Rao Abdullah, Vice President, APAC, Halliburton
16 December 2015
What are your strategic priorities and growth targets for the next 12-24 months?
My strategic priorities in the next 1-2 years include
a) Providing ever increasing cost-efficiencies in oilfield services for our E&P clients
b) Solidifying our company as the largest oilfield service company
c) Ensuring we grow, deliver, innovate and develop our talent with safety as our top priority
Where do you see the greatest opportunity in the O&G market and how are you positioned to capture this opportunity?
I firmly believe that true integration and collaboration between operators and service companies is one of the largest opportunities we have and one that is required to really improve productivity at lower costs. Dramatically improving performance and reducing costs can be achieved via collaboration models and risk/reward sharing between operators and companies like ours. We have multiple success stories to demonstrate that is the case. We have the technology, the appetite, the human talent and the business models necessary to capitalize on this opportunity for integration and innovation at better margins for all those involved.
What do you foresee as the greatest challenge to our industry’s future growth?
Today there are several large challenges to our industry’s growth. One fairly evident is that we are not seeing just a temporary supply and demand imbalance correction. We are not seeing a “v-shaped” rebound and experts predict that we may be in for a ride characterized by up and down cycles every 12-18 months. The largest fear seems to be associated with the demand shortfall which does not need to be drastic to produce incredibly large drops in commodity prices.
The challenge then is to decide where operators can go to lock in their demand and how to thrive in a business environment that is oversupplied. To ensure growth companies need to find effective ways to drive capital and operating efficiency. Only then will everyone preserve their margins and maintain reinvestment rates necessary to increase production, retain talent, develop and implement new technology, which are all key drivers for growth.
These are tough market conditions with depressed oil prices and global reductions in capex and workforce, what measures and practices are you putting in place to adapt to this new (but not unknown) working environment?
As Charles Darwin put it: ”It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change”.
We are working to be in the latter category. It’s no secret that we have needed to implement significant changes to our cost base to achieve the required agility and operational efficiency in the current environment. This varies from region to region and from country to country. We are also combining our knowledge, technology, solutions and people talents to augment our client’s commercial and operational effectiveness in many places via novel business models based on integrated services under performance based and risk sharing schemes.
If you could wave a magic wand over the global industry, what would you change and why?
I would eliminate from the face of the earth the devastation generated by ISIL/ ISIS not only in the oil industry but in humanity. With this abominable group potentially in control of major oil fields nothing good can be expected. The consequences for energy markets and the financial system would be potentially catastrophic.
Maybe add a second wish to make the general public worldwide knowledgeable enough to understand that we (the oil industry) are not the environmental devil that we are portrayed as. We all live in a world we want to keep safe and clean for our future generations.
How would you describe your company in once sentence to a new investor/client?
Halliburton is a top performing, oilfield service delivery company that you can trust, offering the world’s broadest array of products, services and integrated solutions for oil and gas exploration, development and production.
You are attending our 2016 Asia Pacific Assembly, what is your goal at this event and what take-away(s) do you want attendees to go home with regarding your company and your work in Asia Pacific?
I would like to gain further awareness around possibilities to collaborate with multiple entities to drive a positive change in the oil Industry in our region. At the same time I would like the attendees to recognize that we in Halliburton stand ready to help clients and partners achieve their strategic goals in traditional and also very novel ways.
How did you come to be in the O&G industry?
By accident, it was not a planned move.
What is your proudest work-related achievement to date?
Moving from Finance (support services) to Operations
What one businessman/women do you admire most and why?
Robert Kuok – his honesty
What was the wisest advice you received from a mentor?
“Impossible is only in the dictionary of fools”
What advice would you pass onto a recent graduate embarking on a career in O&G?
This is not a doom and gloom industry. We are only going through a phase, this time the phase is slightly longer due to changes is dynamics of the ”supply”.
How and where do you prefer to spend your spare time?
Golf and Family
What is your all-time favourite book?
What is you all-time favourite film?
When Harry meets Sally
What three items would you take with you to a desert island?
Golf clubs, golf balls and golf accessories
About Rao Abdullah
Rao Abdullah is Vice President of Halliburton’s Asia Pacific Region. Based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, he is responsible for the region’s management, strategic leadership and development for long-term growth.
Before this appointment, Mr. Abdullah served Halliburton as Area Vice President for Central Asia, then eventually took on the role of Area Vice President for Central Asia and Southeast Asia. Earlier, he served as Area Manager for Central Asia, overseeing Malaysia and Brunei.
Mr. Abdullah joined Halliburton in 1995 as Finance Manager for Malaysia. In the course of his tenure with the Company, he has also held roles as Shared Services Manager for Southeast Asia, and as Business Development Manager and Country Manager for Central Asia.