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Qatar 2020 | ENERGY | INTERVIEW

Total is not merely driving the national industry forward in terms of natural gas, but also making a bold bid to develop a budding solar sector.

Laurent Wolffsheim
BIOGRAPHY

Laurent Wolffsheim has served as Managing Director of Total E&P Qatar and Country Chair since September 2017. Before that, he served as vice president, budget & financial control for the Total group, strategic planning manager within the refining & chemicals division of Total S.A., and managing director of Total Polska. Prior to these positions, he held various other positions within the Total group, where he has been employed since 1995. He holds a degree in engineering from the Ecole Centrale de Lyon and a degree in business administration from ESSEC-Paris.

How is Qatar benefiting from Total's new recovery techniques and technologies?
Total and Qatar Petroleum (QP) 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 and being leaner in our operations. For EOR, we are notably supported by our research team in QSTP-the Total Research Center-Qatar (TRC-Q). The industry is changing for the better through digitalization, which 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 other 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 300,000bpd, 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 2019 we should have made a decision for additional ones. 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 in Qatar?
Total has integrated its overall strategy with the expected changes in the global energy mix in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. Accordingly, we foresee an increase in the demand for gas, as it is a clean and reliable source of energy for power production and limits greenhouse gas emissions. To accompany the growth in the gas market, you have to strategically position yourself to where LNG will be the most cost effective. Qatar's advantage is that it is geographically well placed and has reliability and efficiency in operations to scale. Total already has a strong footprint in the global LNG market, especially since we acquired the LNG business from Engie in 2018. Today, Total's portfolio is close to 40 million tons of LNG, which is quite significant, as it has placed it in the second position in the market. We have been developing strong LNG optimization and trading projects around the world and 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 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 to diversify its energy mix and prove its commitment to reducing emissions.