Weir Arabian Metals Company

Rapid response engineering

Weir Arabian Metals Company is an engineering and general machining subsidiary of the Saudi-based Olayan Group, and UK based Weir Group.

The company is a key service provider to the oil field industry. It was established in 1977, primarily to serve the oil field industry in the eastern region of Saudi Arabia from its base in Dammam Second Industrial Estate. During the initial 28-year period that AMCO operated, it provided engineering and general machining services to oil field operators and service companies, specialising in the repair and re-certification of drilling components.

Mr Anthony Dekker, general manager, spoke to European Oil and Gas Magazine about how the company has progressed since forming a joint venture with Weir Group: “This joint venture was formed in order to strengthen the local manufacturing capabilities in the kingdom and bring world class technology to the country and it has been very successful. We have industry best processes and we are able to respond to customers quickly. The company has an excellent reputation for quality and service; we are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year; and we are a preeminent vendor and service support organisation for the oil and gas industry.”

Supporting the oil industry
The company’s main client, in terms of oil production and oil field operation, is Saudi Aramco, with which it has an ongoing service contracts. “We also count the leading oil field services companies among our customers,” asserts Mr Dekker, “such as Halliburton, Schlumberger and Baker Hughes, as well as drilling companies, including Nabors, Arabian Drilling Company (ADC), Saipem and Transocean. In addition, we work for SEC (Saudi Electricity Company) and SABIC. We have invested heavily in machine tooling to support the requirements and demands of our customers, and we are committed to meeting and exceeding Saudisation regulations, our efforts being driven by both of our joint-venture partners: Olayan and Weir.”

Weir Arabian Metals Company is structured into four core product and service segments: tubular equipment and accessories; valve, BOP and wellhead recertification, nitrogen gas testing & repair and API accessories manufacturing; rotating equipment; and spare parts manufacturing.

Mr Dekker described each of these areas of activity: “The tubular segment includes the inspection, repair and recertification of drill pipes, tubing, crossover subs and everything else that goes into an oil well. Within this segment, we have licence agreements with several international companies, such as Vallourec, Hunting, Nippon Steel, Tenaris Hydril and Grant Prideco, for the repair of premium connections. These are specific and special threads that are machined onto the tubing, and we are licensed to perform the recut and re-certification of these parts, so that they can go back into the field as soon as possible. We also manufacture the accessories X overs and pup joints locally in Saudi to American Petroleum Institute standards 5CT, 5 DP and 7-1.

“The valve and wellhead segment incorporates re-certifications of blowout preventers, and we are authorised to repair pressure control equipment for General Electric, Hydril and NOV Shaffer. Additionally we repair, certify and manufacture flow and pressure control manifolds to API 16C specification. We also repair, re-certify and manufacture API 6A wellhead and Christmas tree equipment.”

Due to an increase in demand Weir Arabian Metals Company has just completed building a purpose built nitrogen testing facility, with the capability to pressure test up to 15,000 Psi. The tests are monitored by remote cameras and all pressure tests are recorded using the latest digital chart recorders. The types of equipment tested here are tubing spools, low master valves and all the gate vales that fit onto the mentioned equipment.

“The rotating equipment segment is a division that has been added into the overall services that we provide,” he continued, “and it involves anything that has to do with the repair, maintenance and upgrading of rotating equipment, be it centrifugal pumps or compressors, steam turbines, blowers or gearboxes. In the case of centrifugal pumps, Weir is well known around the world for being one of the leading designers and manufacturers. Part of the service that we offer to our customers is hydraulic upgrades and re-rates of existing pumps that have been in operation for many years, and which are not supported by the OEM in the form of repairs or spare parts supply.

“In our fourth division, the manufacturing of spare parts, we get involved in supplying customers with spare parts that are re-designed, and we also re-engineer existing equipment.”

Saudi’s number one facility
The company is not only capable of manufacturing parts with a high degree of precision, but can also repair and fabricate components weighing up to 15 tonnes, thanks to its state-of-the-art facilities. As part of its long-term strategy to achieve growth and diversification, the company has recently more than doubled its size, and now operates from two adjacent sites with a combined area of 35,000 square metres. “We have heavy tooling resources for the products that we produce; testing facilities, where we can test up to 30,000 pounds per square inch; and cladding and welding facilities, which allow us to perform re-certification, repair and maintenance of components,” Mr Dekker explained. “When it comes to facilities, we consider ourselves to be number one in Saudi Arabia, because we have comprehensive tooling facilities. Research and development activities are carried out by Weir, and it provides support to us for anything that requires the design or re-design of rotating equipment or spare parts.

“We employ around 200 people and run two shifts per day, while the skills that we have on board range from machinists and quality control managers to technical inspectors and engineers. We have an engineering department for both the oil field and the rotating equipment sectors, and this is staffed by mechanical engineers, who provide expert assistance in the development of designs and specific procedures for repairs and manufacturing. Our dedication to the continuous development of our employees also extends to their health and safety in the workplace, which we, as management, take extremely seriously,” he affirmed.

Response, response, response
“Essentially, we are a service company, and we carry out our business on a very dynamic, day-to-day basis, rather than a project basis,” explained Mr Dekker. “The name of the game for us, so to speak, is ‘response, response, response’, because the customer does not need things done today, it needs them done yesterday. Sometimes, a customer will send a part to us in a truck, which will wait while we repair it or manufacture a spare part, and then it will take the part straight back to the customer’s rig or plant, so that they can continue with their operations. We have a number of ongoing service contracts in place with our customers, whereby, as soon as something goes wrong they get in contact with us and we fulfil their requirement with as short a time delay as possible.”

Asked to highlight some of the attributes that enable the company to guarantee such a reliable and expeditious service, Mr Dekker drew attention, once again, to the company’s extensive facilities. “We are not 100 per cent vertically integrated, as such, but we consider ourselves a one-stop shop for customers because we are able to provide every service that they need. In addition, ours is the only authorised repair facility in the Kingdom for GE Hydril, NOV Shaffer, Denco equipment, and the approved facility for wellhead equipment repair for three of the biggest OEM’s in the drilling and production system business.

Engineering growth
Looking ahead, Weir Arabian Metals Company will continue to build on its reputation for state-of-the-art capabilities; a comprehensive range of quality products, backed up by full engineering support; and unmatched after-sales service. “We certainly saw the market decline in late 2008 and throughout 2009, due to the economic difficulties around the world, but, in 2010, things improved gradually, as the year went on,” Mr Dekker concluded. “So far, 2011 seems to be progressing well, and the situation in our market has become more upbeat. We are really hoping that 2011 will be a year where we can regain what we lost during the crisis.

“At the moment, in terms of our facilities, we certainly have sufficient capability to serve our customers and be able to respond to their needs in good time. Nevertheless, we are in the process of expanding our rotating equipment facility to service compressors and steam turbines locally, with a view to doubling its capacity, because we are expecting that particular business segment to grow tremendously this year, due to an increased volume of activity in the region.

“Geographically speaking, Saudi Arabia is an extremely large market, and it is certainly big enough in terms of the amount of business that is available to us. Today our activities are currently concentrated in the eastern part of the Kingdom.”

Weir Arabian Metals Company
Services: Engineering and general machining