Hertriono Kartowisastro: Employees are the Key

ALTHOUGH Hertriono Kartowisastro is no longer young, his passion for work matches that of a young man just starting out on his career. Due to his total commitment, Hertriono has become a highly respected figure in the oil and gas industry, both locally and internationally.

Hertriono, the president director of PT Apexindo Pratama Duta Tbk, is not a new face in the oil and gas industry as he has been working in the sector for more than 30 years. He is regarded as one of the most senior people in the industry, and has held various strategic positions and co-founded the Medco Group with Arifin Panigoro during the span of his career.

Graduating from Bandung Institute of Technology’s School of Mechanical Engineering, Hertriono gained extensive experience in land and sea drilling when he was president director of PT Meta Epsi Antareja Drilling Co for 15 years from 1983 to 1998.

In 1984, he helped found PT Apexindo Pratama Duta oil and gas drilling company. He said the company envisioned being a world-class drilling company with uncompromising services for customers, shareholders, employees and the public alike. On top of this, Apexindo stays competitive by maintaining cost efficiency.

“Our business philosophy is based on family-like relations and mutual interest as well as benefit while focusing on the company’s values, such as dedication and performance,” said Hertriono.

One of the steps taken by Apexindo to increase its competency was to merge in 2001 with its associate company, PT Medco Antareja land drilling contractor. “Apexindo has always proved its high quality of work to everyone, such as clients, suppliers, partners and shareholders, by providing them with added value,” he said.

Hertriono’s current responsibility is to prepare the company’s strategy to achieve the company’s targets and ideals. He also manages and ensures human resources policies, various internal and external procedures, and supervises every department in the company. “In short, I must make sure that everything runs as planned,” he said.

So far, he has proven his capability in carrying out the various responsibilities, which can be seen in the fact that the company’s revenues continuously increase and new contracts keep coming in. Recently, Apexindo received an extension of a US$71 million contract from Vico Indonesia for oil and gas drilling at Rig 9 and Rig 10 in East Kalimantan.

“This is the largest land drilling contract the company has ever received. Apexindo has been doing Vico’s drilling work for more than two decades,” he said.

According to Hertriono, Rigs 9 and 10 were two of the most powerful land rigs belonging to Apexindo, averaging 2,000 horsepower. Among the eight land rigs belonging to the company, six are more than 1,000 horsepower. Land drilling activities in Indonesia are now in great demand and the daily rental has therefore increased, benefiting Apexindo. Besides Vico Indonesia, Apexindo also conducts drilling for other companies, such as Pertamina, Total, Unocal and MEPI.

Hertriono said that the success of Apexindo was not only measured by increased revenue, but also by internal savings and efficiency. Apart from this, increasing the number of rigs also makes the company progress further. However, huge funds are required for this. The main key to his success is the professionalism he applies to everything he does. He is also the type of leader that mingles with his employees and subordinates.

“I regularly visit my employees on the rigs,” he said. “These are not merely friendly visits, but are also intended to discover firsthand any problems on the rigs. Each director now visits every one of our rigs,” he said.

He also realized that employee dedication could not be expected without giving something in return. That is why a structured and responsible management is required. Apexindo conducts regular surveys to discover the level of employee satisfaction.

“The results are very good. Our employees can be categorized as being quite loyal. Just look at our employee turnover rate and you will find it is much lower than at other companies in this sector,” he said, adding that the demand for experts and experienced workers in the oil and gas sector is quite high.

Next to being give a clear picture of career progress, employees are also given new challenges to boost their competency. “When my one of my employees is poached with an offer of double the salary I actually feel proud that I have succeeded in enhancing that person’s skills,” he said.

Hertriono’s next target for Apexindo is for it to become one of the most respected and major players in Asia. “We will enhance our competitive edge by maintaining our service quality, increasing our efficiency through rigid price control and applying a high safety standard,” he said. (T. Hidayat)

The Jakarta Post, June 03, 2009

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