Nayef Al-Anezi, deputy CEO (North Kuwait), Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) spoke exclusively to Pipeline Magazine’s Julian Walker about how the North Kuwait Directorate is constantly investing in its oilfields for the future and how it is aiming to reach a production target of one million bopd
What are the North Kuwait Directorate’s main activities and responsibilities?
The North Kuwait Directorate develops all fields that are located in the northern area of the territory of the State of Kuwait. This includes the areas of Sabriyah, Raudhatain, Bahrah, Umm Niqa, South Ratqa, and others.
Our reservoirs in North Kuwait display different characteristics in terms of properties and viscosity of fluids. Together, they form a rich portfolio of opportunities that we are developing, especially in terms of heavy oil. Our main activity in North Kuwait is to maximise oil production, and this is conducted by focusing on reservoir pressure and incremental water injection.
Does the North Kuwait Directorate plan to make more investments in the fields it operates?
North Kuwait main target is to increase the production and reach 1 MBOPD. Capital investment to maintain incremental production in North Kuwait fields is an ongoing process, and we continuously invest in our fields. In fact, the level of investments made for the development of heavy oil in North Kuwait is one of the largest in the world.
What is your strategy in terms of leading the North Kuwait Directorate?
Our strategy is to align all efforts towards the goals of production that have been set for our asset. Our strategy also involves the successful management of pressure support through water injection with the goal of arresting any declines. I am very proud of the teams that work in North Kuwait, and I feel their commitment provides added value to our strategic objectives and plans.
What management strategy have you brought to the role of DCEO since taking over?
I think that any business is successful when all the elements add value: A solid plan, high-performing teams, and ownership. Not only ownership of the managers, but that of the employees.
The oil business is particularly dependent on the collective efforts of all teams involved, and as a DCEO, I have upheld the importance of every employee being responsible for and proactive in their work. This includes ownership of their work and ownership of their role.
I have also made a conscious effort since day one to engage everyone in our Directorate towards the completion of our goals. I aim for success, and we need everyone in North Kuwait to aim for success by performing as owners of the asset.
How has your background helped you prepare for the position of DCEO?
I am a graduate of Louisiana State University and a Petroleum Engineer by training. Since my beginnings in the oil industry in Kuwait, I have worked in different roles at Kuwait Oil Company - from Field KUWAIT OIL COMPANY KEY INTERVIEW www.pipelineoilandgasnews.com July 2018 19 Without a doubt, the main challenge we face is the optimisation of cost. The production of heavy oil requires production schemes of high investment levels, and ensuring the profitability of the production is our focus.
Development to Operations, and from Drilling to special managerial assignments of strategic value. I consider every assignment and role I have executed for KOC as a learning experience, as the many challenges have taught me something in terms of skills development or knowledge acquisition. Those challenges shaped my insight and experience.
However, being a DCEO has not ended the challenges I face. In fact, they are amplified! I am looking forward to overcoming all the new challenges with the continuous support and expertise of everyone in North Kuwait and KOC.
How important is heavy oil to the Directorate’s activity?
One of the strategic resources for the sustainability of the oil industry of Kuwait into the future is the development of the huge resources of heavy oil. Therefore, developing our heavy oil resources in North Kuwait is one of the most important goals of my Directorate.
What are the main challenges you face in terms of heavy oil exploration and production?
Without a doubt, the main challenge we face is the optimisation of cost. The production of heavy oil requires production schemes of high investment levels, and ensuring the profitability of the production is our focus.
What breakthrough technology are you using or looking to use in North Kuwait?
North Kuwait is envisioning the utilisation of several technologies, and we are already implementing the latest developments in Smart Field Applications, with digitalisation and readiness of the information from the fields in real time being one of the top enhancements we are pursuing. We are also utilising various forms of advanced drilling technologies for multilateral wells, fracking, and Enhanced Oil Recovery.
What is the significance of your close working relationship with IOCs?
The oil industry of Kuwait is developing its immense resources supported by several technology providers through the Enhanced Technical Services Agreements with International Oil Companies, or IOCs. In the North Kuwait Directorate, we have established two of these agreements with Shell. One has been earmarked for conventional fields and one is for heavy oil operations. We are boosting the development of our oil fields with the technological support, experience and know-how of the IOC. Our relationship with Shell includes specific programs for training of our personnel, and the results of this close interaction have been very fruitful, and they will continue to provide value to KOC in the future.
Why is training such an important component of driving the Directorate forward?
More than half of our Directorate’s workforce are classified as “Young Professionals.” By definition, these are professionals and technical specialists with less than 15 years of experience. With this in consideration, we realise it is imperative to accelerate the readiness of our personnel for the challenges ahead. Training is one of the focuses of my attention as DCEO of North Kuwait.
How can you attract the coming generation to work in the oil and gas industry?
The energy sector is one of the most vibrant sectors in the market today, and energy demand is not decreasing at all. This signifies that there is plenty of work for many more decades ahead, both in the private and governmental sectors. In Kuwait, the oil and gas industry is vital for the country’s present and future, and I am absolutely positive the new generation of Kuwaitis will be instrumental in sustaining the high levels of quality, performance, and production expected from our industry.