TECHNOLOGY AT THE HEART OF EVERYTHING

Abu Dhabi 2019 | ENERGY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Salem Bin Ashoor, Chief Representative & GM of BP UAE, on partnering with the Emirate's government, investing in R&D, and reaching the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030.

Salem Bin Ashoor
BIOGRAPHY
Salem Bin Ashoor has been working for BP since 2000 in various roles, covering government relations, communications, and external affairs and commercial activity. He has been heavily involved in negotiations across the Middle East in countries such as Oman and Iraq. Prior to his current role, he was the vice president of government relations for BP Middle East. Before this, he also worked for Dubai Aluminum Company.

What are the benefits of BP's partnership with the Abu Dhabi government?

Typical oil and gas deals are either production sharing agreements (PSA), concessions, or royalty and tax type deals. Our present agreement, however, goes beyond a normal contract; it is more integrated into the organization of a sovereign fund, allowing it to have a real stake in the future of our organization. This is all built on the relationship and trust BP has earned with Abu Dhabi as a result of a well-established history of working together. The success of Abu Dhabi, represented by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), has been and is an important and attractive factor for BP, and now that Abu Dhabi is our shareholder, the relationship has a different reach. Now Abu Dhabi wants us to succeed in all of our ventures, not only in Abu Dhabi.

What cutting-edge technology are you able to implement through this partnership?

At BP, we apply technology at scale across all of our portfolio: technology is really at the heart of everything we do. This is visible even in our relationship with ADNOC, where we are providing the best technical and business collaboration to help build greater efficiency and more profitability. In doing so, we are benefiting from greater transparency in terms of how we can add value and transfer our knowledge. This not only concerns technology itself, but also the application of this technology. Providing technology is only half of the game; 50% of success depends on its execution. BP is a leader in deploying enhanced oil recovery (EOR) schemes and has developed several proprietary technologies, such as low salinity water injection, to help recover more oil from the reservoir. BP is also a leader in water flood technology, a type of improved oil recovery. Our success is shown by how we maximize recovery from some of the world's largest reservoirs and from maturing fields in places such as Azerbaijan, Iraq, Russia, and the US. As for Abu Dhabi, we support ADNOC to meet its production target and in their aspiration to achieve 60-70% recovery factor. This is through our technical capability which is demonstrated in different ways: our joint research programs with ADNOC regarding carbonate ionic design, EOR, and reservoir modelling; through the Subsurface Centre of Excellence in ADNOC; our leading position in the Digital Oil Fields work; and our experience in giant water flood oil fields as well as addressing operational challenges. A key enabler, in this sense, is the transfer of senior experts and technology.

What have been the most recent developments in the downstream business?

All NOCs in the region are looking into downstream as they seek extra value in every drop of oil. This approach is great in terms of diversifying income and reflects the challenges of today's market. In order to be successful, companies will be required to have a competitive edge through a differentiated offer that is then able to grow into a niche market. Each player will be known not only regionally, but also globally for a certain segment of the downstream or petrochemicals business.

What further measures should be taken by the government to achieve the 2030 strategy and beyond to 2050?

Education is key. We need to start not only from education in schools, but also education in terms of culture, setting role models for the next generation. We have a program with Abu Dhabi Environment Agency called Sustainable Schools, where we train students on how to protect the environment and recycling or reducing some of the waste. If the private sector and the government work closely via these initiatives, it will make a huge difference to society.