Pipeline Magazine spoke exclusively with Djamel Idri, General Manager UAE, Schlumberger about the oil service provider’s strategy in dealing with the low oil price environment
How are you coping with the continued low oil price?
In the past, our industry has been through several cycles in which oil and gas prices were low. While these cycles are not new, the current cycle is particularly notable given its protracted duration and the unprecedented response required to lower operating expenditure. In previous down cycles, we have been quick to adjust our operational structure and ﬁ eld capacity to changing market environments. However, this alone is insufﬁ cient to foster future growth. In recognition of these cycles, Schlumberger embarked in 2007 on an internal transformation. This programme focuses on delivering a step change in technology innovation, reliability, efﬁ ciency, and integration within our organisation. The incubation period necessary for such an ambitious changemanagement programme is now sufﬁ ciently mature such that it is driving a new paradigm of business engagement and workﬂ ow throughout the company. Our internal transformation is an ongoing programme and we continue to embrace new ways of working. In Abu Dhabi, since 2015 we have been cross-training our mud logging engineers to perform logging while drilling in collaboration with our remote operations support center. As result of this multiskilling programme, we have increased the productivity of our engineers by more than 15 per cent while also reducing wellsite HSE exposure and saving logistics costs for our customers. Given the current protracted down cycle, the internal transformation approach provides even more relevance and value to our customers and stakeholders.
What opportunities do you see in the region, and has the Middle East remained quite active?
We are fortunate in the UAE to be working on a wide variety of projects. For example, the extended-reach drilling (ERD) from artiﬁcial islands is producing world-class projects. With the ramp-up during the last few years, the number of extended-reach wells drilled in Abu Dhabi will be among the highest in the world. These wells are pushing the envelope in terms of the length of the drain holes and total depth. This is where technology reliability is key. Also, in the UAE and other countries in the Gulf region, there is a need for higher gas production, which drives exploration and appraisal activity. In the UAE, we see gasrelated activity from sour gas to unconventional gas as a signiﬁ cant part of the activity mix. The appraisal and development of these challenging resources requires an integrated, multidisciplinary approach that ﬁ ts well with our pore-to-pipeline technology portfolio.
What are the wider energy challenges that the Middle East is facing?
While the Middle East is fortunate to have signiﬁ cant oil and gas reserves, one of the goals shared across the industry is enhanced oil recovery (EOR), which aims to raise recovery from current levels to about 70 per cent. Accomplishing this will be a long journey with signiﬁ cant challenges that requires the integration of multiple technologies and workﬂ ows. Here, in the Middle East, we are well positioned to collaborate with our customers on this journey and to provide full technology and workﬂ ow suite planning— from EOR pilots to extensive ﬁ eld-wide EOR monitoring. At ADIPEC 2015, we showcased this full technology and workﬂ ow suite, which has been well received by our customers, and this year at ADIPEC we are showcasing the updates and advances to our integrated EOR offering.
What kind of emphasis do you put on innovation and collaboration?
Our core values revolve around people and technology, so technology development and deployment and being able to demonstrate the value of the breadth of our technology to customers excite me. Taking a step back from individual technologies and considering our portfolio, we are looking to accelerate the rate of technology innovation by bringing more focus to the creation of complete digitally enabled technology systems. These integrated systems will signiﬁ cantly reduce the cost per barrel of future hydrocarbon developments by introducing software control and optimization on top of the best hardware products in the industry while leveraging the latest advances in big data analytics and machine learning. The rationale behind the acquisition of Cameron was predicated on this advanced integration, and we are now combining Cameron surface technology with our leading downhole and subsurface offerings. This dimension of the transformation leverages the breadth and depth of the Schlumberger technology portfolio, which remains unique in the industry.
What do you hope to achieve at ADIPEC this year?
Each year we look to deepen our involvement, be it through the Young ADIPEC program or the breadth and participation of our executive team in various panel discussions. This year marks a new milestone in Schlumberger participation at ADIPEC. Following the integration of Cameron into Schlumberger, our exhibition offering showcases the broad technology portfolio of solutions that enable us to work with our customers from pore to pipeline. These solutions address the broad range of customer needs in the region—ERD wells; exploration, drilling and production in tight oil and gas and HPHT; EOR projects; and technologies for improved subsurface and surface production—and they address them with efﬁ ciency, effectiveness, and added value.