Malaysia's InvestKL Woos Top Oil, Gas MNCs to Base in Kuala Lumpur
“Proximity to the customers and the support ecosystem is very important. That could be considered an advantage,” Teng elaborated.
By working with local Malaysian companies, oil and gas MNCs that relocated to KL may be able to capitalize on the lower cost structure of the former by outsourcing work to these firms rather than trying to do everything by themselves.
MNCs “also benefit local companies through their demand for auxiliary services from these firms,” he added.
Ensure Supply of Talents
The Malaysian government agency seeks to ensure a seamless transition for MNCs that relocated their regional operations to KL, including in key areas such as manpower, where sufficient supply of local or foreign skilled workers are readily available.
“When [foreigners] come [to KL], we allow them to bring their talents. This is to help them minimize disruptions in their operations. But along the way, they will hire a lot more of our people, who are actually very well trained. It’s an ecosystem, so there’s opportunity for locals, especially those with experience,” the InvestKL senior director told Rigzone.
Over the years, Malaysia has been strengthening its talent resources, including those interested in working for the oil and gas industry. Among these are graduates from Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and Universiti Malaya (UM).
“We run structured internship programs for university undergraduates in Malaysia. They were placed, for example, with Schlumberger. They took a lot of interns from our local universities because it’s a resource pool of future talents,” Teng revealed.
InvestKL also helped these oil and gas MNCs in the provision of interns not only from UTM and UM, but also UTP as well as other relevant tertiary institutions.
On skilled expatriates relocating together with the MNCs to KL, Malaysia does not impose a cap on the numbers that can work for these firms.
“Right now we don’t have any cap, but we prefer at least a 1 to 1 ratio in these companies. You cannot have, for example, 90 foreigners and 10 Malaysians. Besides, it doesn’t make sense for your cost structure anyway. We don’t have that problem [so far] as it doesn’t make sense cost-wise. So the MNCs try to maximize the number of locals they hire,” Teng elaborated.
3 ‘B’ Model
Given that oil and gas is a niche industry with specialized manpower needs, InvestKL adopted a 3 ‘B’ model – Bring, Buy and Build to attract MNCs.
“So if you are short [on skilled manpower], we have 3 models. Bring – you are allowed to bring them from elsewhere; Buy – we connect you to the headhunters to look for the right people; and Build – through programs offered by the universities as well as the development of your own people. So it’s a BBB program,” Teng outlined to Rigzone.
In addition, he observed that the manpower supply situation is fairly positive at the moment as there are some Malaysians (skilled oil and gas workers) who wants to return home in the current industry environment.
Earlier this year, McDermott International, Inc. decided to relocate its regional office to KL from Singapore as part of a strategy to address issues arising from the current downturn. Several of its competitors were already based in KL, where strong engineering resources are available. In addition, key suppliers are located in Malaysia, where a vibrant subsea industry operates.
“We have to be positioned to be very competitive in the industry. We see that things will come back … [but customers] will be very cost conscious and competitive,” Hugh Cuthbertson, McDermott’s vice president, Asia, said April 13 during a media briefing at Keppel Shipyard in Singapore ahead of the launch of its new flagship derrick lay vessel DLV 2000.
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