Front-end engagement in TrinidadJanuary 7, 2020
Nigel Yip Choy, oilfield services Caribbean area lead for Baker Hughes, talks to TOGY about how the company is working to boost production in Trinidad and Tobago and its strategy of offering more front-end engagement to customers. Baker Hughes is an energy technology company that provides solutions to energy and industrial customers worldwide.
What impact have you seen from the separation of Baker Hughes and GE?
We have been a strong, independent company since we came together in 2017, so this is a milestone on our journey and one we have been prepared for. As announced in September , GE’s ownership reduction means we are no longer a “GE company.” This also paved the way for us to launch a new brand that better reflects who we are today and clarifies our long-term strategic direction for the company.
We believe it also differentiates us in the marketplace. The core of our strategy is enabling our industry to remain competitive and relevant for the future – by ensuring competitive cost structures, greater efficiency, and lower carbon intensity of current and future exploration, production and use. We will continue delivering on our strategy, as we are today, and position our company for the future through our focus on low-carbon solutions and technology leadership.
Which services will Baker Hughes strategically focus on moving forward?
Within Baker Hughes, there are four product companies: Oilfield Services, Oilfield Equipment, Turbomachinery and Process Solutions, and Digital Solutions. We continue to offer the same products and services to our customers as we have in the past. No changes to our existing portfolio have been made as a result of the brand launch.
We believe that no other company can match our unique portfolio of fullstream offerings – upstream, midstream and downstream. We will continue to create new opportunities and develop integrated solutions across our portfolio to improve outcomes for our customers.
I am particularly excited about how we can help customers lead through the energy transition and reduce their environmental impact. Here in Trinidad, about 12 million tonnes per annum of LNG is produced, and our turbines play an important enabling role. Our investment in technology is delivering greater efficiency through turbines that are more energy efficient, generate fewer greenhouse gases and are more reliable.
The energy transition and the need to decarbonise oil and gas is such a fundamental trend in the industry that it is part of the product development roadmap and strategy of each of our product companies.
How can Baker Hughes contribute to sustainability?
At the beginning of 2019, we announced our intention to achieve net-zero carbon equivalent emissions by 2050. We are focused on three areas: reducing emissions from our own operations, putting our existing technology to work to help customers reduce emissions and developing and investing in new technology that will help secure our leadership position for the future.
We have made great progress in all three areas. Our emissions are down 34% since 2012 and we are on track to achieve our goals. We have projects underway to reduce emissions of several major E&P operators and a number of products in the development pipeline for the future.
This is an area in which we will continue in partnership with our customers. As an example, oil and gas operators are looking for smart ways to reduce methane emissions. Methane, like carbon dioxide, is a greenhouse gas. Our industry must act responsibly to maintain our social licence to operate, so we have to ensure that fugitive methane emissions can be detected and plugged at every phase along the custody chain from the wellhead to the end user.
Supporting those goals, Baker Hughes has developed innovative technologies such as LUMEN, used to provide continuous and unmanned aerial vehicle methane monitoring, and flare.IQ, used to control downstream flare performance. Trinidad has a large downstream processing industry, so we think these kinds of solutions can be applied here to optimise efficiency, reduce emissions, and ultimately deliver competitive financial returns.
What is the scope of your joint venture with C3.ai?
We think digital transformation has the potential to unlock tremendous value across the industry, as we make better use of the terabytes of data that are collected each day. BakerHughesC3.ai, our joint venture with C3.ai, was created to deliver enterprise-scale AI solutions across the value chain and drive intelligent automation through the integration of emerging technologies. Our goal is to augment the way we interact with data and machinery at the source of the operation to enable customers to make quick, accurate and predictive solutions.
We recently announced the launch of BHC3 Reliability, the first AI software application developed by the joint venture, designed to provide early warning of production downtime and process risks to improve operational productivity, efficiency and safety.
What work are you doing with McDermott?
Baker Hughes and McDermott have a joint venture called io consulting. io consulting takes a front-end engineering consulting approach focused on delivering project financial objectives by reducing uncertainty, through decision quality and by maximising value through technology. io consulting has been working with operators in Trinidad to develop solutions that lower production costs to make industries here attractive for investment.
Most people associate Baker Hughes primarily with the well-construction phase. We do that extremely well, but we have a lot more to offer. Moving forward, we’re going to complement that expertise with more front-end engagement with our customers, so we align and partner with them to achieve their goals, not just here in Trinidad, but across the entire Caribbean region.
What outlook do you see for gas production in Trinidad and Tobago?
Trinidad and Tobago is blessed with a prolific hydrocarbon geology. New technology is helping us identify reserves that were not seen before. There will be a long future for gas in Trinidad. We expect international oil companies to remain active in Trinidad for some time to come. Productivity of gas wells in Trinidad is world class.
Where do you see the greatest opportunities for the country to boost production?
We are actively working with customers in Trinidad to boost production rates and enhance overall project economics. I think most of the opportunities lie offshore. I personally expect to see a lot more collaboration between operators in Trinidad. In the past year, Shell signed a memorandum of understanding with Heritage Petroleum Ltd to conduct 3D-seismic surveys. I think that’s going to be a driver for oil production moving forward.