Manama: Oil industry services provider Halliburton is to set up a regional office in Dubai.

Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Dave Lesar of the US firm will lead the company's efforts in growing business in the region - a vital market for the global oil and gas industry.

"The opening of a headquarters in Dubai is the next step in a strategic plan announced in 2006 to focus on expanding customer relations with national oil companies while concentrating more of the company's investments and resources in growing its business in the Eastern Hemisphere," Lesar said on the sidelines of a regional energy conference in Manama yesterday.

Lesar will work closely with Halliburton Eastern Hemisphere Senior Vice President Ahmad Lotfy to strengthen the company's activities in the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and Europe and Eurasia regions.

"As we invest more heavily in our Eastern Hemisphere presence, we will continue to build upon our leading position in the North American gas-focused market through our excellent mix of technology, reservoir knowledge and an experienced workforce," said Lesar.

"Our talented Western Hemisphere leadership will continue to grow this area of our business. The Eastern Hemisphere is a market that is more heavily weighted toward oil exploration and production opportunities and growing our business here will bring more balance to Halliburton's overall portfolio," he said.

"This is already a strong market for Halliburton and we are excited to position the company in this key business area."

During 2006, more than 38 per cent of Halliburton's $13 billion oil field services revenue was generated from its Eastern Hemisphere operations.

The area encompasses four regions with more than 16,000 employees, more than 80 per cent of which are locals.

"I look forward to working with our exceptional employees across the Eastern Hemisphere as we move forward with the increased level of investment in this area of our business," Lesar said.

US Vice-President Dick Cheney was Halliburton's chief executive and a major shareholder.

The Bush administration was frequently accused of favouring the firm with lucrative no-bid contracts in Iraq.

Services across 70 countries

Founded in 1919, Halliburton is one of the world's largest providers of products and services to the energy industry. It has been active in the Eastern Hemisphere energy services market since 1926 and today its energy services operations span nearly 70 countries with more than 45,000 employees serving the upstream oil and gas industry throughout the life cycle of the reservoir.