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Kuwait 2018 | ENERGY & INDUSTRY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Wafik Beydoun, General Manager of Total, on its support of KOC, its deep commitment to the environment, and key priorities moving forward.

Wafik Beydoun,
BIOGRAPHY
Wafik Beydoun is General Manager for Total in Kuwait, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC). Previously he worked, among others, as Manager of the R&D division at the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), in secondment from Total, and as President & CEO of Total E&P Research & Technology in Houston. Beydoun holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree of physics from the University of Paris VI, as well as a master’s degree in earth sciences and a PhD in geophysics, both from MIT. He is a member of SEG, SPE, EAGE, AAPG, AGU, and Sigma Xi, and has over 80 publications and communications.

How has the last year been for Total's operations in Kuwait?

Total has been in Kuwait for 20 years now, providing technical support to Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), through a technical services agreement (TSA). Our secondees, in the KOC organization, have been bringing their added value by participating in specific E&P projects. Working on multi-disciplinary and integrated projects with skilled engineers from Total and KOC with a common goal would result in tangible benefits for KOC. We could do even more in Kuwait as we are currently doing in other countries in the GCC, where Total is among the top leaders in the upstream sector (E&P), the midstream sector (gas and LNG) and the downstream sector (refining, petrochemicals, and marketing). Total is eager to contribute to the achievement of Kuwait's energy objectives by identifying and developing win-win business opportunities with KOC and other K-companies.

How do you ensure environmental sustainability in your operations?

Total's motto is 'Committed to Better Energy.' This means Total considers its mission and added value as bringing reliable, affordable, and clean energy to the planet and its 7 billion inhabitants. Therefore, environmental sustainability is a key component of our strategy, with three main priorities. The first is to produce oil and gas in a safe manner respectful of the environment; hence, our commitment on reducing flaring, decreasing our CO2 emissions, and improving our energy efficiency. We also fight against climate change and embed the 2 degrees Celsius scenario in our strategy, which led us to exit from coal and promote gas and gas usage. Finally, we seek to build solutions for tomorrow by developing renewables, batteries, and energy efficient innovations. These are not just platitudes; there are already investments made. Total is indeed the world's second-largest solar energy company as a result of the 60% share we acquired in 2011 of SunPower, which manufactures photovoltaic panels with the world record highest efficiency. We acquired as well more than 90% of Saft, a world leading designer and manufacturer of advanced technology batteries for the industry.

How do you foresee the global oil market evolving?

Especially during times of uncertainty, our priority in Total is to continue to reduce costs as much as possible in our operations, making our business more resilient to fluctuations of the oil price. By lowering the breakeven point, one can make projects profitable even when the oil price is low. Total has been extremely successful in doing so, cutting OPEX by nearly 40%.

What are your expectations for the year ahead?

We seek to continue to grow in Middle East and if possible in Kuwait.