Rand-Air poised for successful expansion into East African oil and gas market

As the upstream oil and gas industry in East Africa continues to burgeon and develop, a large number of multi-nationals are increasing their activity in the area. Rand-Air, operating in East Africa as Atlas Copco Rental East Africa, has positioned itself to be a first choice for such companies in the rental of compressed air, power and other industrial equipment.


This is according to Louwrens Erasmus, General Manager of Rand-Air. The company, part of the global Atlas Copco Group, provides a range of compressors and generators, specialising in oil-free air solutions and other products tailored for specific industries.

“Oil and gas is currently a focus area for the Atlas Copco Specialty Rental (ASR) division as a whole. We are excited by the developing market in East Africa and are working hard to make our presence in the region a success,” says Louwrens. “Our service offerings in the safety-stringent downstream sector are serving as an excellent foundation for our foray into the upstream sector; and we are able to leverage off our considerable past experience in the industry, such as assisting with refinery shutdowns.”

The company, in renewing its focus on servicing the oil and gas sector, has invested in a number of industry-specific products, all of which carry international standards accreditation. 

“In addition to our existing portfolio of compressors and generators, we have invested in a number of high-end products which have been identified for their suitability in the upstream oil and gas market. These include dedicated offshore twin-air compressors, rig-safe machines such as the XAS 1800 mounted in DNV-certified crash-frames, as well as the Atlas Copco steam boiler,” Louwrens explains.

Rand-Air, which has been providing rental services in Kenya for a year, has also invested heavily in training and upskilling, in the knowledge that industry-specific skills are a prerequisite to success.

“We have been involved in intensive research of the upstream oil and gas industry to ensure that we supply not only the right products where and when they are needed, but that we are armed with the requisite knowledge and skills appropriate to this very specialised and exacting market. As safety is paramount, training is pivotal to our operations, and adds significantly to our customer-centric service offering,” says Louwrens.

In keeping with its safety ethos, the company has ensured that it is compliant with the stringent regulations for off-shore repair services, and is able to supply rig-safe machines to customers in this sector.

Atlas Copco Specialty Rental’s East African operations are based in Nairobi and has a fully-fledged service support and infrastructure. With customer needs as the prime focus, Atlas Copco Rental can assure clients of dedicated round-the-clock service and back-up.

“We have developed a strong reputation for providing holistic solutions to meet our customers’ specific requirements, as well as reliable delivery to point of need. A high level of customer service and an uncompromising adherence to safety and quality standards are central to both Rand-Air and Atlas Copco Rental’s core business ethos, and these values will be carried through into our East Africa operations,” comments Louwrens.

The South African Oil and Gas Alliance (SAOGA), of which Rand-Air is a long-time member, believes that Rand-Air is well positioned to take advantage of opportunities in the upstream and midstream oil and gas sectors in Africa.

“Offshore oil and gas exploration activity in sub-Saharan Africa is set to continue and significant growth is expected from offshore gas exploration activity in East Africa and additional exploration activity in West Africa, notably pre-salt oil exploration in Angola. Rand-Air, under the auspices of Atlas Copco, is an established company with a good footprint in the region and is well positioned to take advantage of any opportunities,” says Ebrahim Takolia, Chief Executive Officer of SAOGA.

“We believe the time is right to intensify our focus on the oil and gas sector in East Africa as part of our larger pan-African expansion strategy. We can confidently offer not only units that have been specifically developed for the oil and gas market, but also the relevant know-how and infrastructure which come with being part of a global leader in industrial rentals,” Louwrens concludes.

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