The energy industry is on a journey of long and complex transition that will see the world reliant on the full palette of energy sources — including oil and gas — for many decades to come, Saudi Aramco’s president and CEO Amin Nasser told the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ 2017 Middle East Oil & Gas Show and Conference in Bahrain last week.
A record 9,353 industry professionals attended the four-day conference, which was held with a theme of “Transforming the Industry through Innovation and Operational Excellence.”
The event, held under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the Prime Minister of Bahrain, covered a range of topics focused on the future of hydrocarbons in the energy mix. The biennial conference has played host to more than 92,000 industry leaders and professionals since its inception nearly four decades ago.
MEOS 2017 also honored the conference’s previous chairmen, including former Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, and current adviser to the Royal Court, HE Ali I. Al-Naimi, who addressed the conference on behalf of the former MEOS chairmen, saying that change was one constant in the industry.
At the opening ceremony, Nasser shared the stage with HE Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s Minister of Oil and Chairman of the National Oil and Gas Authority, for a discussion on what lies ahead for the industry.
Challenges facing the industry
Al Qahtani also highlighted the challenges facing the industry, including upstream costs. These more than doubled in the first decade of the century, staying at that level, before declining during the recent downturn. However, costs were again picking up as activity increased.
“That’s also influenced by the growing maturity of oil fields, and new discoveries and developments being more challenging,” he said. “What makes this trend in our industry even more troubling is that, by contrast, the costs of alternatives are on a downward trend. At some point, their paths will cross. Combine rising costs with continued volatility and cyclicality of the oil market, and pressure will only build on the industry.”
There was, said Al Qahtani, an urgent need to radically transform the industry, rapidly, and across the board, without compromising safety and the environment.
He outlined five areas that are critical for delivering transformation: innovation, the financial bottom line, cost management, technology, and talent.
Al Qahtani stressed that innovation defines the history of the oil industry, and its current success, concluding, “It’s why I’m confident that we, inside the industry, will lead the radical and rapid transformation that’s essential to secure our future.”
MEOS 2017 attracted a record number of submissions and more than 270 papers were presented during 50 technical sessions, covering topics related to reservoirs, production and facilities, exploration, drilling and completions, project management and human resources, among others.