Posted on January 12, 2015

Qatar’s economy and population - not to mention it’s skyline -  has changed a lot since the early 1990s, thanks to the wise leadership of His Highness, the Emir, and His Highness the Father Emir. But while a lot has changed, some things have remained as they were twenty years ago. Since the landmark moment in 1994 when the Al Shaheen offshore field produced its very first barrel of oil, Maersk Oil Qatar has continued to invest heavily in the country, contributing to the nation’s economic and social development.

Chemical Engineer, Ali Ghareeb is one Qatari who has benefitted directly from Maersk Oil’s committed to Qatarization. Having graduated from Qatar University in June 2004 with a degree in chemistry, Ali joined Maersk Oil Qatar as a trainee chemical engineer and spent five years learning from some of the country’s leading chemical specialists. As Ali celebrates 10 years with the company in February, he continues to be challenged on a daily basis.

“The story of Maersk Oil in Qatar inspired me to join the company in the beginning. Other companies walked away from the Al Shaheen field because of its complex reservoir characteristics, but Maersk Oil overcame the challenges by relying on experience, expertise and perhaps most importantly, a close relationship with Qatari experts at Qatar Petroleum. This is a terrific metaphor for any young graduate. My passion for chemistry has certainly been nurtured through access to world-class experts and Maersk Oil’s commitment and structures for developing young Qataris like me,” said Ali.

Maersk Oil’s Qatarization Strategy is focused on offering real jobs with real responsibility to Qataris and, in the process, developing them into the leaders of tomorrow. Maryam Khalil, a SAP Business Systems Analyst, joined Maersk Oil Qatar in 2009 after graduating from Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar with a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science. Over the past five years, Maryam has benefitted from a wealth of guidance and support to develop her career.

Maryam said; “I’ve been fortunate to learn from a number of Maersk Oil’s experienced IT specialists, all whilst continuing to complete my development programme. I quickly found that experience-based learning gave me a huge advantage and I feel more equipped to take on the challenges that I’m faced with on a daily basis in my work. The programme has helped me feel 100 per cent confident about the contribution I can make to my own career and to the company as we continue help Qatar develop as a leading oil producer.”

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The two year Qatari Development Programme (QDP) was established at Maersk Oil Qatar after an exhaustive study that found that employees early in their career benefitted from intensive support and guidance by specialist development coaches. The QDP is tailor-made for the specific needs of Maersk Oil Qatar and its employees and is informed by the culture of the company, the country and the blend of skills that are needed by effective managers. 

Sheikh Jassim bin Saud Al-Thani, Maersk Oil Qatar’s Head of Qatarization, said: “We searched for the best ideas, regardless of where they come from, to further improve our Qatarization efforts. We listened and learned from our own employees and the best minds from inside and outside Maersk Oil. After one year we are already seeing positive signs that our employees are more motivated and confident to develop their careers and in the process assist our company and more broadly the State of Qatar.”

2014 marked 20 years since Maersk Oil Qatar (MOQ) first began producing oil from one of the world’s most complex offshore oil fields, the Al Shaheen. While others operators walked away, MOQ deployed specialist techniques and unique approaches that had already proven successful in unlocking similarly challenging fields in the North Sea to overcome the field’s challenges. MOQ is committed to attracting, developing and retaining even more Qatari leaders in the future, and has made great strides in the past five years by doubling the number of Qatari employees and increasing those with a bachelor’s degree.

“We are constantly looking for new ways to develop our people and provide opportunities for them to gain new skills to allow them to take on more responsibility, either as managers or specialists. I would encourage anyone who is considering a career change to join Maryam, Ali and the scores of other talented Qataris at Maersk Oil Qatar,” said Sheikh Jassim bin Saud Al-Thani. Both Ali and Maryam are examples of many talented Qataris at Maersk Oil Qatar that serve in different locations and positions of the company, who will be the leaders of the future. To meet more Qatari leaders, please visit