NEW RECORDS

Kuwait 2017 | ENERGY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Jamal Abdul Aziz Jafaar, CEO of Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), on recent achievements, new projects, and the company's efforts at innovation.

Jamal Abdul Aziz Jafaar
BIOGRAPHY
Before his appointment as CEO of KOC in January 2016, Jamal Abdul Aziz Jafaar served as Deputy CEO, responsible for the planning and commercial directorates. He has 35 years of experience in the oil industry, primarily focusing on upstream activities. He worked at Al Khafji Joint Operation, representing Kuwait Gulf Oil Company for more than 10 years. Jafaar graduated from Kuwait University as a chemical engineer.

What have been the main achievements and developments at KOC since your appointment as CEO in January 2016?

The company performed well in 2016. We reached a record production of 3,078 thousand barrels of oil per day (MBOPD) and gas production of about 1,900 million standard cubic feet of gas (MMSCFD). In addition, several projects, which are critical to delivering KOC's strategic production capacity target of 3,650MBOPD by 2020, have progressed well. These projects include four production units—three of them for Jurassic oil production and one for heavy oil production, which together will deliver around 135MBOPD, three gathering centers in North Kuwait with total capacity of 300MBOPD, and a major heavy oil production facility to produce 60MBOPD. In August 2016, KOC reduced the gas-flaring rate of its operations to a record 0.8% of its produced gas, thereby maximizing the revenue from gas production and improving the quality of the environment. Also on the environmental front, last April we inaugurated the Ahmadi Oasis, a new addition to the several oases KOC has constructed in its operation areas to restore and improve the environment. In response to HH the Amir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah's direction to develop alternative energy sources, we have established our first solar power plant in West Kuwait to cover some of the power requirements in the operations and oil production fields.

The KOC's mandate primarily encompasses the exploration, drilling, and production of oil and gas in Kuwait. What are the major projects that your company is currently involved in?

Several major projects are ongoing toward realizing our strategic goals in all the fields. In the exploration field, KOC currently handles five projects, which are in the execution stage, with an approximate cost of KWD259.8 million. These are the 2D/3D seismic surveys in Kuwait Bay, North Kuwait, and Southeast Kuwait and two other projects related to 3D seismic surveys for Boubyan Island and West Kuwait. When it comes to drilling, KOC handles around 100 drilling projects with different drilling types, including the construction of flowlines and artificial lift, with an approximate cost of KWD5.5 billion. Work on an effluent water treatment and injection plant and a new booster station in West Kuwait are also in progress.

What is your strategy for future innovation within KOC?

Our strategy outlines an ambitious growth agenda with technology as a critical enabler. Considering the challenges that we face in Kuwait, we look at several key technologies with high potential for our operations. We are considering the options of using nano-chemicals for enhanced oil recovery, which could lead to increased production with a limited amount of material. The options to use nano-materials for corrosion control and drilling fluids are also being explored. Water conformance technologies that enable the potential use of smart fluids to prevent or reduce water production from our reservoirs are also being looked into. The use of non-thermal processes for heavy oil productions, new effective inhibitors to prevent asphalting, and also a new class of superior chemicals as surfactants are also being explored.

With global volatility in the oil price in recent years, what do you consider to be the main challenges in attaining KPC's volume objective of 4 million barrels of oil per day (MMBOPD) in 2020?

KPC has set a challenging strategic direction for Kuwait's domestic upstream, which is a production capacity of 4MMBOPD by 2020, of which KOC's share is 3.65MMBOPD. To achieve this target, KOC has been implementing a comprehensive roadmap, where we outline how to overcome the challenges ahead. First, we will master secondary recovery techniques and conduct an aggressive exploration program to add additional new oil and gas production capacities. We will also enhance the current production capacity by applying production optimization techniques and by piloting and implementing newer technologies to meet our strategic target. In addition to the sub-surface optimization initiatives, we are conducting several de-bottlenecking projects in several production facilities to increase its crude handling capacities.