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Top regional cement maker taps export markets.

UNION Cement Norcem Company (UCN), a joint venture established in 1980 between Union Cement Company (UCC) of Ras Al Khaimah, UAE and Norcem of HeidelbergCement Group to market oil-well cement, marks its 30th anniversary aggressively concentrating on export markets, says Mustafa Gorgunel, general manager at UCN.

Gorgunel remarks that UCN is implementing the necessary steps to succeed in the domestic and neighbouring markets. "As for the future of the market, personally I do not expect the domestic market to improve very much for at least the next two years. But by cutting costs, we might be able to be more competitive in the export market. Hence, this is what we are focusing on right now."

All American Petroleum Institute (API) well cements from UCN and Norcem are sold under the brand name Norwell. More than 2.5 million metric tonnes of Norwell API well cement has been delivered so far in Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia and, more than 10,000 wells used Norwell cement.

UCN has been serving the oil industry for the last 30 years with its Norwell brand oil-well cement.

Norcem is the sole cement producer in Norway and since oil was discovered there in 1969, it has been the main supplier of special cements to the oil industry in Norway, including well cements, cement for concrete platforms or cement for inland gas/liquid treatment plants.

In 1999, Norcem merged with HeidelbergCement Group, Germany, and is therefore part of a significant worldwide building material consortium.

The Norwell brand of cement (left) and a view of UCN's plant

Norcem has, in addition to Norway, also served markets in the US, Denmark, Iceland, Russia, Great Britain and West Africa. Though the management contract of UCC with HeidelbergCement Group was terminated at the end of 2007, oil-well cement is still produced under the supervision of HeidelbergCement. UCN is now 60 per cent owned by UCC and 40 per cent owned by HeidelbergCement Group.

"Our major clients are the multinational companies who are servicing the oil and gas industries and performing the cementing jobs in the wells.

"UCN is also supplying well cements to local and export clients who are also doing the same jobs in the field. We have also started supplying well cements to the Iraqi market where the oil and gas exploration activities started recently," he says.

The company had a sales increase of 35 per cent in 2008 and 39 per cent in 2009. The total turnover of UCN exceeded $16 million in 2009. In 2010 the sales is about 8 per cent below last year due to increasing competition from Oman, Pakistan, Egypt and Turkey, he reveals.

"Our strategy is to have the consistent product quality and the best and the quickest customer service," he says adding that Norcem obtained the authorisation to use the API monogram in 1971 and has produced and delivered Class "G" and "B" well cements since then, mostly to the Norwegian sector of the North Sea and to West African Countries.

"As the management and the API licence are vested with Norcem, the authorisation to use the API monogram was also extended in 1980 to UCN. UCN Quality Assurance System is certified to ISO 9001, 14001, API Spec Q1 & API Spec 10A."

Norwell brand oil-well cement is produced by Union Cement Company from carefully selected high quality raw materials and the computerised quality control procedures ensure that the accurate chemical composition is achieved.

In addition to its consistent premium quality products, UCN also ensures a proactive service to its customers so as to meet their immediate requirements both throughout the UAE and in export markets. UCN, with its special and dedicated production facilities and global expertise, is ready to serve to the improving oil industry in the region.

The characteristics of UCN are: * It has its own dedicated kilns and mills for the production of oil well cement which ensures regular and continuous production; * With Norwell brand well cement UCN ensures a consistent quality to its customers without variations; and * UCN's promptness to the requirements of its customers is a basic rule. While domestic orders are shipped within the same hour, UCN is serving to its export customers in Qatar, Iraq, Kuwait, Pakistan, Sudan, Yemen, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan in the quickest way.

UCC's strategy for growth in the market also saw the company becoming the first cement manufacturer in the Middle East to obtain ISO 9000 certification in 1994, having already acquired API Spec Q1certification in 1980. In 2000, it added ISO 14001 certification, in line with its dedication to the environment.

Looking to the future, UCC will be aggressively pursuing its 'UCC Goes Green' project -- a project that Gorgunel believes reflects the company's new vision. "UCC Goes Green is an entirely new project and I don't want to reveal too many details about it at this stage," he notes.

"What I can tell you is that it revolves around three pillars: environmental performance -- reducing emissions; societal responsibility serving society by providing training; and economic improvement in the form of cost cutting.

"We believe that these initiatives can bring big advantages to our company in the years ahead."

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Publication:Oil & Gas News
Article Type:Company overview
Geographic Code:4EXNO
Date:Oct 25, 2010
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