Exclusive Interview with Kevin Thorley, Head of Sales Middle East from MARLINK
“We have an extensive experience in developing customised, global end-to-end solutions and meeting the necessary regulatory requirements,” says Kevin Thorley, Head of Sales Middle East at Marlink, a leading international maritime and enterprise satellite communications and IT solutions company.
Marlink considers itself as “the pioneer in business-critical IT, communication and digital solutions customers can rely on to run their remote operations in an ever smarter, safer and profitable way,” providing end-to-end managed connectivity and IT solutions.
Marlink is a supporting sponsor of the 5th Lebanon International Oil & Gas Summit. The LIOG team discussed with Marlink’s Head of Sales for the Middle East, Kevin Thorley, his firm’s perception, future plans and commitment to Lebanon’s oil and gas industry.
How do you evaluate the potential of Lebanon’s petroleum sector?
We see significant potential, particularly now the second round of offshore licensing is underway. Exploration activities will accelerate across the Lebanese Exclusive Economic Zone, with the goal of achieving commercial discoveries and establishing production sites.
Do you have any assessment of the required investments in your sector for this nascent industry? What can drive the growth in investments?
The investment required in telecommunication networks is relatively small compared to the rest of the exploration, drilling and production infrastructure. But it is absolutely vital to the smooth running of operations. Further licensing rounds will drive investments by new market entrants, along with the discovery of new oilfields, and then setting up more permanent operations and pipelines.
What role can your company play in developing the oil and gas sector in Lebanon?
We can provide oil and gas companies with telecommunication solutions for each operational stage as the industry becomes established in Lebanon.
This ranges from individual satellite communication systems for mobile teams during the exploration phase, to fully managed, global network solutions to connect onshore and offshore sites with regional offices, corporate headquarters and the cloud. In this case, we provide a completely outsourced service, from network design, licence applications, installation and configuration, through to network management and maintenance.
Marlink helps energy companies to simplify their digitalisation initiatives and enables cloud migration with networks that are “future-ready”. By this, we mean that they are more agile and efficient, ensuring that the applications are always available and secure in any location. It’s a flexible platform that enables rapid adoption of new technologies to increase competitiveness.
We create highly reliable, hybrid network solutions that combine satellite communications, fibre, microwave and 4G LTE technologies, depending on each company’s requirements. And we back this up with end-to-end SLAs to assure market-leading service availability that is close to 100%.
We use a centralised, software-defined WAN to simplify network management, optimise bandwidth and application performance. This is key when the network needs to support data-intensive business applications, cloud computing and welfare communications for remote workers.
Essentially, with Marlink, energy companies can concentrate on what they do best, while our experts and technology ensure that they have complete availability of high-speed broadband connectivity and high quality voice to operate safely and effectively, regardless of location or conditions.
What is the level of awareness for communications in the oil and gas industry? Do you expect an awareness issue and how does Lebanon tend to approach it?
Marlink has been highly active in the Middle East for many years, and some of the oil and gas companies operating in Lebanon are our customers in other countries in the region. Our goal is therefore to build on these relationships and extend them into Lebanon.
What are your expectations from your participation in the 5th edition of the Lebanon International Oil & Gas Summit?
This is the first time that Marlink is exhibiting at LIOG. The timing is particularly relevant now the offshore sector is starting to be developed. The summit is a key networking opportunity for us in the region, and the obvious choice for Lebanon. We look forward to many productive discussions.
Based on your experience, what are your recommendations to other industry leaders?
In these early stages of oil and gas exploration in Lebanon, companies have the opportunity to set up a telecoms infrastructure that reflects industry best practice. And it can be done in a phased approach to manage budgets effectivel, while paving the way for a more holistic solution as operations are developed.
How do you describe the activities of your company in general? And are you establishing a branch in Lebanon?
Marlink is the world’s leading provider of managed hybrid networks and cloud connectivity solutions for remote operations. The company’s roots are in satellite communications, which we’ve been delivering to maritime, enterprise and government customers for over 70 years.
We first served oil platforms in the North Sea in 1976 and since then, have worked for companies in every part of the oil and gas value chain. We have extensive experience in developing customised, global end-to-end solutions and meeting the necessary regulatory requirements.
We have a significant presence in the Middle East, with a regional base in Dubai and partnerships with local players in all the key markets. And we will work with local partners in Lebanon to develop our business here too.