Cautious Optimism Sets Tone for IPTC

The International Petroleum Technology Conference (IPTC) is one of AAPG’s premier events in the eastern hemisphere.

Emulating the integrated multidisciplinary nature of today’s E&P workflows, IPTC is a partnership of four geoscience and engineering societies: AAPG, the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers, the Society of Exploration Geophysicists and the Society of Petroleum Engineers. The event alternates each year between various cities in Asia and Qatar and is a prime example of the increased intersociety cooperation we are pursuing to better serve our profession and industry.

Last month, 3,800 attendees participated in the 9th edition of IPTC in Doha, the capital of Qatar, a vibrant, bustling city on the Arabian Gulf.

“Technology and Partnerships for a Sustainable Energy Future” was the theme of the conference, and attendees gathered for three days of panels and technical sessions, covering a wide variety of geoscience and engineering topics.

The conference was hosted by Qatar Petroleum and co-hosted by Shell.

One hallmark of IPTC is that it also provides the opportunity to hear from high-level government and industry officials – and to gain their perspectives on the state of the industry. Given the current state of the industry and commodity markets, this was particularly valuable.

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The International Petroleum Technology Conference (IPTC) is one of AAPG’s premier events in the eastern hemisphere.

Emulating the integrated multidisciplinary nature of today’s E&P workflows, IPTC is a partnership of four geoscience and engineering societies: AAPG, the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers, the Society of Exploration Geophysicists and the Society of Petroleum Engineers. The event alternates each year between various cities in Asia and Qatar and is a prime example of the increased intersociety cooperation we are pursuing to better serve our profession and industry.

Last month, 3,800 attendees participated in the 9th edition of IPTC in Doha, the capital of Qatar, a vibrant, bustling city on the Arabian Gulf.

“Technology and Partnerships for a Sustainable Energy Future” was the theme of the conference, and attendees gathered for three days of panels and technical sessions, covering a wide variety of geoscience and engineering topics.

The conference was hosted by Qatar Petroleum and co-hosted by Shell.

One hallmark of IPTC is that it also provides the opportunity to hear from high-level government and industry officials – and to gain their perspectives on the state of the industry. Given the current state of the industry and commodity markets, this was particularly valuable.

The opening session featured H.E. Sheikh Abdulla bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, prime minister and interior minister of the State of Qatar. He was joined by H.E. Dr. Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Sada, minister of energy and industry of Qatar, Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, president and CEO of Qatar Petroleum (QP), and Andy Brown, upstream international director of Shell.

A topic foremost on their minds was the COP21 United Nations climate change conference that was under way in Paris at the time. Qatar, ranked third in the world in proved natural gas reserves by the U.S. Energy Information Administration with 885 TCF (2014 numbers), sees its resource base as essential to helping the globe meet its carbon dioxide emissions targets resulting from the talks.

This session was immediately followed by the first CEO Plenary Session. Hosted by Al Jazeera’s news anchor and reporter Darren Jordon, the participants included: QP’s Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi; Ben Van Beurden, CEO of Shell; Amin Nasser, president and CEO of Saudi Aramco; Ryan Lance, chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips; and Patrick Pouyanné, CEO of Total.

Emphasizing the importance of technology to drive economic efficiencies in a low-price environment, the panelists shared examples of how their companies were responding to low commodity prices. They also discussed the importance of cooperation and partnership, particularly with the service industry, to develop new approaches and improved technology.

The following day the second CEO Plenary Session, again moderated by Jordon, picked up where the first left off. The participants were: Ali Al-Jarwan, CEO of ADMA-OPCO; Adel Ahmed Albuainain, CEO of Dolphin Energy Limited; Lorenzo Simonelli, president and CEO of GE Oil & Gas; and Lukman Mahfoedz, CEO of Medco Energi International.

Technology and innovation were again the themes of the day, with Mr. Al-Jarwan observing that technology is essential to the future of our industry, but we have to be cost-effective and smart in R&D. He also stated that there were two elements to innovation: freedom and risk-taking. Not everything will work, but you must have the freedom to try.

Simonelli told the audience that cooperation was the way forward for the energy industry, and that every industrial company needed to be a digital company in today’s world. And, while we’re navigating this downturn, he still sees opportunities for the next-generation energy workforce.

Overall, the atmosphere of the conference was one of cautious optimism. Clearly the E&P industry faces big challenges, but this isn’t the first time we’ve been in a downturn and it won’t be the last. Each time, the industry adjusts, changes and continues to deliver the energy to fuel the world.

A second hallmark of IPTC is that it is the one event each year where the presidents of the partnering societies get together. John Hogg joined EAGE President Mohammed Al-Faraj of Saudi Aramco, SEG President John Bradford of Boise State University, and SPE President Nathan Meehan of Baker Hughes.

Not only did the presidents use this opportunity to get to know each other better and to discuss current activities and opportunities for cooperation, they also participated in several formal events, including a Society Presidents Session and the IPTC student program.

John spoke to the students about the importance of professionalism, ethics and volunteerism to their careers, particularly important to these students entering the workforce in the midst of this downturn.

They left the session to network with each other and the industry professionals attending IPTC.

Getting out there and meeting people is essential to a successful career. And on that note, I’d like to invite you to join us for the 10th edition of IPTC in Bangkok, Thailand on Nov. 14-16, 2016. You even have until Jan. 15 to submit an abstract to present in Bangkok. I’d urge you to do so.

IPTC is an AAPG event and a great opportunity for AAPG members in Asia and the Middle East to get involved and share great geoscience. IPTC is led by a board of directors with each partner society appointing two.

I’d like to thank our representatives, David Blanchard, chair of the IPTC Board, and Peter Baillie for their commitment to IPTC, and for their service to AAPG and the profession by developing and nurturing this conference since its inception. Their leadership has been instrumental to its past and future success.

Plan to join them in November for the 10th IPTC in Thailand, the land of smiles.

Best wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2016.

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