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Abu Dhabi 2016 | ENERGY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Hussein Fouad El Ghazzawy, General Manager and Vice President-UAE of Schlumberger, on recent decisions by OPEC, developing organizational talent, and supporting national energy infrastructure.

Hussein Fouad El Ghazzawy
BIOGRAPHY
Hussein Fouad El Ghazzawy has been General Manager & Vice President-UAE for Schlumberger in the UAE since May 2010. Prior to this, he was General Manager in Yemen, a position he had held since 2007. Before these assignments, he held senior regional positions in operations, technical, and marketing for the D&M segment. He started his career with Schlumberger in 1984 as a Field Engineer in multiple locations across northern and western Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Hussein holds a degree with honors in geology and geophysics and a master’s with honors in petroleum geology from Ain Shams University.

OPEC will raise the ceiling of production. How does this affect Schlumberger?

From a UAE perspective, the market will be challenging in 2016. We do not see any significant delay of major projects starting. Projects yet to start may be delayed; however, ones that have already begun should continue as planned. Definitely, there is pressure from our customers to deliver on our central goal of reducing costs, and we are working with them on this. We have been running a transformation program at Schlumberger since 2008. We believe that as part of our partnership with our customers we are able to pass on some savings gained through our various initiatives without compromising HSE or service quality. It is at a time like this that we should introduce new technology. New technology might be more expensive than conventional means but it is effective if we manage to demonstrate the efficiency gains and value-added to our client. Instead of having a full crew, we have a remote operation to reduce the crew and use various communication methods to transfer the data to our offices, where senior employees can monitor operations. This provides savings that we can share with our customers. By combining some services that we were providing to a customer, we reduce the time for a logging operation by 30%. It was a combination of new technologies and looking at the way we ran the operation. We combined a couple of runs and saved a lot on rig time.

Schlumberger remains one of the world's most preferred employers. What is your HR strategy?

The good thing about Schlumberger is that we do not stop recruiting, as it is important that we keep investing for the future. We have started a transformation program, part of which entails the remote operations, while another part involves multi-skilled workers. We train our employees to be multi skilled without diluting the specialty of the individuals, which is good for our people because they get more opportunities to develop their skills. This provides us with agility and flexibility, and that definitely helps our costs. We address equipment utilization as well. We look at how we can derive more utilization from the tools we have. We may slow down our recruiting number, but we do not stop. In Abu Dhabi we have the Middle East Learning Center, which is a learning center for people coming from all over the world. On any given day, it can accommodate up to 650 students, making it the second-largest training center we have in the world, and number one in terms of the diversity of training. We can cover most of Schlumberger's segments at this training center. We thank ADNOC for donating this land to us. It opened in March 2007. It is a landmark demonstrating the partnership that we developed with ADNOC through the years.

How are you supporting the national energy infrastructure?

Our overall objective is to reduce our customers' cost per barrel. We work to get involved much earlier in our customers' projects because then we can look at the way they are executed; the early phases of planning are where we can have the greatest impact on how it is delivered. Part of the needed mindset change is to get involved earlier so that we can work together in the planning phase with our customer and look at how we can execute projects much more efficiently. We have been asked by executives and ministers to work closely with our customers in developing alternative solutions and services earlier, which might even change the status quo of planning. The market for oil and gas is evolving and the challenges that the industry is facing are helping us and our clients to think outside the box and change mindsets. Trust is important as well, and we need to be open. Despite the current challenges, this is an exciting time for the industry.