Oil ITJ—How important is the acquisition of Tobin to Petroleum Place (PP)?
Anani—The acquisition doubles the size of the company and takes us into new areas. This is an important deal for us which we have been working on for the past six months.
Oil ITJ—This deal represents quite a change for PP—from a financial focus to technology and data.
Anani—Yes, the data piece is new, as is the addition of Tobin’s premier land package. All of this will strengthen P2ES’ back office/ERP offering. In particular, Tobin Land Suite will help us move into the SAP world. Tobin Land software is frequently bundled with SAP in the United States.
Oil ITJ—Isn’t SAP more of a competitor for your existing back office products like Excalibur from Paradigm Technologies?
Anani—Not really. We see it more as an opportunity for cooperation although the products compete in some markets. SAP is established with majors and super majors. But such companies may restrict SAP use to silos. P2ES’ enterprise software is strong in the upstream where SAP dominates the downstream.
Oil ITJ—What’s the background to Petroleum Place and P2ES?
Anani—Petroleum Place (P2ES is a wholly owned subsidiary) was set up with the intent of rolling up software and services to upstream companies [Halliburton took a 15% stake in the company in 2000]. There are two main component companies—the Oil and Gas Clearinghouse and P2ES [the unit that has acquired Tobin]. P2ES acquired Paradigm Technologies—along with its IBM/Unix-based software and mostly smaller independent clients. Last year P2ES acquired Novistar’s 6I Upstream Oracle-based financial suite [now rebranded as P2ES Enterprise Upstream] giving it a foothold in larger independent and a degree of penetration into majors and supermajors. But most IT spend is on SAP so it was inevitable that we develop services around SAP—along with JD Edwards OneWorld) Our ERP line-up now supports Oracle-based Enterprise Upstream, JD Edwards, IBM/Unix-based Excalibur and SAP.
Oil ITJ—Last time we covered Tobin, InSight was being rolled-out. InSight does not appear to have set the world alight—was it germane to the acquisition?
Anani—Yes, InSight is an important facet of Tobin’s software line-up. We are now in the process of evaluating its usefulness to customers and exactly where it is at in development terms.
Oil ITJ—Would it be fair to say that Tobin has declined as IHS Energy has risen?
Anani—No, Tobin is a household name and remains dominant in the data space. Tobin has a very strong brand with broad recognition. The situation with InSight is slightly different. InSight is still a new product which may have a great future alongside the core data products.
Oil ITJ—What became of Tobin’s Global Planner which was digitizing Russian military maps?
Anani—Sure, Global Planner is still part of the equation. Tobin has a Moscow-based subsidiary working with companies such as Yukos. We have a great team over there - all very well qualified engineers working for considerably less than their western counterparts. This operation has great potential as a springboard to other international opportunities.
Oil ITJ—And what of your other international ventures?
Anani—P2ES has expanded following partnerships with UK-based SAP implementation specialists AbSoft and German integrators Amadee. Other more technology-focused relationships have been established with Hannover-based Impress and Edinburgh Petroleum Services. Again the focus is on integration and connectivity with SAP. Our international presence is also evident from our two major middle east clients—Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. and Kuwait Oil Co.
Oil ITJ—How much did you pay for Tobin?
Anani—I’m sorry, I can’t tell you that. What I can say is that Petroleum Place has a very strong balance sheet and the acquisition will put Tobin in a much better position to do things that they would not have been able to do otherwise. Integration will produce considerable cost savings and synergies. The Tobin product lines will continue. In fact customers will see little change except for new products.
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