Thursday, November 14, 2019

ADIPEC Day IV: Final notes from Abu Dhabi

The Oilholic has just rounded off day four, or the final day of ADIPEC 2019, here in Abu Dhabi concluding nearly a week of engaging industry dialogues.

Under the 'Oil and Gas 4.0' discussion umbrella, talking points ranged from upstream challenges to downstream efficiencies, digitisation to robotics, natural gas to hydrogen-powered mobility, oil demand [or perhaps lack of] to the changing nature of demand itself, and well pretty much all else in between. 

Summing up the last four days, Omar Suwaina Al Suwaidi, ADIPEC Conference Chairman, and Director, Executive Office Directorate at ADNOC, opined: "Through Oil and Gas 4.0, ADIPEC is unlocking the opportunities created by the Fourth Industrial Era. 

"To continue to thrive, it is critical that we better harness our data, utilise big data value-adding technology and innovation, capture digital insights to our business, and understand how all aspects of our operations and activities are interconnected to unlock greater value in the evolving energy landscape."

Amen to that sentiment, and the human resource and ingenuity at the heart of that progressive drive! Speaking of which, the crucial subject of gender diversity was under the microscope today. ADIPEC also received a presidential visit when Egypt's Abdel Fattah El Sisi, who is on an official visit to the UAE, came calling. 

This blogger also took some time out to leave the conference venue and pay a visit to the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company's (ADNOC) Panorama Command Centre at its headquarters (pictured above left) and meet the company's digital team that handles its operation. 


During the site visit, the Oilholic got a glimpse of how ADNOC is deploying advanced analytics and digital solutions to monitor throughput in real-time and learn lessons in order to improve efficiencies across its value chain. 

When we are talking of a company producing 3 million barrels per day of crude oil and 9.8 billion cubic feet of gas per day; that's quite a sizeable operation as the readers would acknowledge. A special thanks to Abdul Nasser Al Mughairbi, SVP of Digital at ADNOC, who spared his time to take The Oilholic around, answer questions and host yours truly to spectacular views from an office floor home to equally spectacular technological solutions. 

Away from the ADNOC HQ, one also got a first-hand feel of a 'drive thru fuel station' launched in UAE by ADNOC Distribution. The fuel service is called 'On The Go', which will allow motorists to purchase fuel products from the comfort of their car.

The service will be "complementary, and at no additional fees" motorists can shop at an ADNOC convenience store while their vehicle is getting filled, receive their shopping items in the vehicle and pay for it using a new Wi-Fi payment method! Now that's convenient. 

And concluding a hectic afternoon of walkabouts, before bidding goodbye to ADIPEC, the Oilholic also visited offshore support vessel QMS Bani Yas, a new jack up barge docked close to the event venue, right in time for sunset. Among other things, it was great to get to the vessel's helipad as well as understand operating procedures of a support ship of its size. 

Alas, that's all from ADIPEC 2019 folks. Its time to say goodbye and head for the flight home. Keep reading, keep it ‘crude’!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2019. Photo I: ADNOC Panorama Command Centre, Abu Dhabi, UAE. Photo II: View of Abu Dhabi, UAE from ADNOC Panorama Command Centre. Photo III: Concept mock-up of ADNOC Distribution's drive thru fuel station 'On The Go' at ADIPEC 2019. Photos III, IV and V: Offshore support vessel QMS Bani Yas docked off ADIPEC 2019 venue, Abu Dhabi, UAE © Gaurav Sharma, November 2019. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

ADIPEC Day III: Oil demand, AI and robots

Day three of ADIPEC 2019 has just concluded here in Abu Dhabi, UAE and much was said about oil demand concerns. Morning discourse was coloured by the International Energy Agency's take that demand is set to plateau by 2030 due to a pick up in the use of electric vehicles around the world.

In its latest market projections, the IEA said overall demand for energy is set to increase by 1% every year until 2040, however headline demand will plateau ten years earlier than it had previously forecast.

Elsewhere in its World Energy Outlook report, the IEA said US shale output, which has made the country the world's biggest oil producer, is likely to stay higher for longer than previously projected, with the country accounting for 85% of the increase in global oil production by 2030, and for 30% of the increase in natural gas.

Meanwhile, switching tack to the coming 12 months, OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo said an uptick in demand for 2020 may be on the cards should the US-China trade stand-off end.

"We are confident that there will be a deal and the deal will be positive for the world economy and will remove the dark cloud that has engulfed the global economy because of the size of the countries," Barkindo said on the sidelines of ADIPEC.

Among the VIPs in town today was Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Ruler of neighboring Dubai. Alongside his visit, came that of nearly 900 local school kids to learn more about the industry, its processes, careers and well to marvel – perhaps like the rest of us – at some of the innovative robots and kits on display here.
And then there's the launch of a new branch of local government focused on research and development as well as an artificial intelligence (AI) joint venture inked by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) to take in.

The new Abu Dhabi Research and Development Authority will be tasked with inventions that tackle Earth's most pressing challenges. Under auspices of the emirate's Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK), five virtual research institutes will focus on biotechnology, food security, sustainability, artificial intelligence and high-performance computing, and advanced materials. The announcement came in step with ADNOC's agreement at ADIPEC with UAE-based AI company, Group 42, on a joint venture to develop AI products for the energy sector.

In sync with this hot topic, the Oilholic also participated in ADIPEC Middle East Petroleum Club's Leadership dialogue on Human and machine collaboration and the impact this has on current business transformation.

IIoT, big data, augmented reality and virtual reality premised solutions, and the changing nature of the workforce were all under a lively 90-minute discussion with Greg Cross, Co-founder of Soul Machines and AI pioneer (third from left) leading the talk. 

Finally, here is one's analysis for Rigzone on why BP and Shell's low carbon overtures and portfolio tweaking hold both oil majors in good stead despite a dire set of numbers. That's all for the moment folks, more from here on the final day at ADIPEC tomorrow. Keep reading, keep it ‘crude’!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2019. Photo I: Day three of exhibition at ADIPEC 2019. Photo II: Industry robot at Total's stand. Photo III: AI pioneer Greg Cross speaks at ADIPEC Middle East Petroleum Club, Abu Dhabi, November 2019 © Gaurav Sharma 2019. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

ADIPEC Day II: Oil & Gas 4.0 sessions & more

Day two of ADIPEC 2019 has just concluded in Abu Dhabi, UAE and as expected it was another action packed one with half a dozen CEOs, dignitaries and ministers in town. As part of the proceedings, the Oilholic moderated a downstream panel under the event's Oil and Gas 4.0 strategic dialogues programme.

The subject under discussion - Sustaining industry momentum in downstream: how will companies build an agile and resilient business model capable of withstanding the inevitable cyclical highs and lows in the years ahead? 

The panel included Abdulaziz Alhajri, Executive Director Downstream Directorate at ADNOC, Thomas Gangl, Chief Downstream Operations Officer at OMV, Philippe Boisseau, CEO of CEPSA, François Good, Senior Vice President Refining & Petrochemicals Orient at Total and Catherine MacGregor, CEO-elect at TechnipFMC. 

The panelists touched on a host of slants under the topic including the crucial issue of long-term objectives underpinned by technology, corporate patience on the return on investment front, tech-enabled throughput improvements and the need to invest in talent, not just hardware and software. 

Of course, lurking around ADIPEC corridors is the subject of the oil price direction and what OPEC will or won't do when it meets in Vienna, Austria on December 5-6, 2019. Here is one's take via Forbes, with soundbites and analysis aplenty, and the central conclusion that OPEC is damned if it cuts production or rolls existing cuts over further, and damned if it opens the taps

Away from the oil price and to the exhibition floor where industry vendors made deal announcements with customary aplomb. ABB announced it had won a project to install its extended automation system at a greenfield pilot plant for SABIC in Jubail, Saudi Arabia, supporting the Saudi company's broader vision to digitalise its operations. 

Under the contract, ABB's Ability System will apply integrated automation, control and safety solutions to the company's Utilities Park and Pilot project. The park is part of the SABIC Technology Centre (STC), which marks the company’s biggest global investment in innovation, and the largest of its 21 technology centers worldwide.

Not to be outdone, Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS), the global software industrials' automation unit, announced that Kuwait Integrated Petroleum Industries Company (KIPIC) has selected it as the main automation contractor for its new Petrochemicals and Refinery Integration Al Zour Project (PRIZe). 

Under the agreement, HPS will provide KIPIC with front-end engineering design and advanced process control technology for the complex, which will help KIPIC expedite production start-up and assist with reaching production targets faster and more efficiently. 

The PRIZe project will become the first integrated refining and petrochemicals complex in Kuwait.

The new facility – developed as part of the Al-Zour Complex – will significantly enhance Kuwait’s domestic petrochemicals, aromatics and gasoline manufacturing capabilities.

Customarily, neither ABB nor Honeywell provided any details on financials of the contract in a fiercely competitive industry in which demand for Industry 4.0 solutions is growing by the minute. Finally, out on the exhibition floor, this blogger spotted another hydrogen powered
Toyota Mirai, this time at Saudi Aramco's stand, following one yesterday at Shell's stand.

What do you know - an IOC and a NOC flagging an alternative fuel - now the Oilholic has really seen it all. 

That's all for the moment folks, more from here over the coming days  as the event gathers further momentum. Keep reading, keep it ‘crude’!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2019. Photo I: Gaurav Sharma (left) at ADIPEC 2019 Oil and Gas 4.0 strategic dialogue in Abu Dhabi, UAE © DMG Events. Photo II &III: Toyota Mirai cars at ADIPEC 2019 exhibition © Gaurav Sharma 2019. 

ADIPEC panel session on dowstream innovation

The Oilholic will be moderating a downstream panel session later today at ADIPEC 2019 and looking forward to a fantastic industry dialogue. 


The subject under discussion - Sustaining industry momentum in downstream: how will companies build an agile and resilient business model capable of withstanding the inevitable cyclical highs and lows in the years ahead? (Click image to enlarge banner)

And the panel includes: 
  • Abdulaziz Alhajri, Executive Director Downstream Directorate, ADNOC
  • Thomas Gangl, Chief Downstream, Operations Officer, OMV
  • Philippe Boisseau, CEO, CEPSA
  • François Good, Senior Vice President Refining & Petrochemicals Orient, Total
  • Catherine MacGregor, President, New Ventures, TechnipFMC
Here's to day II to in Abu Dhabi.

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© Gaurav Sharma 2019. Photo © ADIPEC 2019 / DMG Events

Monday, November 11, 2019

ADIPEC Day I: Oil & Gas 4.0, efficiencies & VIPs

The Oilholic finds himself in the UAE for the 2019 Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference (ADIPEC), rounding up day one of the global event with more than a packed agenda to report back.

Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ANDOC) got things going on Monday noting how Industry 4.0 is creating a "paradigm shift in global growth and energy demand."

"Oil and gas will play, as an essential part of the broader energy mix, in enabling tomorrow’s global economy. We have to admit some realities - our industry is being disrupted by new technologies, new forms of energy, a new geopolitical order. This disruption is only beginning and will gather pace," he added. 

Rubbing shoulders with attendees, expected to number 150,000 over the next few days, were several VIPs both foreign and domestic, and day one included sessions with the OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo, Indian oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan, BP Boss Bob Dudley, Eni’s Claudio Descalzi, and Total’s Patrick Pouyanné to name a few.

And former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told ADIPEC attendees the post World War II "established" economic model "is under strain [and] threat" from terrorism, cyber threats & global power rivalries. 

Away from the VIPs, quite a bit of "Oil and Gas 4.0" kit was on display alongside hydrogen cars, automation equipment and analytics platforms for integrated asset management, interspersed with nuts, bolts and pipeline joints.

Finally, day one was also timed to coincide with the official launch of the Abu Dhabi oil futures, that sees ADNOC partner with exchange group ICE, major oil companies, refiners and trading house Vitol.

The idea is an ambitious one of establishing Murban – Abu Dhabi's signature crude – as a potential oil benchmark. Here is some background to the development from the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. (MS Word Download here)

Elsewhere, at the ADIPEC Awards, BP's Dudley, who is due to retire as the oil and gas major's CEO next year, was awarded a lifetime achievement award for his commitment to the energy industry.

That's all for the moment folks, more from here over the coming days. The Oilholic will be moderating and speaking on days two and three as the event gathers further momentum. Keep reading, keep it ‘crude’!

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To email: gaurav.sharma@oilholicssynonymous.com

© Gaurav Sharma 2019. Photo I: Exhibition Hall at ADIPEC 2019. Photo II: Drone on display at ADIPEC exhibition © Gaurav Sharma 2019. 

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For comments or for professional queries, please email: gaurav.sharma@oilholicssynonymous.com

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