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Procurement in the O&G industry: An interview with Andre Gafford, Sr. Partner, DeLeon Business Consulting Group

A repeat contributor to Pump Engineer, Andre Gafford has built a reputation for hard work, extensive know-how in the oil & gas (O&G) industry and a propensity for diversity. “I’ve done as much as possible so that I always have options, especially when faced with industry uncertainty,” he says.
 

With 19 years of experience in the O&G sector and a broad-spanning portfolio that includes procurement and strategic contracting onshore and offshore, midstream and at the refinery level, Andre understands the realities of a fluctuating market in addition to the needs of a growing business. Be it pumps, valves, hose & fittings, flanges or specialty alloy pipes, Andre has the connections and experience to source the right material for the job and the crews to install it.


A graduate of the University of Houston Downtown with a B.B.A. in Marketing, Andre began his career in procurement, working for oilfield services companies Baker Hughes and Saipem, a subsidiary of Eni. In search of a new challenge and the opportunity to be more hands-on, he decided to move in a new direction, providing strategic contracting services at various levels of pipeline and facility off-and-onshore development. The experience Andre gained in this capacity, working for such companies as Shell, Hess, Marathon and Statoil, eventually led to a unique opportunity as an independent consultant for Statoil. He elaborates: “The last contract role I had was with Statoil. The company was going through a reorganization but I was asked to stay on. I consented to stay on but only if I could work under my own company. So that’s what I have been doing for the last couple of years.”

Andre understands the ever-changing needs of the industry and has built his career on resilience. “When oil was bad in ’98 I ended up going into electricity and power generation for a couple of years,” he explains. “I have dealt with every part of construction, including feasibility, pre-construction, commissioning…everything. That was me saying I needed to be as well-rounded as possible so that the next time the oil goes bad, I will have options.”

Building the plant
Andre appreciates the challenges that come with managing large construction projects. He says: “I have executed brownfield and greenfield projects; going from nothing to revamping an old plant. That means we’re changing out everything or we’re buying completely new equipment.”

Understanding that people are prone to adopting their own way of doing things, he emphasizes the importance of reinforcing the common best interests of the company by ensuring that project engineers are always on the same page. Thinking in terms of the company’s best interests also means providing a mix of skilled workers, according to Andre, and providing service options, based on availability, time and preference.

“I have always been in the advisory position – these are the guys we should be doing business with because they have the top notch products, awesome delivery and they can service their own equipment,” he explains.

Choosing AMLs backed by reputation
When choosing the right pump manufacturer, Andre stresses the importance of opting for a supplier with deep-rooted industry presence. “I create AMLs (Approved Manufacturers’ Lists) and I usually look for size. I usually deal with very large companies, like Statoil and Marathon. The name carries its own weight. I want someone that has been around and also has their name on the line,” he states.

“You have to have a name that resonates. Big companies are slow movers in times where oil is unstable. You have thin margins on the gas – they are slow on new projects and some are even slower on using new technologies,” he adds.

Referencing the O&G industry and the low cost of oil in recent history, Andre points to the increased importance of competitive pricing. He explains: “Price is more important now than it was two to three years ago. Back then price would have been third or fourth on my list. Now the order is quality, pricing and efficiency.”

Listed below are the key factors to consider when choosing a preferred vendor, according to Andre:

• Quality (incident ratings, failure rates, accidents)
• Pricing
• Efficiency (technological advancement)
• Availability
• Production numbers

To read the full interview with Andre Gafford please contact the editor, Deirdre Morgan, by clicking here.


 

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