Leadership Perspectives from CERAWeek 2021 | SLB Insights

Leadership Perspectives from CERAWeek 2021

Published: 03/12/2021

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At CERAWeek 2021, an annual energy conference that brings together industry leaders from across the globe, many of the sessions were either dedicated to or included conversations about the energy transition and environment, sustainability, and governance (ESG).

Related: Schlumberger’s Energy Transition Insights from CERAWeek 2021

Representing Schlumberger during conference discussions were CEO Olivier Le Peuch, Reservoir Performance President Aparna Raman, CTO Demos Pafitis, and VP of Human Resources Gavin Rennick. You can watch the full videos from each of their sessions below.

New Strategies for a Changing World

Schlumberger CEO Olivier Le Peuch was joined by Petronas President and CEO Tengku Muhammad Taufik for a plenary session hosted by IHS Markit Vice Chairman Daniel Yergin. The session covered various topics, including energy industry outlooks, the impact of digital transformation, and the importance of sustainability and new energy avenues.

Speaking on the industry outlook, Le Peuch noted that COVID-19 vaccine rollouts and the easing of lockdown restrictions are having a positive impact on demand, and that 2019 levels of demand could be seen again by 2022. He also shared his insights on the rebound of the North America Land market, prospects for offshore activity, and signs of growth in international markets.

On the topic of digital transformation, Le Peuch highlighted its impact on Schlumberger and the entire energy industry. Reflecting on 2020 and lessons learned, Le Peuch noted, ”Digital transformation had to be leveraged and accelerated across the industry to unlock performance efficiency.“

The session concluded with the panelists discussing the increased focus on sustainability and new energy in recent years.

”I believe that the opportunity we have as an industry is to participate actively and demonstrate that not only can we produce low-cost energy, but we can also produce low-carbon energy,“ stated Le Peuch.

Discussing Schlumberger’s approach to sustainability, Le Peuch noted two key focus areas: addressing the carbon footprint associated with the organization’s operations, and working closely with energy operators to address their sustainability objectives. Speaking on new energy avenues, Le Peuch highlighted examples in which Schlumberger is leveraging its domain expertise and global footprint to venture into new forms of energy production, such as hydrogen, carbon capture and sequestration, geoenergy, and geothermal.

New Strategies for a Changing World
CERAWeek 2021 discussion with Schlumberger CEO Olivier Le Peuch

The Upstream Remaining Competitive

Schlumberger Reservoir Performance President Aparna Raman shared her insights on the upstream remaining competitive in a session moderated by IHS Markit Executive Director Pritesh Patel.

The discussion focused on how the industry can leverage technology and innovation to adapt to today’s dynamic upstream environment. Raman’s fellow panelists were Chevron North America President of Exploration & Production Steven Green and BHP Vice President of Exploration and Appraisal Sonia Scarselli.

During the discussion, Raman talked about how the upstream industry can leverage production enhancement recovery opportunities and harness digital technologies to remain competitive.

Reflecting on the current market, she explained how production decline from underinvestment has put a greater emphasis on maximizing production from OPEX. This shift in operator spending, Raman said, creates a strong value proposition for production enhancement recovery through well intervention.

”Increasing production and recovery from existing wells is often overlooked, and it’s a bit of an untapped opportunity,“ said Raman. She further explained how a more proactive vs. reactive intervention approach, enabled by digital technologies and increased collaboration with customers, can help increase the chances of success for intervention objectives. Raman continued, saying, ”our focus is to improve two things: well candidate selection and intervention method selection, and to deploy both at scale.“

The session concluded with a discussion on the energy transition and its impact on traditional wildcat exploration, and what the industry can do to adopt more efficient exploration and discovery approaches.

Raman talked about the vital importance of data and digital enablement in derisking the discovery process. She explained how digital plays a key role in upstream to derisk and accelerate decisions at scale, citing two examples of enabling technologies: digitally connected hardware and artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities enabled by open cloud-based environments.

The Upstream Remaining Competitive
CERAWeek 2021 discussion with Schlumberger Reservoir Performance President Aparna Raman

How Is the Acceleration of Digital Technology Transforming Energy?

In an Agora X session, Schlumberger Chief Technology Officer Demos Pafitis joined fellow panelists Craig Hayman, CEO, AVEVA and Karl Johnny Hersvik, CEO, Aker BP. IHS Markit Vice President Michael Wynne moderated the discussion, which focused on how digital technology adoption has accelerated since the beginning of the global pandemic and begun to alter the culture in upstream.

Pafitis contended that, while customers had shifted focus towards production during 2020, the rest of the industry wasn’t left behind.

“There are major steps forward, driven by what happened through the pandemic, and those will stay with us. Customers now see that there are big opportunities on the capital side of their business as well.”

Discussing whether innovation at scale is being prevented, Pafitis indicated that, while only two years ago companies were focusing on ‘technical’ problems, today they are “looking at important partnerships with all of the providers that are born digital cloud providers, deciding what their data architecture looks like so that they don’t have to go through the pain of wrangling the information that they had in the past.”

He highlighted the OSDUTM as a successful effort to harmonize information exchange in oil and gas and create some sort of plug-and-play environment to drive innovation. “The future has to be about much closer collaboration around the whole digital solutions story,” he concluded.

How the Acceleration of Digital Technology is Transforming Energy
CERAWeek 2021 panel discussion with Schlumberger CTO Demos Pafitis

Diversity and Inclusion in the Energy Industry

Schlumberger VP Human Resources Gavin Rennick joined Chevron Corp VP & Chief Human Resources Officer Rhonda Morris for a strategic dialogue hosted by IHS Markit APAC General Counsel and Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer Dessi Berhane-Silassie. The conversation explored how companies have been addressing diversity and inclusion issues over the last few years, and the ongoing efforts to drive cultures of diversity and inclusion (D&I).

Addressing top D&I priorities for 2021, Rennick emphasized the need to “continue to educate our organization on inclusion, and the first step here is to target the removal of bias.”

He also stressed the need for greater collaboration at an industry level, quoting some surprising statistics from a recent survey of Schlumberger’s female engineers.

“51% of our female engineers have been denied access to the field due to lack of female facilities; and 47% do not have access to adequate restrooms in the field. To make the industry more inclusive, we must work together as an industry to ensure these basic issues are addressed.”

Concluding his comments, Rennick noted three key steps in ensuring a sustained D&I focus: “First, it’s about leadership and commitment and consistency. It must be visibly led from the top. Second, it must be part of the company’s core strategy—in Schlumberger, it’s embedded in our objectives and shared across the senior management team. Third, it needs to be industrialized and consistent. High impact initiatives need to be embedded in your systems and processes.”

“If you can achieve these three, over time it becomes core to your culture—and that is when we will make real progress.”

Diversity and Inclusion in the Energy Industry
CERAWeek 2021 strategic dialogue with Gavin Rennick, VP HR Schlumberger, and Rhonda Morris, VP & Chief HR Officer, Chevron Corporation.