Oman continued investments despite oil price drop

WHOC - Day 1 - Ministerial Session

The Sultanate continued investments in the oil and gas sector despite the oil price drop since 2014, HE Dr. Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhy, Minister of Oil & Gas said at the opening of the 2018 edition of the World Heavy Oil Congress & Exhibition (WHOC) at the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre on Monday.

“We did not slow down during the 2014-2018 oil drop. The fear was always that the reduction in investment, specifically in exploration, was going to hit us hard but we stayed the course and proceeded with our previous plans with the support of the government, shareholders, and oil and gas companies operating in the country. As a country, we took the right decision to focus on investment and that has helped us in staying the course. We need to invest to meet the global demand. If we don’t we will pay the price.”

“Both the public and private sector have a responsibility. With greater private sector participation and the optimisation of ecosystems of our economy versus prioritising profits, we can together further advance our industry forward. Job creation is a challenge that has to be addressed,” he added.

HE Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Minister of Oil of the Kingdom of Bahrain, commended Oman for investments in the oil and gas sector despite the low price. “Within the region, Oman was the first to invest in heavy oil and we have a lot to learn from them. Heavy oil could be in heavy demand, at least in the short term, as a result of implications of the light tight oil phenomenon in North America.”

During the next three days, more than 3,000 international industry professionals and experts will connect, discuss, and deliberate the transformation of the heavy oil value chain and the future of the world’s energy mix.

The Ministers along with a high-level delegation from WHOC toured the exhibition, which will run until Wednesday, where regional and international NOCs, IOCs, service and technology providers are showcasing the best technologies, products and services for the heavy oil sector. Notable exhibitors include Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), Eni SPA, China National Offshore Oil Corporation, Bahrain Petroleum Company, Kitsnet, Badr EOR, Albpetrol, RGL Reservoir Management Ltd, SoluForce, HP Well Screen, and Salamander to name but a few.

Welcoming participants from all around the globe, Congress Chairmen Dr. Ali Al Gheithy, Petroleum Engineering Function Director at Petroleum Development Oman, and Dr. Saleh bin Ali Al Anboori, Director General of Planning and Studies at Oman’s Ministry of Oil & Gas, highlighted the Sultanate’s growing role on the global stage in spearheading innovation to maximise heavy oil production.

“The world is awash with heavy and extra heavy oil deposits, in excess of 1 trillion barrels. It currently accounts for 12-15 per cent of total global production and there is significant recoverable potential to be unlocked. Technology and collaboration will be the key,” said Dr. Al Gheithy. “Heavy oil and enhanced oil recovery form an important part of Oman’s oil mix. It is anticipated that by 2025 about 25 per cent of PDO’s production will come from EOR projects. We have partnered with Omani universities and academic institutions to develop and further advance our research and development programs to not just keep up with the technological innovations but also to pioneer and lead this disruption.”

The Strategic Conference continued with a session on ‘Rethinking the Energy Operation Model: Agility, Adaptability & Global Cooperation in Redefining the Future of E&P’. The panel of speakers included: Dr. Bakheet Al Katheeri, CEO of Mubadala Petroleum, Luca Bertelli, Chief Exploration Officer of Eni, Steve Kelly, President and General Manager of Occidental Oman, Amran Marhubi, Technical Director of Petroleum Development Oman and Steven Moss, CEO of GlassPoint Solar.

“Heavy oil is a conventional resource that deserves special attention. We always try to apply the most advanced techniques to increase the amounts of recovery of heavy oil and to do it in the most efficient way possible. Digitalization can help further improve our industry to become more efficient, lower our unit operating costs, and enhance our safety standards,” said Bertelli.

A key highlight of the day was GlassPoint Solar’s announcement of SolaRISE, a new technology center in partnership with Petroleum Development Oman. Standing for solar research, innovation and sustainably in energy, SolaRISE will develop and test next generation solar technologies in the oilfield environment.

Running simultaneously to the Strategic Conference, the Technical Conference began with six stimulating sessions. Providing an invaluable opportunity for heavy oil professionals to learn from one another, the sessions addressed a number of current hot topics including Enhanced Oil Recovery, data management and Industrial Internet of Things, as well as exploration and reservoir challenges and opportunities.

Held under the auspices of the Ministry of Oil & Gas, the World Heavy Oil Congress & Exhibition is co-hosted by Petroleum Development Oman and is supported by Eni as Platinum Sponsor and Occidental of Oman as Gold Sponsor. WHOC is also sponsored by GlassPoint Solar and WorleyParsons, and is supported by the Ministry of Tourism and Business Gateways as In Country Value Partner, in addition to Oman Air and Oman Holidays as Official Travel Partners.


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