The technological side of drillingMay 24, 2023
Sheikh Mubarak A. M. Al Sabah, vice-chairman of Action Group and chairman of Action Energy Company and Ahmad Mohammad Al Ajlan, CEO of Action Energy, talk to The Energy Year about the role the company plays in Kuwait’s oil and gas industry and insights into the technological side of the country’s drilling sector. Action Energy is a Kuwaiti-based oil services and energy company.
What role does Action Energy play in the Kuwaiti oil and gas industry?
Sheikh Mubarak A. M. AL SABAH: Action Energy started its activity in the oil and gas industry in 2014 with only two contracts. In less than 10 years, it has become one of the leading 100% Kuwaiti‐owned services providers with the capacity to execute, standalone and in joint venture with our international partners, complete upstream services to our clients. These services cover most of our clients’ demands, including but not limited to, integrated drilling services, coiled tubing, stimulations and pumping, nitrogen services, cementing, drilling and completion fluids, fishing and downhole tools, slickline and wireline services, and wellhead maintenance services.
In the period between 2020 and 2022, during the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, Action Energy launched several projects for KOC in co-operation with our partners, including a cementing contract, a drilling and completion fluids services contract, a coiled tubing contract and a deep drilling services contract.
What are your perspectives for the drilling sector in 2023?
Ahmad Mohammad AL AJLAN: In late 2022, we secured a new contract for six new 750 hp rigs and renewed a contract for two 1,500 hp rigs. Action Energy sees 2023 as a very promising year in terms of drilling activities, thanks to KOC and KGOC’s latest drilling push. Last year, 44 rigs were tendered in total, and we forecast the same number or more for 2023. We are continuously monitoring the Kuwaiti oilfield services market and the many projects in the pipeline for 2023. These include additional rig contracts for drilling and workover services, as well as expected tenders for other upstream service activities.
The expected growth in activity is in line with KPC’s 2040 strategic objectives, which aim to sustain production levels and unlock the potential of sources such as heavy oil, standardised associated and non‐associated gas in Jurassic reservoirs, and the results of the offshore exploratory drilling operations.
What are the technological particularities of the drilling sector in Kuwait?
A.A.: Drilling services do not adopt too many new technologies, however we can say that the newest implementation technology for the local Kuwaiti market is the rig walking system. Practically speaking, today, KOC has already utilised all available wellsite space and it is physically not possible to allocate additional space for new wells. The drilling of new wells is only possible by utilising space on already-existing well pads by compacting the distance between the wellheads.
This is challenging because for this, you need very precise equipment, which allows you to work on the same pad without interfering with operations on the other wells. The equipment should be compact. The other challenge is to minimise the timing of the rig move and maximise drilling time for the rig, increasing the operational efficiency.
Basically, the rig is supposed to be moving by itself on location. That is a new KOC requirement for the upgrading of the Kuwaiti rig fleet.
What are the key strategic priorities for the years to come?
A.S.: We see a lot of growth happening in the next five years, and we are continuously looking for improvement and expansion of our capacities. At the moment, we can provide drilling solutions for medium depths and workover. Expanding to deep drilling requires certain qualification criteria. We’re now in the process of pre‐qualification for KOC.
Action Energy aims to grow both vertically and horizontally to be able to offer integrated oilfield services solutions. With fair competition in the market, Action Energy has the opportunity to become a regional integrated upstream services provider, thus we are actively looking into expansion within the GCC area.
We are also actively working with multiple software companies to optimise our processes. It is very important to support the initiatives that will lead to the digitalisation of the Kuwaiti oil and gas sector.
Our vision is to become a regional player recognised across the Middle East and North Africa, while implementing cost‐effective solutions and maintaining social responsibility.