Meeting Industry Challenges

Date: 03/19/2019

Achieving resilience through investment, collaboration and nurturing the next generation

At the biennial Middle East Oil and Gas (MEOS) conference in Bahrain, now in its 21st year, over 8,000 industry representatives from around the world gathered to discuss what’s needed to meet future industry challenges and reflect on this year’s conference theme “Resilience through Talent and Technology Transformation.”

During the conference’s executive plenary session, Schlumberger Chairman and CEO Paal Kibsgaard shared his perspective on how the industry can further achieve resilience by focusing on three key areas: investment into new capacity and technology, collaboration, and nurturing the next generation.

Investment into new capacity and technology

To achieve resilience as an industry “we need to facilitate the required investments in new capacity, innovation and technology, as we look to develop increasingly complex hydrocarbon resources,” Kibsgaard said. “A large part of the oilfield services innovation in the E&P space is today taking place in the supplier industry. And here, most companies are focused on addressing only parts of a workflow, rather than aiming to improve performance of the overall system. We see a major performance upside for our industry by shifting the development and innovation focus away from individual technologies, towards complete technology systems. The full value of operational integration will only be realized when a new generation of technology systems are developed, that leverages the latest advances in system design, hardware, software and digital technologies. To encourage the supplier industry to make the necessary investments into products and service capacity and technology innovation, effective pricing needs to come up, to restore a more balanced distribution of cashflow and profits throughout the E&P value chain.”

Collaboration and teamwork

To further ensure resilience, he said that the industry should step up its “willingness to openly collaborate beyond company boundaries, to solve problems and to drive continuous improvement in all our activities. In between the operators and all parts of the supplier industry, we sit on an enormous amount of complementary expertise and experience, that if brought together can make amazing things happen in terms of value creation. A more team-based approach between operators and the supplier industry, where all parties are encouraged to contribute, where commercial interests are aligned and where the focus is entirely on maximizing project performance, is again critical, to drive industry resilience.”

Nurturing the next generation

Kibsgaard highlighted that the starting point for any discussion around resilience is to ensure that the industry works together to nurture the next generation of top talent. “As an industry, we have a responsibility of ensuring sufficient supply to meet the growing hydrocarbon demand,” he said. “At the same time, we are also acting responsibly, by having a constant focus on minimizing the environmental impact of our activities, through developing technologies that minimize our carbon footprint. As an industry, we do a lot of amazing things from a technology and innovation standpoint.” He summarized that the industry needs to continue to collectively showcase its technological innovations to students and get them excited to become the next generation of industry innovators.