Saudi Arabia Review

Nasser ... focus on quality

Nasser ... focus on quality

Sigas plans to upgrade

The Saudi-based firm eyes opening a new industrial gases filling station in the kingdom by April this year

NEXT year Saudi Industrial Gas Company Limited (Sigas) will celebrate its 60th year of service in Saudi Arabia. It will be a time to reflect on the company’s distinguished history, initially as the country’s first industrial gases company back in 1955 and its impressive evolution since.

The company entered a strategic partnership with German’s Linde Gas in 2008, creating a powerful brand combining Linde’s technical expertise with Sigas’ comprehensive local market knowledge, delivered through manufacturing facilities in Dammam and Jeddah and support offices across Saudi Arabia.

Today, ISO9001:2008-certified Linde-Sigas is Saudi Arabia’s second-biggest industrial gases company, meeting demand for international-quality bulk, industrial, medical and specialty gases from industries including oil and gas exploration, refining and petrochemicals, plastics, aluminium, firefighting and construction.

“We don’t just sell gas – our reputation is as a project-focused, total solutions provider for industrial gases for the oil and gas and other sectors in Saudi Arabia and the region,” says Rami Nasrat Nasser, head of sales and marketing, Saudi Arabia and trading director Middle East for Linde-Sigas.

Nasser says safety and quality lie at the heart of the company’s customer-centric philosophy.

“We are dealing with very high pressure gas cylinders, so safety is naturally of utmost importance,” he notes, adding that joint safety training exercises are conducted with customers such as Aramco, Sabic and PetroRabigh to spread the message. The company says products which meet the highest international standards are, meanwhile, achieved through highly sophisticated process monitoring, quality control & assurance procedures and systems, backed up by a highly trained workforce, many of whom are Saudi.

According to George Beretsos, managing director, Linde-Sigas, the company is now in the midst of a 50 million Euro ($69.3 million) strategic upgrade of facilities at its Dammam headquarters. A new industrial gases filling station is expected to be operational in April this year offering very high pressure filling up to 300 bar for the first time in Saudi Arabia; while an air separation unit (ASU) is expected to come online in Q3 2015.

The enhanced capabilities at Dammam will, says Beretsos, support Linde-Sigas’ expansion plans, including a broader move into nitrogen services for the oil and gas industry – demand for which is growing for applications such as well drilling, workover and completion, stimulation and enhanced oil recovery, as well as in pipeline pigging and purging.

Sigas has for many years supplied small quantities of liquid nitrogen to Aramco on an urgent basis, and co-operates with Halliburton and Schlumberger on specific projects.

“Linde US has long been renowned for its expertise in nitrogen services. Following consultations, Aramco suggested we introduce a full nitrogen service for the first time in Saudi Arabia,” says Beretsos.

“We have the raw material nitrogen, we have the delivery infrastructure, and with our new investments we can expand this side of the business to be a complete service provider not only to Aramco but also to the likes of Sabic, Yasref and Sadara,” he adds.

In tandem with its strategic investments, Linde-Sigas is also continuing to develop the skills of its workforce of more than 400 people, in particular Saudi nationals who increasingly occupy senior positions in the company. Nasser points out that 60 per cent of the management team are currently nationals.

In 2009, the company, which falls within the upper green zone of the nitaqat system governing the recruitment and development of Saudi nationals, launched ‘Saudi College’, an internal programme which aims to attract and develop young graduate citizens. These graduates undergo a six-month training programme gaining experience in different disciplines within the company, with those showing particular promise considered for international training in Germany.

“It is much more than meeting quotas and ticking boxes,” says Nasser. “It is about empowering individuals. It also reflects Linde-Sigas’ commitment to supporting Saudi labour policy.”

Equipped with new strategic assets and a skilled indigenous workforce, Linde-Sigas is optimistic about the future. Beretsos says upcoming industrial developments in Jizan and northern Saudi Arabia hold great potential.

To support its future plans, Nasser reveals that Linde-Sigas is planning to establish an ‘Application Centre’ in Dammam to develop GCC-specific end use gas applications, addressing local parameters such as climatic and environmental conditions.

More Stories