I understand there have been recent changes at INOVA – what is your position and how long have you held this position?
In March 2010, INOVA Geophysical was formed as the result of a joint venture between ION Geophysical and BGP, the world’s largest geophysical service company. The new venture provided mutual benefits for both companies, ION needed the ability to test its new technology in the field, and BGP needed access to the latest technology. With our new found DNA, INOVA was established already with a compelling advantage in the marketplace.
I came onboard in November 2010 as the Director for Russia and CIS, to enhance INOVA’s customer experience in the Russian/CIS market. It’s critical to our success that we increase our local capabilities. As our presence was once a sales outlet, we are working toward providing a more consistent customer experience with the same local offerings and capabilities as one would expect when interacting with our headquarters.
One major step towards this goal is that we have formed a relationship with xPort Group, a company that provides local inventory of rental equipment and spare parts in the region. They’ve been in this market for some time, and it’s what they do. We hope that our new partnership with them will help increase our opportunities to support our rental business in this region and improve the overall services that our company is able to offer by leveraging their strengths.
How long have you personally been involved within the Russia marketplace? What experience do you have in the regions O&G sector?
I originally came to Russia seven years ago to open ION’s branch office in Moscow. Before that I had traveled throughout Russia and Central Asia in various roles with the company.
One of the many challenges of working in Siberia and other remote areas on time critical projects is having robust, durable equipment at your fingertips. By looking at INOVA’s ARIES II cable-based land recording system and AHV-IV vibrator buggies it’s not too difficult to see that these are best in class products for the environment in which we work.
Since INOVA’s inception, how has business been in Russia? What do you forecast for the coming year?
I think the crisis and the downturn in the O&G business was tough on everyone. We’ve seen consistent growth both within Russia and abroad. We’ve just announced a sale of 13,000 ARIES II channels to outfit a crew in Southern Iraq, and we are making strong headway within the Caspian and Arctic areas of Russia as well.
What is your most recent success in the market?
I would have to say that solidifying the partnership with xPort Group and paving the way ahead for an improved customer experience has been the largest success since November. This will allow us to leverage their experience in the industry in ways that weren’t possible for us before.
Initially, we will be bringing over a considerable investment ($10+ million) in rental inventory into the market and will have an ample rolling inventory of spares. This will greatly enhance the turnaround time and serviceability of our install base, allowing us to better serve our customer’s short term needs.
Have you had any recent product launches for the region?
We are making strong headway with our ARIES II land recording system in the market. This is a product line that has been extremely successful in other Arсtic areas because of its physical ruggedness and robust telemetry system. The system itself can support up to 60,000 channels, along with other features that we see growing in this market such as continuous recording for micro-seismic work. It’s by far the most rugged system, made from bullet-proof polycarbonates, aircraft grade aluminum, and stainless steel, and it’s the only system that can go from land to transition zone in up to 75M of water depth.
Secondly, our new geophysical vibrator buggy, the AHV-IV Commander is also expected to do very well in the region due to it’s newly designed stiffer base plate and re-engineered hydraulic system which delivers lower harmonic distortion and greater fundamental force. This offers a considerable advantage of competitive products where these issues have proven to be a sore spot.
Exploration projects often take a “back seat” for many companies during these tough economic periods – what does the Rosneft / BP deal do to re-ignite interest in the regions exploration sector?
I think that we are all hoping for some stability to be brought out of these new fields and projects. It’s been difficult for us all, including the oil companies, but the more international players that are coming into Russia to work on interesting projects the better. It’s good for Russia’s image as an investment opportunity and it’s good for the local geophysical companies as well. It will be some time before Russia runs out of frontier.
And finally, what do you like best about Moscow?
My family and I have been in Moscow for some time and love the energy here. From a personal perspective, every day is new. It’s an ever evolving place that always holds a new surprise.
From a business perspective, the book is still being written – anything can still be done here.