THE MASTER PLAN

Abu Dhabi 2019 | ENERGY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Dr. Uwe Salge, General Manager of Wintershall Middle East, on working with ADNOC on the Shuwaihat field, its capabilities in developing sour gas, and contributing to Abu Dhabi's success.

Dr. Uwe Salge
BIOGRAPHY
Dr. Uwe Salge has been General Manager of Wintershall Middle East since 2014. After completing his degree in geology at the University of Hamburg, Germany, he worked as a geologist for several projects of UNEP in China, India, Turkey, and Indonesia. Since joining Wintershall in 1994, Dr. Salge has worked as an exploration geologist in Oman and in the North Sea region (Netherlands, Germany, and the UK), as an Exploration Manager at Wintershall Libya, and as Vice President of New Ventures. In 2008, he was appointed General Manager of Wintershall Libya. Since 2014, he has been responsible for Wintershall's activities in the entire Middle East region as General Manager in Abu Dhabi.

How are things progressing with your offshore project in Shuwaihat?

The Shuwaihat field is one field among many in the Western region. The project began a few years back. In 2010, we signed an agreement with ADNOC for the technical evaluation of the field. Our goal of the technical appraisal with ADNOC was to find out whether the Shuwaihat gas accumulation was sufficient enough to be developed. After gathering a large amount of data and gaining the necessary insight into the nature of the field, we are now in discussions with ADNOC to discuss a possible development. These discussions are ongoing, and we hope to come to a conclusion by early 2018. The whole sour gas segment has a large number of undeveloped gas resources, which are of strategic importance for the country. This development could bring Abu Dhabi to a level of high self-sufficiency with regards to gas supplies and exports.

How do global developments in the gas market impact Abu Dhabi?

There have been many developments and changes in the global gas market in recent years, with a huge amount of shale gas coming into the system. As a result, global dynamics and the market have been transformed, with former importers becoming exporters. There have also been new developments in Asia, with more supplies flowing into the global system. It is hard to predict the final impact of all of these developments, as we are finding out how sustainable shale gas developments will be, and how fast Asian volumes will continue to come into the market. Nevertheless, for the UAE there are enough gas resources to ensure that the country will be largely independent, although it will require further major efforts to develop these gas fields. ADNOC has developed an integrated gas master plan to meet growing energy needs for Abu Dhabi and overseas customers. This demonstrates that it is a top priority, along with integration of the oil and gas business into a higher value chain.

What is your perspective on the challenges in developing sour gas?

The main challenge with the development of sour gas fields is that they are subsurface, and there is a high degree of complexity involved in approaching the reservoir itself. In addition, sour gas is highly toxic, so high safety standards need to be followed. Wintershall could be a key player because we are a 100% subsidiary of BASF, which has essential technologies in place. There are also challenging and ambitious plans to increase oil recovery from reservoirs elsewhere in Abu Dhabi. New technologies and innovation are needed in that regard. With BASF, we have a large research laboratory capacity that enables us to stay at the forefront of the latest developments. We are not yet involved in any oil asset developments; however, we are confident. Wintershall offers a unique combination of three integrated disciplines: subsurface, engineering, and chemical expertise. This way we are able to develop powerful innovative solutions for sour gas processing, oil production enhancements, and excellent operational performance. We are the perfect partners for Abu Dhabi and we are committed to staying.

How do Abu Dhabi and the Middle East fit into Wintershall's portfolio and strategy?

Abu Dhabi and the Middle East are a dedicated future core area for Wintershall. Based on our past successes, we are sure of our future production and presence here. There are significant differences between these regions, which is why we take our time to make our decision on the region to select. When we do that, we ensure we understand the region and take the right steps. Shuwaihat was a stepping stone. Abu Dhabi continues to hold the largest oil and gas resources in the region. We came here to be successful—together with our partners. And we came here to make a difference by contributing our knowledge and be a reliable partner for ADNOC.