They Built It But Nobody Came

Oil and gas industry suppliers are not flocking to a national procurement website supported by the industry's eight largest operators.

Only 125 contractors and suppliers have registered on the Supplybase vendor registration system ( site since it went into operation three months ago. That represents about six percent of the number who could reasonably be expected to sign up on the site. Theoretically, inducements to list on the site as a vendor of services and specialised products appear irresistible.

The operators who endorsed and funded Supplybase - BHP, Chevron, Woodside, Apache, Philips, Fluor Daniel plus Brown and Root - have pledged to use it as their first step in selecting suppliers to participate in tenders.

But the low registration level suggests suppliers are not convinced the operators' actions will match their words. They are waiting for proof before investing the $500 registration fee or $900 for registration and database search rights.

Operators are moving to address the issue, according to David Davies-Pellow, materials and logistics superintendent for BHP's Australian Operated Assets Team based in Perth.

"There is a bit of suspicion from suppliers about whether we (operators) are serious about using Supplybase. "We've been having a number of meetings about how we will progress this and clearly demonstrate our sincerity to all concerned. It has been a bit limited in that area to date."

He dismissed suggestions Supplybase would conflict with CorProcure, another procurement site of which BHP is a founding member.

Unlike CorProcure, which is a horizontal site for buying non-strategic goods, Supplybase is an industry-oriented vertical site. Developed for about $100,000 by Pretzel Logic, Supplybase is an initiative of peak industry body the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA). It is the only officially-sanctioned web directory of the skills, expertise and experience of Australian suppliers to the oil and gas sector. There are no plans to expand it into a transaction site, according to Graham Collins, technical director of APPEA forum Australian Competitive Energy.

Courtesy of The Industry Standard

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