“Whatever company you are in Abu Dhabi, if they develop UAE nationals, it is like a plus for them,” says Arafat Al Yafei . Ravindranath K / The National
“Whatever company you are in Abu Dhabi, if they develop UAE nationals, it is like a plus for them,” says Arafat Al Yafei . Ravindranath K / The National

A partnership with rich benefits



Arafat Al Yafei speaks with a trace of a French accent, the evidence of his years studying in Paris and working at the oil giant Total.

Now he manages the emirate's toughest engineering projects for Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc). But he maintains close ties with his old employer.

"The most important thing is the relationship," Mr Al Yafei says. "You have to create the bridge. Your technology's there, and different companies have different technologies, but do you have the relationship?"

For decades, Total has cultivated its ties with Abu Dhabi by investing in many of the emirate's strategic projects, from building a natural gas pipeline to turning crude into fertiliser for farms.

Now it is showcasing another field of investment - people.

Total and its competitors are jockeying for position as Abu Dhabi prepares to redistribute the rights to its oilfields. In two years, Total's 9.5 per cent slice in Abu Dhabi's biggest onshore concession expires. Total shares that concession with ExxonMobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Portugal's Partex. Soon thereafter, stakes in the emirate's main offshore operator and four other Adnoc companies will expire.

Little wonder, then, that Total and the other majors are keen to prove that their partnerships - some of them nearly 75 years old - have been valuable for the emirate.

"Whatever company you are in Abu Dhabi, if they develop UAE nationals, it is like a plus for them," Mr Al Yafei says.

Total writes a US$5 million (Dh18.3m) cheque every year to the Petroleum Institute, Adnoc's engineering university, and sends high-achieving Emiratis to study in France as part of a scholarship programme for resource-rich nations.

Louai Machhour, the former business and capabilities development manager for Total ABK in Abu Dhabi [he left in August, and is now posted in Paris as regional geologist], describes the philanthropy as part of the company mission.

"For us this is an obligation, and we do it without any conditions," Mr Machhour says. "We do it because we think it's our responsibility to develop the people in the country where we work and where we take benefit also."

Implicit is that the trainees eventually join the state oil company, bringing private-sector knowledge to Abu Dhabi and providing the foreign companies with a valuable connection on the ground.

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League final:

Who: Real Madrid v Liverpool
Where: NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium, Kiev, Ukraine
When: Saturday, May 26, 10.45pm (UAE)
TV: Match on BeIN Sports

Famous left-handers

- Marie Curie

- Jimi Hendrix

- Leonardo Di Vinci

- David Bowie

- Paul McCartney

- Albert Einstein

- Jack the Ripper

- Barack Obama

- Helen Keller

- Joan of Arc

The specs: 2019 Mercedes-Benz C200 Coupe


Price, base: Dh201,153
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Power: 204hp @ 5,800rpm
Torque: 300Nm @ 1,600rpm
Fuel economy, combined: 6.7L / 100km

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

THURSDAY'S ORDER OF PLAY

Centre Court

Starting at 10am:

Lucrezia Stefanini v Elena Rybakina (6)

Aryna Sabalenka (4) v Polona Hercog

Sofia Kenin (1) v Zhaoxuan Yan

Kristina Mladenovic v Garbine Muguruza (5)

Sorana Cirstea v Karolina Pliskova (3)

Jessica Pegula v Elina Svitolina (2)

Court 1

Starting at 10am:

Sara Sorribes Tormo v Nadia Podoroska

Marketa Vondrousova v Su-Wei Hsieh

Elise Mertens (7) v Alize Cornet

Tamara Zidansek v Jennifer Brady (11)

Heather Watson v Jodie Burrage

Vera Zvonareva v Amandine Hesse

Court 2

Starting at 10am:

Arantxa Rus v Xiyu Wang

Maria Kostyuk v Lucie Hradecka

Karolina Muchova v Danka Kovinic

Cori Gauff v Ulrikke Eikeri

Mona Barthel v Anastasia Gasanova

Court 3

Starting at 10am:

Kateryna Bondarenko v Yafan Wang

Aliaksandra Sasnovich v Anna Bondar

Bianca Turati v Yaroslava Shvedova

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

The specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cyl turbo

Power: 217hp at 5,750rpm

Torque: 300Nm at 1,900rpm

Transmission: eight-speed auto

Price: from Dh130,000

On sale: now

Biography

Favourite book: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Holiday choice: Anything Disney-related

Proudest achievement: Receiving a presidential award for foreign services.

Family: Wife and three children.

Like motto: You always get what you ask for, the universe listens.

Traits of Chinese zodiac animals

Tiger:independent, successful, volatile
Rat:witty, creative, charming
Ox:diligent, perseverent, conservative
Rabbit:gracious, considerate, sensitive
Dragon:prosperous, brave, rash
Snake:calm, thoughtful, stubborn
Horse:faithful, energetic, carefree
Sheep:easy-going, peacemaker, curious
Monkey:family-orientated, clever, playful
Rooster:honest, confident, pompous
Dog:loyal, kind, perfectionist
Boar:loving, tolerant, indulgent