EOR TECHNIQUES IN QATAR

Qatar 2020 | ENERGY | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Laurent Wolffsheim, Managing Director Total E&P Qatar, and Country Chair – Total, on new technologies, the Al Shaheen field, and the potential of renewables.

How is Qatar benefiting of Total's new recovery techniques and technologies?

Total and Qatar Petroleum are partners in two oil producing assets in Qatar: Al Shaheen field, operated by the North Oil Company (NOC) since July 2017, and Al-Khalij Field, located on Block 6, operated by Total. In 2014, we renewed the contract for operatorship of Al-Khalij field for a further 25 years, and despite being a complex field, it still has potential for production growth. We expect to tap into this potential notably thanks to enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques, while being leaner in our operations. For EOR, we are notably supported by our research team in QSTP - the Total Research Center – Qatar (TRC-Q). Besides, we believe that the industry is changing for the better through digitalization – and this is a strong catalyst for a safer and more efficient operating model. The first step in digitalization is through data analytics, but drones and robotics are potential next steps that promise to be exciting. New technologies will also help to improve safety in the workplace, optimize the maintenance policies, and save costs. Being an operator in Qatar is therefore both a privilege and a responsibility; we must continuously demonstrate our operational excellence, and the added value that we bring to the state of Qatar.

How will Total continue to develop the Al-Shaheen field?

Al-Shaheen field has potential for production growth. As an equity partner, Total is supporting NOC in becoming a world class offshore operator – notably through our specialized teams of geoscientists and development planners. Production at Al-Shaheen field is currently close to 300 kboepd, and we have conducted pilots for EOR techniques. What is key for Al-Shaheen is to keep drilling to increase production potential, which means we need new well head platforms. Last year, we sanctioned the first development project, and by the end of this year we should have made a decision for additional well head platforms. We are also working to optimize the export scheme. Overall, there is quite a significant amount of capital expenditure associated with the development of the field, and we are aligned with Qatar Petroleum on the key targets and development plan.

What is the future of the LNG sector here in Qatar?

Total has integrated its overall strategy with the expected changes in the global energy mix, going in line with the Paris Climate Agreement objectives. Accordingly, we foresee an increase in the demand for gas, as it is a clean and reliable source of energy for power production, which limits greenhouse gas emissions at the same time. To accompany the growth in the gas market, you have to strategically position yourself to where you think LNG will be the most cost effective. Qatar's advantage is that it's geographically well placed, and has reliability and efficiency in operations to scale. Total already has already a strong footprint in the global LNG market, especially since we acquired the LNG business from Engie last year. Today, Total's portfolio is close to 40 million tons of LNG, which is quite significant as it has placed us in the 2nd position in the market. We have been developing strong LNG optimization and trading projects we have around the world, and we hope to be able to add North Field Expansion project in Qatar to our portfolio if we are selected as a partner.

How will Total transition toward renewable energies?

We are one of the bidders for the Kahramaa solar project here in Qatar. Globally, Total already has built a significant footprint in the solar market, and through this project, we could showcase our expertise. It makes perfect sense for Qatar to embark on this project to diversify its energy mix, and prove their commitment to reducing emissions.

What is your plan to help Qatar in the expansion of its downstream operations?

Total and QP have recently made studies to optimize operations in condensate refineries. Generally, in the downstream business, you need to optimize your assets all the time and finding ways to make sure you improve availability and energy efficiency. That is also the case for polymer production, as the idea is to keep improving processes and introduce new sets of polymers. This is well in line with Qatar National Vision 2030, to make sure that Qatar is extracting the best value out of its natural resources.

What other sustainability projects are you involved in the near future?

We are excited about the Tawteen project led by Qatar Petroleum, which started in February 2019. Different investment opportunities are being evaluated now; and this is a game changer and a good opportunity to mutualize operations for all of us in the energy sector.