business… I care about the planet, on a number of levels, and the reality is that the industry is actually finding that it can be much more empathic in managing its ecological responses to nature’s, and the planet’s needs, through continued technological advances that improve energy efficiency.”
“The latest oil revenue downturn has put pressure on the industry, and global national economies, VandenBrand explained, “however that has driven an even greater technological revolution, particularly in terms of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, which are enabling access to previously un-economic reservoirs. Had these technological advances not been made, a global shortage of energy resources may have been the spectre of today. This industry has an excellent history of technological development, and is motivated to keep pushing the envelope, even further.”
He also said, “There has been a reluctance, or maybe investors are just being more careful, about investing in oil and gas because of the volatility, and that’s their prerogative. Offshore operations are probably finding investment more challenging for now, but across the board we are probably on a par with other forms of investment.”
VandenBrand offered what is surely a reassuring response, from the Omani perspective, when asked about the future of oil prices. “With respect to the price of oil, my view is that the price will always be volatile, but will continue to have an upward bias. I say that purely from the perspective that fossil fuels are still, and will continue for the foreseeable future, to be the primary source of energy for a world that continues to require more and more energy. Major markets like China and India are developing economies, with huge populations that require significantly more energy to meet their needs.”