Sohail Mikrani is the Deputy General Manager at Maktoom.
How has Maktoom’s strategic shift from a diversified approach to a focused one in the artificial lift sector contributed to the company’s remarkable success and reputation in the industry?
Sohail Mikrani: Maktoom, founded in 2006, initially lacked a specific focus, undertaking various construction and maintenance projects without a clear strategy. However, in 2010-11, the company shifted towards a focused approach to reduce competition and identify untapped areas. Recognizing the underserved artificial lift sector in Oman, Maktoom secured a significant bid in 2011, marking its entry into this field, and leaving construction behind.
Starting as a service-oriented firm, Maktoom expanded into artificial lift-related product lines, emphasizing a strategy of staying within this sector while offering supporting products and services. We forged partnerships with research and development companies in the artificial lift field, earning a strong reputation in the industry.
Recognizing the underserved artificial lift sector in Oman, Maktoom secured a significant bid in 2011Sohail Mikrani
Our success can be summed up in one word: “key”. Maktoom prioritizes having a skilled workforce, timely responsiveness, and a commitment to “under promise and over deliver.” Rather than making grand promises, we commit to realistic timelines, often delivering ahead of expectations. This philosophy, instilled by Chairman Maktoum al Mahdi’s leadership, builds trust with clients by consistently exceeding expectations.
How does Maktoom stay up-to-date with the latest advancements and technologies in Artificial Lift Systems and Non-Destructive Testing?
Sohail Mikrani: When we began as a service company, our expansion strategy involved diversifying into unique product lines, rather than traditional ones already saturating the market. One example of our commitment to innovation is our adoption of PM (Progressive Cavity Pump) technology, which is relatively new and widely accepted in the artificial lift sector. After a successful year-long trial, there is now substantial market demand for it.
More recently, we introduced Riklis ESP, short for “rig-less electrical submersible pump”, a groundbreaking technology. Unlike traditional pumps that require massive rigs and police permissions for transportation, Riklis ESP eliminates the need for a rig during installation and maintenance, delivering significant cost savings and operational benefits.
When we began as a service company, our expansion strategy involved diversifying into unique product linesSohail Mikrani
This innovation promises to transform the industry by reducing reliance on rigs for pump interventions, exemplifying our dedication to cutting-edge technologies. We have partnered with the creators of this technology and actively promote it in Oman.
Furthermore, our collaboration with a US-based company combining hydraulic and PM technologies has led to the development of an innovative pump currently in trial stages in the US. Upon successful trials, we plan to introduce this product in Oman, further expanding our portfolio of groundbreaking solutions.
Maktoom has expanded into Bahrain and Kuwait and executed short-term projects in Yemen, India, Somaliland, and Iran. Could you provide insights into your operations in these countries?
Sohail Mikrani: Our international expansion efforts began before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. We successfully established a presence in Bahrain, where we have contracts in place and a dedicated team. However, in other countries, we operate on a call-out basis. The clients we serve in Oman are often the same clients who require our services in these other countries.
We successfully established a presence in Bahrain, where we have contracts in place and a dedicated teamSohail Mikrani
Our reputation for under-promising and over-delivering (UPoD) has had a positive impact on our clients. They recognize the quality of our work and recommend us to their counterparts in different countries. This has led to projects in India and even during the pandemic, we managed to mobilize teams in India to fulfill specific job requirements when travel and logistics were challenging.
In Somaliland, we undertook a unique project where we installed a pump due to security concerns. Being a local Omani company, we were more accepted than international American companies. While it was a single installation project, we did not pursue more work there due to various reasons, including security concerns.
In Yemen, we completed a couple of projects for the same American clients, and we are hopeful for more opportunities if the trial projects are successful.
We recognize that expansion requires funding and can strain cash flow. Therefore, we want to ensure that our operations in Oman are solid before considering additional international ventures.
We are also exploring partnerships in Saudi Arabia whose approach aligns with our future expansion plans for Saudi Arabia, where we see significant opportunities, especially in artificial lift systems.