My colleague Mile read out an interesting report from the local newspaper earlier this week.
Apparently, 400,000 people were expected at the ADIPEC show.
Heavens above, we thought, can you imagine the crush?
Fortunately that figure turned out to be a typo, and the real number is a lower, but still highly respectable, 40,000 souls.
Goodbye from the ADIPEC, where 40,000 professional visitors turned up to network and do business.
Still, it reminded me of a colleague who, as a budding journalist, wrote an article in which he referred to winged dogs.
By that he meant companies whose desire for growth was perhaps a tad more ambitious than realistic.
Now, I have heard plenty of stories this week about development, growth, strategies and the like, but (that single newspaper headline excepted) I haven’t yet come across any poochies desperate to get airborne.
So what have I heard?
Well, here are some genuine quotes:
“We are going to build a new warehouse in the Middle East.”
“The Middle East has opportunity, ambition, technology and experience.”
“Oman is a wonderful place to live.”
“You’ll find sixty per cent of the world’s oil and gas here, so the possibilities are everywhere.”
“We have invested in a large scale manufacturing unit in the UAE.”
“The Middle East is a key sales region for us and we are here to stay.”
“The Middle East is logistically an ideal place to be, so close to India and the Far East.”
Now, many of the people I spoke to have kindly agreed to have their interviews published.
So watch this space for some written reports as well as video clips in which level-headed businessmen discuss concrete stategies.
Trust me, the only thing taking to the skies from ADIPEC will be me (plus several thousand other visitors) as we look to get home at the end of a tiring, but exceptionally valuable, exhibition.
According to the official blurb, the ADIPEC presents itself as the total oil and gas show.
By my reckoning, that is spot on, for I am near total exhaustion!
Today the plan was to take a gentle stroll through the halls, looking for video angles.
By mid-morning, my back was aching, my ears were ringing and my camera battery had required several recharge operations.
You see, there is simply so much to see and do here.
To give you the numbers: there are twelve halls at this purpose-built expo centre.
And for the ADIPEC, all twelve are packed to bursting point.
The standholders range from the oil and gas majors, through to the engineering contractors, the trading houses, the manufacturers, the service companies, etc etc etc.
And it is not just me who is absolutely overwhelmed.
Many of the visitors I spoke to were laden down with brochures, whilst many stand holders reported they were running dangerously low on business cards.
But let me be honest, although people may be physically tired they are extremely energized at the same time.
As I hinted yesterday, it seems that there is a real sense of purpose and optimism here in the Middle East. Many companies I spoke to had serious plans to boost their local presence.
In fact, a number of them kindly agreed to be interviewed about their strategies on film.
My goal is to have these ADIPEC videos on line as soon as possible.
So please do watch this space to see what others are planning on doing in the region.
High score on the crush index
The ADIPEC show picked up a gear today, Tuesday.
According to the show figures, over 10,000 people visited yesterday when the show opened.
According to my unofficial ‘crush index’ (based on how packed the aisles are!) then the Expo easily exceeded that number today.
So when I did get to speak to the standholders they were understandably pressed for time, but definitely buoyant.
Mile Avramovic (centre) was kept busy answering visitor questions at our stand.
These talks, however brief, have certainly refined by meagre understand of the Middle East.
For example, the financial pie may be substantial, but suppliers are having to work hard to earn a slice.
As one highly placed CEO for a Middle East supply company said: “We are located in close proximity to India and China, so we have to be financially very smart.”
The eagerness of expo staff to discuss challenges and solutions of both a technical and commercial nature was mirrored in the conference halls.
A key topic at today’s conference has been how to match energy supply with demand.
The message is that gas is becoming central to keeping up with demand but that the industry needs to be properly supported and regulated.
As one speaker said: “Gas remains the fuel of choice in the transition to a low carbon economy, but it could be a long transition.”
So it seems that wherever you turn, people are actively talking and discussing the future.
If you are planning a visit to the ADIPEC, then please do drop by our stand: CN035. We’d be delighted to hear your take on the business climate.
The 14th ADIPEC opened yesterday, Monday 1st November, and immediately drew in an impressive audience from around the globe.
High calibre dignitaries such as H.H. Sheikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan toured the expo together with ministers, government officials etc.
Other attendees also turned out in force, and queues quickly built up at the entrances.
The ADIPEC draws in exhibitors and visitors from around the globe.
Airline-style security was in place, but was efficient and hassle-free.
Once inside, guests were in for a treat. It seems like everyone who is anybody in the Middle East oil and gas business is here.
The oil companies are of course well in evidence, with some impressive stands. That also holds for many of the engineering companies.
Further along the supply chain, there are a whole host of regional and international suppliers and manufacturers.
Everyone that Valve World spoke to seems optimistic about business here.
“The price of a barrel of oil means that end users have money available to maintain existing facilities and also invest in new projects,” said one busy standholder.
Given this level of investment it comes as no surprise to find many new suppliers eager to tap into this market.
From China, one supplier said he was looking to compensate a downturn in the Asian shipbuilding industry by developing products for the oil and gas market.
Another supplier who was also trying to enter the market said that the Middle East is a place you simply cannot afford to overlook.
No surprise in that, you might think, until you hear where this particular supplier comes from….
The Valve World stand on Sunday afternoon, ready for action!
All this week, you can read live daily reports from the Valve World team at the ADIPEC show in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
The ADIPEC is probably the most important oiland gas show in the region, held every two years.
Given its significance, Valve World has booked a stand and sent along a three-man hit squad, comprising Ladan Pourtork, Mile Avramovic and the undersigned, David Sear.
Our goals are to get a better understanding of the regional oil and gas business, to make contact with local suppliers and end users and, of course, to spread the word about the Valve World community.
A lot has changed since I was last here, back in 2004.
For one thing, the ADIPEC has moved to a brand spanking new exhibition centre. This is truly a magnificient building, and is a worthy site for a show of such major importance.
Also, the traffic seems to have become even more conjested as well, but that could be due to some major roadworks currently underway.
The Marine Mall in Abu Dhabi offers a fantastic selection of boutiques and designer stores.
Back to business. Our booth was quickly set up on Sunday morning, so we used the remaining time for a fact-finding mission around Abu Dhabi.
Given the heat – it may be November but it’s still 33 degrees out there folks – we played safe and headed for the biggest shopping precinct of them all – the Marina Mall.
What we can report is that the prices in the boutiques and designer shops ar on a par with other locations (thanks to Ladan for that Intel).
Mile and I meanwhile went looking for bargains and in the downstairs supermarket found some discount jewellery and sunglasses at 28 Dirhams a pop (that’s about 5 euros, and is money well spent considering how intense the sun is.)
Still, we are refreshed, prepared, and looking forward to the hussle and bussle of the ADIPEC which gets underway tomorrow, Monday. Watch this space!