Subsea Sector Zones in on MENA Opportunities

North Sea-based subsea companies will discover how to unlock a growing number of opportunities in the offshore Arabian Gulf at a key presentation being staged by HFI Consulting International.

Managing partner Hugh Fraser and international business development consultant Adrian Phillips will be joining Subsea UK for a lunch and learn event being staged for its members in Aberdeen on May 22.

Together they will underline the potential growth within the offshore and subsea sector in this region – a territory which many UK companies still consider as being one of the most difficult markets to break into.

And they will also share details of HFI’s solution to this – a collaborative bridgehead cluster venture (BCV) which will enable five like-minded companies with distinct synergies to form a joint venture.

Mr Fraser said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for members of Subsea UK to understand the growth potential in the light of much increased exploration and production activities in the Arabian Gulf.

“We’ll be setting out the current scene for the Middle East and North Africa as a whole, looking at the challenges, themes and opportunities that exist, from how these countries will respond to the energy transition to the increased importance being placed on in-country value.

“The most recent figures from the EIC DataStream show that billions of dollars are being invested into major offshore upstream projects in the Arabian Gulf, including the Hail and Ghasha Sour Gas Development and Upper Zakum Project in the UAE; Saudi’s activity in the Marjan and Zuluf fields; and Qatar’s Bul Hanine redevelopment and Barzan Gas north field.

“Opportunities for the subsea sector are emerging at a rate never seen before, and the aim of HFI is to help UK-based companies set up or expand their operations there. As subsea is an embryonic market for this region, operators will need the knowledge and experience of the North Sea as they move forward with these developments.”




HFI has developed the BCV as an alternative route to market, differing from existing models such as using local agents, setting up sole or joint ventures or through direct contracts. It works on the basis that the five companies – believed by HFI to the optimum number for the project – take an equal share of fixed costs and business development work.

The venture is managed during the start-up phased by HFI through an interim general manager, who will be responsible for identified local partners, obtaining vendor approvals, and undertaking all registration and licensing.

Overall, the cluster approach aims save time, money and streamline the process of launch in an overseas market. The overarching aim is to establish a platform where each participant will achieve a new incremental gross revenue of not less than US$1.5m within 12 to 24 months.

In addition to explaining the BCV, Hugh and Adrian will give further details on the concept behind the HFI pathway initiative. This takes the front end of the BCV concept – identification of route to market and local partners, due diligence, creation of commercial terms, and provision of legal services – to help companies make an informed decision on whether the time is right for them to join the full BCV.

Hugh added: “This is different to any other route to market that exists and seeks to address many of the reasons new business ventures fail in MENA, such as lack of market verification, failure to identify a right-fit local partner, absence of an in-country presence and full-time manager, and investment and cashflow challenges.

“We’ve had a very positive reaction to the BCV concept – and the pathfinder element – from UK companies and we look forward to sharing this with members of Subsea UK.”