By the end of this year, all executives of the oil sector with more than 35 years of experience including the chief executive officer will have to retire. This means Kuwait’s oil sector is being cleared of more than 35 years of valuable experience.
This policy is unfortunately applicable in all government sectors including government-owned companies and corporations. Such a policy is causing our country to lose its experienced employees even if they are less than 60 years of age.
Referring top executives of all levels to r e t i r e m e n t will lead to deterioration in all levels. In the long run, we may have to depend on expatriates, but again they also have to retire. So it is a lost cause in all levels of the government sectors without any exception.
The call to hire a new managing director in our oil industry from outside the sector can bring in new visions and new ideas into the current establishments without bringing in any baggage, commitments, or friends and colleagues.
Unlike the past five managing directors who followed the “copy-paste” method in terms of carrying out the established policies and strategies that were followed by their predecessors, the arrival of new executives and ministers would extend the objectives and plans for another five to ten years.
None of our MDs fulfilled the objectives of our oil industry from increasing Kuwait’s oil production to above 3.15 million barrels per day to building new refineries and upgrading the current ones. All such plans were met with delays and technical problems such as the case of Vietnam and new Al-Zour refineries which are facing legal issues in court.
This is all due to shortage of experienced, skilled and knowledgeable personnel and executives. How do you expect any industry to develop with limited experienced people who run four mega projects at the same time? Our recommendation is to hire a new executive from outside the oil sector to run Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) but with some experience in other sectors, new visions and ideas, and without any strings attached or obligations towards anybody.
He should be fresh in the oil industry with a clean page. Such an executive can take his time in understanding the industry, bringing onboard fresh ideas that can challenge the present goals and objectives of KPC, and insisting on not having any obligations towards the past practices of KPC’s establishments. The oil industry is neither very complex nor complicated that no one can run it except people with oil experience. The examples of the past MDs of KPC were so disappointing that there is no need to call for another from within KPC again.
By Kamel Al-Harami Independent Oil Analyst