MANAMA, Bahrain -- Saudi Aramco Sr. Vice President of Exploration & Producing Abd Allah Al-Saif participated in the executive panel discussion at the 15th Middle East Oil & Gas Show and Conference (MEOS 2007), addressing the topic, "Key drivers of delivering energy faster, better and smarter."
Al-Saif focused on three key drivers shaping the petroleum industry: bringing a new generation of talent to the industry, promoting research and development, and executing strategies more efficiently and effectively.
The first driver, Al-Saif noted, is at a critical stage, as the industry faces a skills shortage characterized by an aging workforce with a lack of young engineers to take its place. "Reaching out to top students should therefore be a top priority for our industry so that we engage them as they begin to think about their higher educational and subsequent career choices," Al-Saif said.
One way to reach out, Al-Saif suggested, is to articulate clearly the contributions the industry makes to the well being of the world's people. "We need to make it clear to this generation that pursuing a career in energy means devoting yourself and your talents to solving some of the most difficult and urgent problems facing humanity today, ranging from economic prosperity, poverty-alleviation and social development to environmental protection and preservation."
When it comes to the R&D driver of the industry, Al-Saif pointed out that total oil demand continues to rise, and many of the world's most prolific oil and gas fields have been in production for decades. New technology will be needed to keep them producing. Fields yet to be discovered are expected to be less prolific and to be located in more difficult environments, he added. These twin challenges mean forward-looking R&D is an essential challenge for the industry. "Without those research investments, the technology pipeline will eventually run dry, and our ability to grow supplies will be seriously impacted," he said, noting that R&D spending on petroleum is inadequate to keep pace with future demand.
Technological advances also have a critical role to play in environmental stewardship, Al-Saif said. "We have to do a better job of harmonizing the production of energy with the protection of the environment, since sustainable economic development cannot be achieved if either of those activities is neglected. The brilliant minds within our industry have an important role to play."
When it comes to the industry driver of efficient execution, Al-Saif said a company's ability to deliver comes down to business processes that are lean and agile, with strong built-in oversight that allows people to do their best.