TOGY talks to
Opportunities for collaborationAugust 25, 2017
Ziad Jeha, vice-president and general manager of Schlumberger Saudi Arabia, talks to TOGY about the development of local content in Saudi Arabia, the introduction of new technologies and the market for oilfield services in the country. Schlumberger has been working in the Saudi market since 1937.
Schlumberger’s oilfield services include seismic, drilling, well characterisation, completions, subsea works, production, well intervention and well testing. Over the last couple of years, the drive to promote local manufacturing and technical skills has accelerated in Saudi Arabia. Jeha discusses Schlumberger’s in-country manufacturing and deployment capabilities, which make it well placed to support local companies through joint ventures.
• On Local Content in Saudi Arabia: “We also work together with local companies through joint ventures because there are certain strengths that we have and certain strengths that they have. Our strength is high-tier business and high-end technologies. Their strength is the in-country knowledge and value that they bring as a local company.”
• On the use of new technologies: “We have introduced valuable new technologies, such as surface-to-borehole electromagnetic measurements. Using this method, we have carried out a pilot test with Saudi Aramco to evaluate the movement of fluids within certain reservoirs. This is very important to aid the subsurface understanding of enhanced recovery within reservoirs and other reservoir optimisation techniques.”
Jeha also discussed Schlumberger’s recent merger with the Cameron Group and what this will mean for the company’s portfolio of oilfield services. Most TOGY interviews are published exclusively on our business intelligence platform TOGYiN, but you can find the full interview with Ziad Jeha below.
What is your assessment of the competitive landscape in Saudi Arabia?
Our customers are always encouraging local content and are working with local oilfield services companies to achieve this. We welcome the opportunity this brings. We also work together with local companies through joint ventures because there are certain strengths that we have and certain strengths that they have. Our strength is high-tier business and high-end technologies. Their strength is the in-country knowledge and value that they bring as a local company.
What are your most recent offerings in the Saudi market?
Saudi Arabia is one of the largest countries where we operate. We have been operating here since 1937. Today, we offer almost all the product lines of Schlumberger in Saudi Arabia. This includes, for example, drilling, hydraulic fracturing, testing, wireline logging and other services. Having all of these product lines together allows us to combine them to deliver an integrated operation for our customers, both in Saudi Arabia and in Bahrain.
Using this integrated approach, we are currently conducting lump-sum turnkey projects, which involve combining services from drilling, completion, evaluation and stimulation, which provides comprehensive solutions for accessing reservoirs. This is a more efficient way to deliver wells to Saudi Aramco and our customers.
By collaborating with Saudi Aramco and jointly understanding the reservoir from a technical perspective, we are able to adjust our offering and services to deliver the best outcome for Saudi Aramco. Since bringing Cameron into the Schlumberger family of services in March 2016, our technical offering has expanded in both surface equipment and midstream solutions.
Which new technologies is Schlumberger using to drive oil and gas production?
Over the last couple of months we have introduced valuable new technologies, such as surface-to-borehole electromagnetic measurements. Using this method, we have carried out a pilot test with Saudi Aramco to evaluate the movement of fluids within certain reservoirs. This is very important to aid the subsurface understanding of enhanced recovery within reservoirs and other reservoir optimisation techniques.
Another new technology that we are using involves a new way of deploying electrical submersible pumps. Rather than having a rig or mobilising a whole rig to deploy a pump several kilometres under the surface, we are instead able to use a small coil tubing unit or wireline unit to deploy the pump. By making use of faster and more economical deployment, we are being more efficient and more cost-effective.
Within Saudi Arabia, we have also recently introduced a wireline tool with which we are able to bring a sample of oil from the subsurface at a faster rate than with conventional methods. This enables Saudi Aramco to avoid the extra costs involved in holding a rig to take a sample. We are encouraged by Saudi Aramco to bring new technologies into the country and we appreciate their willingness to be early adopters of our technology.
What expertise has Schlumberger gained from its merger with Cameron?
The merger with Cameron has complemented our products and services in Saudi Arabia. Previously, we were more focused on subsurface services. Cameron’s surface facilities including a broad mid-stream portfolio has enabled us to extend our portfolio from pore to pipeline. The Cameron Group has the ability to manufacture, repair and certify a range of equipment in Saudi Arabia, which serves the Saudi market and also the markets of neighbouring countries.
Our Cameron Group also has great knowledge in surface wellheads and midstream equipment—an important area for Saudi Arabia. Midstream includes process systems such as vessels, oil and gas skids and surface facilities with which we are able to serve the industry by maintaining and improving production for processing facilities.
One example of this is the dual frequency dehydrator technology, which enables companies to process crude faster and remove undesired fluids faster while investing a minimum in the process gathering centres. Cameron also provides business solutions in deepwater and subsea. In the future these markets are expected to mature in Saudi Arabia.
How are your operations broken down at the Center for Reliability and Efficiency?
The Centre for Reliability and Efficiency is a centre where we maintain our equipment and support our operations. It is meant to serve not only Saudi Arabia, but also neighbouring countries. We inaugurated the centre last year in an area covering around 178,000 square metres.
Trucks and surface equipment are received in the centre and are put through a streamlined process. The workflow involves inspection and maintenance to make them ready for deployment in an operation in Saudi Arabia or outside the country.
The centre is well manned with skilled local talent focussed on delivery and excellence. At the moment, it predominantly serves needs in Saudi Arabia with expansions in operations ongoing to fulfil the requirements of both Saudi Arabia and neighbouring countries. Phase II will add downhole equipment to compliment the surface equipment maintenance. This will provide a complete and comprehensive approach to service delivery.
How does Schlumberger plan to develop local content in Saudi Arabia?
Over the last couple of years, Saudi Aramco’s push to promote local manufacturing and technical skills has accelerated not only in oil and gas but across the board. Schlumberger has also been investing locally in both products and skilled talent for quite some time.
In 1964, the Arabian Drilling Company was established as a partnership between the General Petroleum and Minerals Organization (Petromin) and Schlumberger affiliate companies. Later in 2006, Schlumberger pioneered its Dhahran Carbonate Research Center, located close to King Fahd University. The university’s focus was on geology and rock physics and production, completion and recovery projects in the Middle East region.
In addition to this, Schlumberger has in-country manufacturing capabilities to support the deployment of its technology, products and services. We are continuously recruiting Saudis from Saudi universities and also from outside universities. We initiated a project three years ago to recruit Saudis graduating from US universities with the intent of bringing them to Saudi Arabia. We even have our own training structure that we use to train and develop local Saudi talent.
We already have a good number of senior managers in the company who are Saudi nationals. We are also active in the diversity agenda for Saudi Arabia and we are working with Saudi Aramco on a training programme for women.
Overall the in-Kingdom Total Value Add Program (IKTVA) is a strategic move for Saudi Arabia and we are very well aligned and focused on the IKTVA. In addition to a broad range of projects we have a task force looking after IKTVA in Schlumberger. Our future projects are also well aligned with investments in manufacturing as well as preparing rig manufacturing in Saudi Arabia.
What are your goals for Schlumberger Saudi Arabia?
We will continue introducing new technologies in Saudi Arabia and maintain our focus on recruiting and developing the best local Saudi talent.
For more information on Schlumberger in Saudi Arabia, including the company’s recent merger with the Cameron Group, see our business intelligence platform, TOGYiN.
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