De-risking Egypt’s offshoreMay 9, 2019
Karim Badawi, Schlumberger’s managing director for Egypt and the East Mediterranean, talks to TOGY about the company’s role in attracting investments to the Red Sea and the prospects it sees in this area, as well as the success of new technologies deployed at Zohr. Schlumberger is a global technology services company for the oil and gas industry.
What is Schlumberger’s role in attracting investments to the Red Sea?
The Red Sea project is a significant project aligned with the first pillar of the Ministry of Petroleum’s modernisation programme, the investment attraction pillar.
It represents a commitment to open new areas, new frontiers for investment. The Red Sea is an area that was uncharted territory and is yet very promising for new exploration activity.
Schlumberger with our partners TGS have been involved in the multi-client seismic project, conducting a state-of-the-art seismic surveying and associated processing. A complete sweep mapping the Egyptian territorial Red Sea was done.
The unexplored offshore Egyptian Red Sea area is made up of large, untested structures and well-established hydrocarbon systems which offer exceptional growth opportunities for oil companies. New acquisition and imaging technologies are required to improve subsurface understanding and increase exploration success rates.
In support of future licensing rounds, a new circa 11,000-kilometre long-offset broadband 2D multi-client seismic survey was acquired as an initial step to mitigate the complex salt and pre-salt imaging challenges in this frontier basin. The survey was completed in March 2018, and prestack time and depth products are now available for licensing.
Based on what you’ve learned from this process, and comparing it to the Mediterranean, how prolific do you think the Red Sea will become?
The Red Sea is a very promising area and key learning has been the value of using the latest seismic technologies and process techniques across one complete seismic survey spanning the whole of the Egyptian Red Sea territory. Leveraging high-quality data processing for the whole region will enable prospective investors to optimise their planning, de-risk the exploration process and further maximise their chances of discovery.
The other important part is that Schlumberger is also doing the multi-client survey for the Gulf of Suez, which gives the E&P companies visibility across from the Gulf of Suez going into the Red Sea, where you can capitalise on some known seismic information as the region is a natural extension to further calibrate the subsurface modelling.
Currently Schlumberger is working on creating a unique image of the whole Gulf of Suez and will use the latest technologies to provide the best image of the subsurface and identify new horizons for exploration and discovery.
How receptive do you feel the Egyptian oil and gas market has become to digitalisation technologies in the past couple of years?
The modernisation programme is supporting introducing new technologies and digitalisation across the value chain. One of the things we are working on with the ministry is digitalising all the production data in Egypt by having central reporting of production and making that available to decision makers.
Today we are working with EGPC on a project using one of our applications, called Avocet, to provide full production visibility for all the different business units in Egypt. This will help monitor and identify where focus and attention is required
Another key digitalisation project ongoing in Egypt is the Egypt Upstream Gateway, which will digitalise all of Egypt’s subsurface data and enable value added processing whilst making the data and information available via an online portal to new and existing investors; this will propel Egypt’s oil and gas to a new era on the digital front and accelerate further investment into Egypt.
Also on the technology front, the success of Zohr was a result of the commitment of the Egyptian oil and gas sector to new technologies. Schlumberger was very proud to be part of that success. We delivered unique technologies to that project in terms of software and consultancy for data analysis, data acquisition and fluid sampling, subsea infrastructure, unique well testing and up to the early production facility, which enabled first gas in December 2017.
Egypt’s oil and gas sector has managed to show its capacity to deliver world-class projects under very tight timelines, and has set a new world-class benchmark. Our experience in the Mediterranean shows that we can do that. Schlumberger is proud that we have all the required technology to replicate such success stories and we remain confident that the leap in the digitalisation domain we are currently embarking on will also be a major success for the Egyptian oil and gas sector.
Can you tell us about the Egypt Centre of Efficiency?
The Schlumberger Egypt Centre of Efficiency (ECE) operational base is over 100,000 square metres. It has the latest processes, technologies and maintenance in terms of preparing equipment for operation in remote places and maintaining new technologies.
One global challenge with introducing new technologies is the maintenance of that technology in terms of expertise and the physical facilities. ECE has that capability.
This facility is also fully connected to the rest of the world, so that all the processes are in real time and follow instructions from all the product centres and manufacturers around the world so that we can build on the lessons being learned around the world in real time, enabling best in class in service quality and HSE. It also combines all the different product lines in our portfolio.
On the processes aspect, there is an extremely high degree of digitalisation. We track the equipment from the time it comes to our facility through barcoding, with which we can record a history of the maintenance of the tools and the operational checks requirement of the equipment. All this information is digitised and linked throughout the value chain process in preventative maintenance, the pre-job preparation and full service delivery cycle.
Why did Schlumberger choose Egypt for this centre?
It’s a sign of commitment and understanding of the role Egypt plays as a major hub within both Africa and the Middle East, and in the Mediterranean region. We firmly believe that the investment we made in this facility is indicative of our commitment to the country. We see that Egypt is positioned to be a hub in the energy market going forward, with a bright future in investment in terms of offshore exploration, the Red Sea, multi-client projects, the Western Desert and a renewed focus on the Gulf of Suez.
Egypt is also a key source of talent in oil and gas, and Schlumberger has always been leveraging and developing such talent within the company in Egypt and globally. Our Egypt Center of Efficiency is ideal to develop such talent.
Do you see opportunities in production facilities?
We are extremely proud to have delivered the early production facility for the Zohr mega-field with unprecedented teamwork and collaboration from all stakeholders and partners led by the ministry, Eni, Petrobel, Petrojet and others. This was a key project with national implication with the first gas successfully delivered in December 2017.
Now we are seeing more opportunities to use that success story, where we have a state-of-the-art facility for production. The unique technology used is extremely efficient in terms of uptime, H2S processing and the HSE front.
This success story is something we want to replicate in other parts of Egypt. We are looking for other EPF needs in the Western Desert and potentially in the new exploration of the Red Sea.
Schlumberger has signed an MoU with Petrojet in which we combine the strengths of Schlumberger’s technology with the local manufacturing and infrastructure capacity that Petrojet has in Egypt. Together we can provide the best in class in safety, with timely delivery, of either EPFs or components to process facilities for existing refineries, upgrades and so forth.
Egypt’s oil and gas market is very open and has activity across the value chain. It is not focused on exploration only. There are lots of opportunities in the mature fields here. In 2019, we are seeing a focus on how to unlock the mature fields to increase oil production and a solid infrastructure and production facilities network will be important to accelerate oil production and make it available for the market.
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