GHD is celebrating two decades in the Middle East and its role in the region’s formative years of extraordinary growth.
With 2021 drawing to a close the global professional services company says it is ready to partner the UAE and neighbouring nations in an emerging era of challenges and opportunities in its capacity as a leader in energy transition, environmental solutions, transport, and digitisation of the built environment.
GHD itself represents an impressive growth story - established in 1928 and still “wholly owned by our people”, it now operates 200 offices across five continents, staffed by more than 10,000 skilled and diverse individuals.
When clients call, GHD leverages knowledge and reputation acquired during almost 100 years across the globe.
More recently, for example, the company has emerged as a hydrogen expert, providing leading advisors in energy transition.
Evidence suggests the Middle East could be at the heart of the hydrogen revolution, according to GHD, which highlights its role alongside the potential of GCC nations as leading exporters.
Panos Bafis, business group leader for Future Energy and hydrogen for the Middle East, says hydrogen has moved on in 20 years to become “part of the solution” on all continents.
And he confirms GHD is working on ground-breaking hydrogen studies and pilot projects around the world.
Future Energy is, GHD says, the company’s commitment to the energy transition.
“A promise to bring everything we have - interdisciplinary industry experts, global perspectives and diverse experience - to this urgent need for change and to support communities, corporates and whole countries on their mission to net zero.
“We partner with private and public sector clients to deliver services across the value chain, from origination to delivery, to contribute to a thriving clean energy future based on our deep technical and regulatory knowledge of the industry.
“Energy consumption and economic growth are inextricably linked. As our world grapples with population growth and the challenge of reaching net zero, while simultaneously recovering from the economic shockwaves of the pandemic, a great deal of work lies ahead.
“Be it our economy, our communities or our environment, the long-term success of our world depends on the transition to greener energy sources.”
Estimates suggest that by 2050 green hydrogen exports alone could generate as many as one million jobs and as much as $200 billion for the region, signifying a prosperous future.
As a new vision for the future of the Middle East emerges through bold initiatives such as the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 and Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, regional states are moving forward on their post-oil strategies.
“Our approach has changed a lot in recent years … GHD recognises and understands the world is constantly changing,” says the company.
“With our focus now on advisory, environmental and digital solutions across the built environment, we help our clients move in the direction they want, and need, to go.”
In that respect, the company is establishing its place as a market leader when it comes to “the debate around the future of the Middle Eastern region through the energy transition, digitisation of our world and building more people-centric built environment”.
With a myriad of past successes spanning cutting edge digital training and energy infrastructure security to pipeline optimisation and waste disposal management solutions, GHD says: “Above all, we will continue to be a part of building adaptive, agile spaces and help shape a region that people want to come back to again and again.”
This commitment comes at a time when the spotlight is shining arguably brighter than ever on this portion of the planet.
Expo Dubai 2020 is making international headlines as its draws millions of inspired visitors to the city, in the year the UAE has celebrated its own milestone; 50 years since formation, accompanied by its own pledges for far-reaching energy transition.
GHD has expertise across several verticals, including geosciences, project management, digital, transportation, water, buildings and environment.
Crucially, for this region, future energy and energy and resources also feature strongly in its specialities segments.
“With considerable experience in delivering landmark energy and resources projects, GHD offers a broad range of services to the sector, through our globally connected network,” it says.
“From feasibility to performance optimisation, expansion of existing operations, development of new greenfield projects or closure of assets, GHD can assist clients to achieve their desired outcomes.”
GHD also states that the “global energy order is changing”, which is why its Future Energy division identifies future fuels such as hydrogen as a path forward - and factors such as affordability, accessibility, as well as sustainability, key to any energy system design.
“The global energy transition is not just a transformation of energy systems … it’s a transformation of communities and economies,” says the firm.
“We’ve reached an important tipping point in this journey with many industries making bold decisions to enable swift changes.”
GHD suggests that advancements in future fuels like hydrogen possess the promise to decarbonise other high energy-consuming areas such as transportation, heavy industry and heating.
This, in turn, presents an exciting opportunity to design and build sustainable and resilient communities, while working together to reduce climate change impacts.
“We are committed to solving the world’s biggest challenges in the areas of water, energy and urbanisation,” says GHD, which it leads through engineering, construction and architectural expertise.
“Our forward-looking, innovative approaches connect and sustain communities around the world.
“Delivering extraordinary social and economic outcomes, we are focused on building lasting relationships with our partners and clients.”
As everyone begins to value their communities and the environment around them ever more, climate change is increasingly part of the regional conversation - and action.
An energy ecosystem that has experienced incredible oil and gas power growth is now able to turn its expertise towards a renewable energy market headlined by solar or hydrogen - as UAE accomplishments with both have already proven.
And that could signal huge rewards for GCC nations as the world’s largest oil and gas players transform businesses to achieve a low-carbon future across production and supply chains - all the while applying the learnings of a long-established sector that continues to be receptive to new technologies.
With many regional states already boasting long established energy economies with the necessary supply chains and skilled workforces - and visionary leadership that recognises potential to reshape the planet’s energy landscape - potential could translate potently to influence the next 20 years of economic growth.
GHD has already played a defining role in the Middle Eastern growth story so far, across the past two decades.
And, it says, it is ready to deliver on the next thrilling chapters as key state-led initiatives for a post-oil future are felt.
“We can’t wait to see what the next 20 years has in store,” adds the company.