Hashem Sayed Hashem, CEO, Kuwait Oil Company: Interview

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Hashem Sayed Hashem, CEO, Kuwait Oil Company (KOC)

Interview: Hashem Sayed Hashem

What impact is the lower price of oil having on major project planning and roll out?

HASHEM SAYED HASHEM: In the current environment of lower oil prices, lower-cost producers like Kuwait will have the opportunity and responsibility to increase their oil production capacity in order to ensure that increasing global oil demand is fulfilled. Current estimations indicate that global oil demand will grow at an average of 0.7% per year from 2015 to 2040, bringing demand from the current 90m barrels per day (bpd) to over 102m bpd by 2040. As a national oil company, we have the responsibility to develop a strategy aimed at sustaining and increasing oil revenues for the country in the short, medium and long term. Such a strategy is in place and is being implemented through concrete projects which are in different phases of implementation.

What more can be done to ensure renewable and alternative energy are viable generation sources?

HASHEM: Recent technological developments have led to considerable reductions in the cost of solar power generation, increasing the attractiveness of solar power generation as an option in Kuwait. KOC has already started implementing a 10-MW solar photovoltaic plant in its oil and gas fields. We are also very actively studying the implementation of a concentrated solar thermal plant to produce steam and power for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in the Ratqa heavy oil field. Meanwhile, we may need to take many more steps in order to make renewable and alternative energy generation viable and increase its share in the national energy mix.

These may include: developing technology standards; establishing regulatory bodies and processes to encourage and enforce more renewable energy generation by both industrial and individual consumers to meet a greater percentage of their total energy usage; conducting information and training programmes on renewable energy technology implementation and its benefits; and providing incentives and subsidies for implementation of renewable energy technologies.

How are enhanced technologies being used to increase efficiency in extracting Kuwait’s complex reserves and more mature fields?

HASHEM: Enhanced technologies also play a key role in helping to further increase reserves, improve recovery and minimise cost. In fact, a significant volume of the production capacity target set for 2030 is expected to be delivered through new technologies. There are several examples of successful implementation of enhanced technologies in our operations, including: Kuwait Digital Fields, an initiative that promotes integration of people, processes, technology and space for collaborative decision-making that will save costs and increase stability of operations; minimisation of water production via relevant down-hole technologies, such as smart wells completion – inflow control devices and inflow control valves – and water shut-off advanced technologies, including sophisticated reservoir monitoring; development of comprehensive, high resolution and integrated reservoir models; and EOR technologies, including steam and chemical injection. These new adopted enhanced technologies are planned and designed to add value – both tangible and know-how – in the short, medium and long term.

What role do you envisage international oil companies (IOCs) playing in the government’s $7bn worth of heavy oil projects?

HASHEM: IOCs and service companies are to play a major role in supporting the implementation of our 2030 Strategy. We already have world-class contractors that have been providing services to KOC for many years, and we expect such contractors will continue to play an important role in our projects. We also have IOCs already working with us in the development of the complex non-associated gas reservoirs, and we expect to have others help in the development of extensive heavy oil reservoirs in north Kuwait. We envisage the participation of IOCs to support the heavy oil development under an Enhanced Technical Service Agreement.


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