The Business Year

OM23_EN_Schlumberger_Ali Al Lawati

OMAN - Energy & Mining

Ali Al Lawati

Regional Managing Director (Oman, Pakistan & Yemen), SLB

Bio

Ali Al Lawati is the Regional Managing Director (Oman, Pakistan & Yemen) at SLB, as well as a board member for the Oman Society for Petroleum Services and the Oman Institute of Oil & Gas. Having graduated in 2004 from the Sultan Qaboos University with a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering and natural gas, he joined SLB in Oman as an operations manager, becoming the first Omani in this position. Before taking on his current position in 2020, he held various managerial and leadership positions in HR, operations, and transformation in the MENA region.

"Beside promoting human capital and local talent by increasing the Omanization rate in the country, SLB is developing the local economy by buying local goods and services where possible."

Ali Al Lawati, Regional Managing Director (Oman, Pakistan & Yemen) at SLB, talks to TBY about the rebrand, innovative new technology in oil and gas, and ICV.

In October 2022, Schlumberger became SLB, a global technology company driving energy innovation for a balanced planet. Why this new brand, and why now?

Ali Al Lawati: SLB has a nearly 100-year heritage in pioneering technology and scientific innovation. We have been focusing for some time now on leveraging that heritage, our diversity, and our culture of excellence to play a leading role in decarbonizing the industry. We needed our brand to better reflect who we are today—a global technology company, driving energy innovation for a balanced planet. The launch of our new brand last month comes at a time when the world is facing an energy trilemma, which is about balancing the interplay between energy affordability, energy security, and climate change. SLB is uniquely positioned to address each of these challenges, given our history of technology innovation and industrialization expertise in the energy services industry. Moving forward, we will use this expertise to continue driving decarbonization across oil and gas while expanding our capabilities to support the decarbonization journeys of other industries. This will help bring balance to the challenges of the energy trilemma in the near term, while forging the road ahead for the energy transition. We will continue serving our customers in the region just as we have for the past 85 years. We will do this by continuing to focus on service quality and exceeding our customer’s expectations, and by offering more sustainable solutions to a broader range of customers in our industry, but also in other industries that need to decarbonize. For our customers in oil and gas, more sustainable development solutions will come from digitally enabled technologies and our growing portfolio of transition technologies, which is focused on reducing emissions from oil and gas operations with a quantifiable emissions reduction benefit. In 2020 we launched our SLB New Energy portfolio, where we are exploring new businesses in low-carbon or carbon-neutral energy technologies. We are building partnerships and applying our experience in technology industrialization to help other industries reduce their emissions, and to expand into areas in energy end-use and storage, where our technology expertise holds great opportunity.

What innovative technologies are you currently exploring and deploying across your operations?

Ali Al Lawati: We see SLB as a global technology company driving energy innovation for a balanced planet. Digital is a main driver supporting the transformation of the energy sector in oil and gas and new energy, innovating to improve performance and achieve greater efficiencies, decarbonize the industry, and scaling new energy systems to accelerate clean energy. SLB has an extensive digital portfolio of solutions and products including cloud based, hybrid, Edge, IoT and AI. The company also developed the DELFI cognitive E&P environment which is a collaborative technology that unites the E&P life cycle in the cloud. It’s open, secure, scalable, and fully managed, seamlessly connecting people, data and leading to solutions across exploration, development, drilling, production, and midstream, new energy. We have what we call INNOVATION FACTORI centers, which utilize the latest digital solutions, AI, a data science platform, and a data scientist working with domain experts to develop custom digital solutions that meet challenges, improve efficiencies and automate workflows, and so forth.

What steps is the company taking to integrate environmental excellence into its business strategy, and what is your approach to sustainability and ESG?

Ali Al Lawati: Sustainability can’t merely be an add on. It has to run deep through our strategy and be a fundamental part of how we operate. It’s a long-term journey, and our transition to net zero is only the beginning. In 2021, we announced our 2050 net zero commitment, including Scope 3 emissions. This commitment goes beyond our direct emissions and tightly aligns us with our customers to drive decarbonization across the industry. We’ve put a sustainable approach into practice at every level of our business, guided by a comprehensive framework of principles, ambition, and action, with regular reporting on progress. Our three pillars are climate action, people, and nature. We’re committed to helping drive the global shift to sustainable energy production. We’re setting challenging goals for ourselves to deliver measurable social and environmental progress, and are also asking our customers, suppliers, and peers to partner with us on this journey. Together, we can make real progress in accelerating energy innovation and access, while supporting local and global economic development. Our work in sustainability, particularly in the communities where we operate, helps us contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Our own sustainability goals are aligned to these, and we are drawing on our innovation capabilities, technology investments, and strategic partnerships to realize them while engaging the entire SLB organization in our drive for sustainability.

What role does SLB play in Oman’s green energy transition?

Ali Al Lawati: SLB is uniquely positioned to derive innovation to achieve the global transition toward a sustainable energy mix and decarbonization for a balanced planet. Our core business is where we can make the greatest and most immediate impact by continuing to innovate in oil and gas, setting new performance benchmarks, reducing the carbon intensity of operations. At the same time, we are working to scale technology solutions on energy transition and decarbonization through our newly established SLB New Energy (SNE). The SNE focus areas include geothermal for power generation, hydrogen, geo-energy for heating and cooling, energy storage and carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). We recently announced a collaboration with Oman’s Ministry of Energy and Minerals and the Oman Investment Authority in building a national strategy to develop the potential of Oman’s geothermal resources. This follows the completion of an extensive project to evaluate data from more than 7,000 oil, gas and water wells, with the objective of mapping sweet spots for geothermal prospects in the country. In addition, SLB is scaling in digital transformation as a key enabler to support the global energy system and decarbonization. We have many technologies that help reduce the impact of oil and gas operations. For example, we provided a zero emission well testing service that allowed the removal of 80k tons of CO2, the equivalent of taking 17,000 cars off the road annually. In 2020, the company introduced the “Ora” technology platform that has enabled efficient downhole sampling, slashing operation time by over 50%. This service also enables downhole “Deep-Transient” testing with zero emissions. Furthermore, we are also in discussions with the government for several other projects on transition technologies that will shortly be announced.

In which ways do you improve the ICV?
Ali Al Lawati: Beside promoting human capital and local talent by increasing the Omanization rate in the country, SLB is developing the local economy by buying local goods and services where possible and is increasingly pursuing partnerships and finding ways to better enable their growth by considering the total cost of ownership when awarding contracts. This approach can create competitive advantages for local suppliers that benefit from being close to our operations. The company believes that considerable scope exists for local companies to better serve our business in Oman, and to do the same in other countries. SLB’s development programs for suppliers and manufacturers aim to increase the in-country value of SLB’s business in Oman by establishing an assembly and testing facility to produce a diversity of equipment. Plans are also in place to expand the in-country manufacturing capabilities to develop regional competency (ICV level II) for potential exporting from Oman. SLB is actively seeking opportunities to service and manufacture field equipment in Oman. The company’s approach is to engage with LCCs, SMEs and other local suppliers in anticipation of needing their services so they are ready to support SLB’s service delivery, as and when contracts are awarded. Since 2011, SLB has invested around over USD1 billion on the local supply chain, with 20% of the local supply going to SMEs and LCCs.

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