Sameh Hussein, country director and general manager, Egypt, Libya and South Sudan Africa GeoMarket at Baker Hughes speaks to Pipeline Magazine’s Nadia Saleem about Egypt’s regulatory changes and the company’s role in developing the country’s oil and gas infrastructure
Where do you see the most opportunity for Baker Hughes to be involved in as Egypt plans to develop its oil and gas sector?
Baker Hughes’ Egypt provides technology and service solutions that help operators build better wells, optimise production and increase their ultimate recovery. Over the last few years, the industry has faced a very low-price environment and our customers have looked to discounts and technology to stay profitable. We’re starting to see the role of technology expanding in this country, which provides a lot of opportunity for the service sector. Our business in Egypt is unique in that we offer a very broad portfolio of products and services, almost all of which we provide at a global scale. This enables us to serve the recent oil and gas discoveries. For example, our drilling and completions solutions, such as Kymera drill bits, AutoTrak rotary steerable systems or our DeepShield safety valve, help improve efficiencies and are all proven in this country. And our reservoir, completions, and artificial lift services help maximise production in oil developments. As development plans continue, we are well positioned to support the growth by providing integrated solutions, and we are committed to developing new technology to meet the challenges of today and into the future.
What is the importance of Egypt business for Baker Hughes?
Egypt has been and will continue to be an important market for Baker Hughes. We have a rich history in this country. We’ve been here since 1910 and our drill bits were used to drill the first oil well in Egypt. Since then we’ve grown our footprint by tapping into the local talent base to enhance our expertise and grow our product and service portfolio. We believe technology innovation and adoption is key for future development and success of this industry. We see our role as a strategic partner to our customers and other stakeholders to help develop the massive amounts of reserves in this country in the most efficient and economic manner possible.
What are your views on Egypt’s changing regulatory environment?
We believe that the regulatory environment is heading in a healthy direction for the Egypt oil and gas industry. Many of the changes are expected to make a positive economic impact on the E&P and service sector. Programs such as the modernisation initiative will help attract more external investors, increase oil and gas development and open up opportunities for local talent. At Baker Hughes, we are committed to helping increase the value this industry provides. In fact, we’ve already started discussions with the government about how we can support the key pillars of the program. We’ll support the “upstream and midstream” strategy through technology development and transfer and we will support the “people” aspect through training programs and partnerships. We believe this is positive and are looking forward to seeing this program’s impact.
How are Egypt’s changes impacting Baker Hughes’ business?
These changes are opening up new opportunities for partnerships with our customers, government and local talent. We are also identifying new investment opportunities. The more we understand the industry’s needs, the more we’ll be able to accelerate innovation for the benefit of our customers and other stakeholders.
How is Baker Hughes involved in the upcoming upstream projects in Egypt?
We are working closely with the key stakeholders I mentioned above to understand their challenges and objectives, so we can tailor our efforts to help meet them.
Baker Hughes is focused on improving well construction and ensuring costs are minimised by reducing non-productive time (NPT). For example, we drilled six wells for a customer using our AutoTrak drilling system, leading formation evaluation services, logging while drilling and seismic while drilling services, as well as the Kymera hybrid drilling bit. We drilled all sections to total depth with zero NPT in record time, and our FE services were able to pinpoint the amount of recoverable reserves to help increase ultimate recovery.
We’ve also achieved recent success with our liner hanger systems, saving our customer US$1 million through the use of this technology. Because of this success, we were recently awarded a 100 percent share of an offshore project to provide lower completions, including liner hangers and isolation valves.
Further, we are applying artificial lift and chemical technologies in oilfields to ensure new wells are reaching initial production as well as getting more oil from existing fields.
How would you define the mind-set in Egypt for adopting new technology?
Historically it has been challenging since many view the unknown as risky, however operators are starting to look more towards technology to reach their objectives. At Baker Hughes we have a stringent technology development and testing process. Most of the time, new technology has been proven in the field in another part of the world before we would provide it here in Egypt. Thorough testing and results ease the adoption process.
Further, it is our responsibility as a service company to collaborate with our customers, anticipate their needs and provide the solutions to meet those needs as quickly as possible. It is also important for them to understand the value technology can bring to their operations, and that is where we come in. As the market outlook improves and the business landscape in Egypt evolves, it is more important than ever to build partnerships between all members of the oil and gas value chain.
We are in the initial phase of discussions with customers and we are applying similar models and approaches we have in other countries. The EGYPS 2017 event has built a lot of momentum and we’re hopeful we will start seeing actions and implementation.
What is your outlook for Egypt’s oil and gas market and potential challenges?
Though there are challenges to doing business in Egypt, there are fewer obstacles than other places throughout North Africa. We believe that Egypt has the potential to become the oil and gas hub for the entire Mediterranean. The recent discoveries, wealth of human capital, technology and infrastructure, coupled with clear strategic initiatives set forth by the government will help the industry transform.