Oman


Petroleum Development Oman warns contracting firms of stringent action in bribery cases


Raoul Restucci, Petroleum Development Oman Managing Director. Photo - Times of Oman

Muscat: Oman's national oil company Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) on Tuesday warned nearly 200 executives representing 140 contractor firms they face being blacklisted if they fail to comply with the company's stringent policies on anti-bribery and corruption.

Addressing a contracting and procurement forum of chief executive officers and senior directors from the contracting community and senior PDO managers, the company's managing director Raoul Restucci insisted such conduct would not be tolerated within and outside the company. "This is an area that we need to promptly and completely eradicate," he said,

His remarks came after a number of current and former PDO staff and contractors were implicated in recent legal proceedings over corruption allegations, according to a company release.

"PDO is constantly improving the company's internal controls and ramping up efforts to support the community and will not tolerate unethical behaviour from its staff," added the PDO chief.

"Equally, PDO will blacklist companies that don't abide by our rules on anti-bribery and corruption. Anti-bribery and corruption forms part of a set of core values in the areas of human rights, labour standards and working practices, environmental and social performance that are at the heart of the company's reputation."

Restucci spelled out the 'three pillars of integrity, honesty and fairness in all of PDO's business dealings and drew attention to the rigorous controls and systems to root out malpractice and fraud. He also stressed the importance of the company's code of conduct and statement of general business principles, which emphasise ethical behaviour and transparency.

He called on contractors to use the company's confidential "blow the whistle" hotline or to engage directly with him and PDO directors to report any suspicions or concerns. PDO's strict rules on conflict of interest, confidentiality and gifts and hospitality were also clearly described and explained.

The contractor executives were also urged to forge a sustainable partnership with PDO to meet In-Country Value (ICV) targets on creating more Omani jobs and training opportunities and increasing expenditure on Omani goods and services.

"We are trying to find a better way to work together in order to establish a win-win and sustainable work environment. Today you have listened to many laudable and commendable intentions and programmes being established and supported by PDO. They are about ensuring that the communities in which we work succeed – if they do not, we all fail. This is all about creating long-term, fulfilling jobs for Omanis and we have to work together to achieve these key and long-term goals," he explained.

The contractor companies were also reminded of their duty of care to their employees and of the need to ensure their workplace accommodation was fit for purpose, as well as the importance of maintaining robust health, safety and environmental standards to build on PDO's and its contractor community best ever safety record in 2013.

As part of that objective, Restucci revealed the company was set to expand the commuter bus network for staff and contractors to reduce the risk of driving exposure with private vehicles, with the number of high quality busses rising to meet the full scale of PDO's operations.

Other topics which were discussed were changes to PDO's contracting and procurement terms and conditions, tendering, staff training and up-skilling programmes, claims management and the Oman Society for Petroleum Services (Opal) Compliance Verification Certificate.

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