Defy the gravity of the industry

Nov 16, 2017
6 min read
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Djamel Idri, GeoMarket manager, Eastern Middle East speaks exclusively to Pipeline Magazine’s Julian Walker about proving Schlumberger’s drilling technology and integration capabilities

What is your outlook for the oil and gas sector?

With OPEC cutting production and global demand continuing to strengthen, we had hoped an international recovery was in sight. However, the complexity of the supply side where there are different dynamics across various producers and regions has come into play. Unfortunately, this is creating further oil price instability and is resulting in a stagnating global business environment. Our goal is to defy the gravity of the industry.

How have you fared in 2017?

As with most years, 2017 has had both opportunities and challenges. In terms of opportunities, we are fortunate here in the Middle East–with an area of tremendous proven oil reserves coupled with the ambition of our host countries.

We have found plenty of ways to prove to our customers the value of our technology and integration capabilities. The challenge comes down to how to economically develop the needed oil and gas resources. We are working closely with our customers to develop business models that allow us to increase efficiency but still reduce the cost of service delivery, for example, through remote operations and multi-skilling.

How do you feel you have adapted to the new energy landscape?

We are fortunate to have deep and long-standing relationships with our customers. Across the region we are seeing a move towards higher levels of integration as customers recognise the benefits–including lower HSE exposure and significantly reduced well delivery times. For example, in Iraq, we have entered into multi-well, multi-year Lump Sum Turn Key contracts, which give our customers certainty on their well costs, while providing the opportunity to deploy our integrated solutions to deliver the wells.

How important is the Middle East’s drilling market to Schlumberger?

The Middle East forms a vital part of our overall business. We can trace our presence in the region back almost 80 years. In terms of drilling, the Middle East remains active–most countries have increased their rig count over the past two to three years, which is in stark contrast to what happened in other parts of the world. Our customers appreciate that we have always been receptive to new technologies. For example, with one of our customers in the GCC region, the PowerDrive vorteX Max* high-powered rotary steerable system, along with our cutting mud motor modelling technology, enabled us to increase ROP by 25 percent– the best performance to date for an integrated drilling service project.

Are you seeing the Middle East market picking up?

As mentioned previously, a number of Middle Eastern countries are increasing their drilling activity, driven primarily by conventional activity. In the region we are also seeing increased focus on unconventional activity and this will be a significant source of growth in the coming years.

What new technologies have you brought to the market? How much focus do you put on R&D?

In 2016, Schlumberger spent US$1 billion on R&D. In September, we launched the DELFI* cognitive E&P environment at the SIS Global Forum. The DELFI environment leverages digital technologies including security, analytics and machine learning, high performance computing (HPC),and Internet of Things (IoT) to improve operational efficiency and deliver optimised production at the lowest cost per barrel.

The DELFI environment will provide a new way of working for asset teams by strengthening integration between geophysics, geology, reservoir engineering, drilling, and production domains.

Minimising environmental impact and the risks associated with our operations is at the heart of all our R&D activities. For example, we have developed the HiWAY* flow-channel fracturing technique that can lower water usage by 25 per cent, and can reduce proppant requirements by 40 per cent, while delivering greater production for our customers.

What are the wider energy challenges that the Middle East is facing? How is Schlumberger helping meet these challenges?

Within the region there is a major push towards increasing gas production. We are working with our customers on a wide range of projects from deep offshore gas projects in high pressure, high temperature (HPHT) environments to sour gas projects with high hydrogen sulphide (H2S) and carbon dioxide levels. We can contribute significantly by providing drilling and reservoir characterisation technologies that can function in a multitude of environments. At the same time our domain experts are working closely with our customers to build reservoir models using complex geomechanics essential for exploring unconventional plays.

This year’s theme is “Forging Ties’ and ‘Driving Growth’ how much does this reflects your industry strategy?

Customer engagement is vital to driving growth. However, as well as forging ties externally, it’s important that we do the same within our organisation. Collaboration sparks innovation, enabling us to offer a multitude of services and integrated technologies, ultimately benefiting our customers.

How does ADIPEC help you maintain and build new strategic partnerships?

We are proud to have a longstanding association with ADIPEC dating back to the very first exhibition and conference. While we are continually engaging with our customers, conferences like ADIPEC help us, in a very concentrated format, to show our customers our latest and greatest. We can also highlight how our technology and integration capabilities can lower their cost per barrel and deliver hydrocarbons to the pipeline. ADIPEC is very successful at attracting the next generation of engineers and geophysicists to our industry. This provides an exciting opportunity for us to engage and inspire top talent and again this year we have been delighted to host the Young ADIPEC program at some of our key facilities.

What are you intending to showcase at ADIPEC this year?

We are excited to be bringing the new DELFI cognitive E&P environment to ADIPEC. Taking a look downhole, we will also be launching a new resistivity- and imaging-while-drilling service that provides 360-degrees electrical images and laterolog resistivity measurements in conductive mud environments.

*Mark of Schlumberger

This interview first appeared in the November issue of Pipeline Magazine