chapter  5
April - October 1970
Pages 12

The following week I met Mr. Souheil Sadawi, the new Secretary General of OAPEC, at his suite in the London Hilton. His professional training had been as a lawyer, and he had litde exposure to oil or shipping. When he asked why OPEC should want to build a dry dock, I really felt that we were starting at the beginning. An hour later I departed. For the first time I had met a real obstacle, but I tried to console myself with the argument that Mr. Sadawi would not be making all the decisions. One useful effect the meeting had was that from now on I realized I would not be dealing with a sympathetic audience, and that my facts and the logic of AGRY must be unassailable. It was always easier to prove what was wrong with a new idea than what was right about it. Fortunately, I had come to learn from the inside more than anyone about what was wrong with the project and was fluent at counteracting criticism of AGRY. Nevertheless, a number of meetings were arranged to test market opinion among oil company and independent shipowners, classification societies, and Lloyd's underwriters. The sampling was as before. Shipowners all agreed it would be helpful to their operations to have AGRY, and said it would be used subject to quality, cost and repair time being competitive. The classification societies and underwriters favoured it, but of course no revenue for AGRY would come from them. As yet I had not found a single insurmountable snag thrown up by potential users. All of these discussions were gradually convincing more and more people that AGRY would be built, particularly with the financial muscle of Saudi Arabia, and OAPEC apparendy sponsoring it.