Abdulfatah Ramadan Mohalhel: A Leader Driven by Integrity, Honesty, and High Ethical Standards

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Abdulfatah Ramadan Mohalhel: Kuwait Drilling Company ( KDC )

Entrepreneurs and leaders thrive in uncertainty, adapting to challenges with perseverance and integrity. Driven by innovation, passion, and a desire to solve problems, they play a significant role in shaping the world around us. The story of Mr. Abdulfatah Ramadan Mohalhel, Technical Manager at Kuwait Drilling Company (KDC) is no different. He has been leading KDC’s operations, maintenance, project management and supply chain since 2016 and has played a crucial role in bringing KDC to the forefront of the oil and gas (O&G) drilling industry in Kuwait, the GCC, and beyond.

Today, KDC owns, operates, and provides a diverse, modern fleet of land drilling and workover rig packages, directional drilling services, downhole tool rental services, casing running tool services, fishing services, water well support services and manpower supply services.

The 1963-founded company handles diverse and challenging drilling projects, including high-pressure, high-temperature wells and exploratory drilling. This has been possible owing to its extensive geographic reach, advanced equipment, and skilled professionals. The organization boasts more than 60 years of experience in meeting customer expectations, owning a fleet of 40 rigs, with horsepower ranging from 750 to 3000 hp.

The organization constantly drives competitive advantage by implementing the latest technologies, improving business processes, and maintaining flexibility in meeting customers’ requirements. At the same time, it prioritizes safe, efficient operations that deliver quality results to its clients. “We follow a zero-tolerance policy towards any unsafe practice across all our locations and operations. Our rigs are diligently monitored for faults and crews are rewarded for achieving certain safety milestones. We foster high ethical standards on environmental protection and accident prevention and train our employees in recognizing and preventing any safety hazard. Additionally, KDC empowers every employee to STOP WORK if any action or condition is considered UNSAFE.”, explains Mr. Mohalhel.

Learning from success and failure

As a seasoned leader, Abdulfatah Ramadan Mohalhel brings over 36 years of experience in the upstream sector of the O&G industry spanning drilling and workover operations, maintenance, rig purchasing, and rig contracts. Prior to joining KDC, he served as the Operations Manager and General Manager’s Deputy at Arab Drilling & Workover Company (ADWOC), Libya. He also served on the Drilling and Workover Committee of the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC).

Graduating with Honors from Eastern New Mexico University, USA, Mr. Abdulfatah Ramadan Mohalhel believes that his life has been shaped by two of his closest family members – his elder brother and daughter. As a 12-year-old, Mr. Mohalhel had the privilege of reading to his brother, who was blind and had just completed his university education. Despite being physically limited, his brother had an exceptional memory and an ability to grasp complex concepts with ease. His intellectual prowess led him to excel academically as he lectured at universities and went on to become a respected member of the parliament.

Later in life, Mr. Abdulfatah Ramadan Mohalhel’s daughter lost her eyesight at the age of 10 and displayed immense courage and resilience in transitioning from sight to blindness. With her strength and determination, she graduated from one of the Middle East’s most prestigious law schools a few years ago. “These two incredible journeys of blind but unwaveringly determined individuals have deeply inspired me. They’ve taught me that with strong willpower and focused ambition, anyone can achieve his/her desired identity and goals.”, Abdulfatah Ramadan Mohalhel reminisces.

Having spent nearly four decades working in the O&G industry, Mr. Abdulfatah Ramadan Mohalhel’s journey has been filled with numerous roadblocks. These experiences have been significant in his learning and have paved the way for his successes.  Over the last ten years, our company has experienced substantial growth, with a 30% increase in our rig fleet. We’ve also diversified our income sources, capturing drilling contracts in Oman and recently a 10-well LSTK contract in Jordan. Our Directional Drilling Division has made a notable impact, securing significant contracts with major clients both in Kuwait and internationally. In 2023, under his operational leadership, KDC’s manpower worked 9.5 million man-hours, completing the drilling and workover operations of 235 wells in Kuwait and Oman. They also moved rigs and mobile camps across multiple locations covering a distance of over 4,000 kilometres.

“I’ve learned to maintain a balanced perspective, not letting successes lead to overconfidence or failures to demotivation. Embracing every outcome as a growth opportunity has equipped me with the wisdom and skill set required for navigating the dynamic world of business.”, he says.

Advice for the next generation of entrepreneurs

Sharing his advice for budding entrepreneurs and leaders, he says, “Adaptability is crucial, allowing leaders to navigate changing circumstances and challenges effectively. Leaders must adhere to ethical principles in their words and actions and should be able to articulate a clear, compelling vision, motivating others towards a common goal.”

Here are some of the key principles that he believes are necessary for anyone to succeed as a leader:

  • Upholding high ethical standards in all business aspects. One’s reputation as a trustworthy entrepreneur is invaluable.
  • Inculcating respect for diversity and inclusion.
  • Cultivating a diverse network of contacts and nurturing these relationships in the long run.
  • Creating value for customers, employees, and the community. While profitability is crucial, long-term success is often rooted in value creation.
  • Embracing continuous learning, staying abreast of new technologies, market trends, or management techniques
  • Balancing risk-taking with wise and thoughtful decision-making and developing a sense of accountability.
  • Promoting teamwork both within and outside the organization with related stakeholders.
  • Adaptability is key in business. An entrepreneur must be ready to pivot and embrace new opportunities.
  • Learning from past experiences but always staying aware of future trends and opportunities.
  • Prioritizing mental health and well-being alongside one’s business’s health. The entrepreneurial journey can be stressful, and it’s important to take care of oneself.

Moving on to the next phase of life

In a heartfelt acknowledgement, Mr Mohalhel expresses his profound appreciation for the instrumental roles his superiors, colleagues, and family have played in his successes. He states, “The achievements and significant milestones in my career are primarily a reflection of the steadfast support I’ve received from my colleagues and superiors, especially my current Chairman, Dr. Abdulazeez Alrashed whose influence has been pivotal in my recognition. I am also deeply thankful to everyone who has placed his/her trust in me and offered their support in countless ways. Moreover, I must emphasize that such recognition would have been unattainable without the enduring patience and support of my beloved wife, son, and daughters.”

As he continues working with KDC, he looks forward to a well-deserved retirement. Post this, he plans to shift his focus to offering consultancy services, leveraging the wealth of experience he has accumulated over the years.

KDC’s Future Roadmap

KDC emphasizes meeting customers’ expectations with zero compromise on the international regulatory standards pertaining to Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE).  Beyond compliance, the organization is committed to constantly raising its HSE standards through leadership commitment and collective efforts of the employees and business partners.

Mr. Abdulfatah Ramadan Mohalhel believes that KDC’s employees play a pertinent role in keeping up with the high standards that the organization looks up to. The organization’s training programs cover all the safety and technical procedures that a young professional needs to grow in the field. “We have embraced a diverse workforce and created an inclusive environment where employees are encouraged to think creatively. We foster open and honest communication, where feedback is welcomed and acted upon. We nurture these talents to see them emerge as future leaders and innovators.”, he adds. 

On the business front, KDC plans to continue differentiating itself in the Middle East by providing state-of-the-art rigs and specialized equipment designed for extreme conditions, a deep understanding of local cultures, knowledge of regional needs, and strategic collaborations. The organization upholds the highest ethical standards and prioritizes environmental protection above all. As the organization expands in Kuwait, it plans to return to Libya, grow in Oman, and enter Jordan in Q1, 2024.

Building on this momentum, we also plan to continue exploring opportunities for further expansion, both in Kuwait and on a global scale. “Our strategy hinges on striking a balance between extending our global reach and implementing localized strategies tailored to specific markets and communities,” explains Mr. Mohalhel. equipment. An agile and adaptable approach will be key in navigating the rapidly changing market and global landscapes.

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