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Erwin Kroell

UAE, UAE, ABU DHABI - Energy & Mining

Big aspirations

Senior Vice-President, OMV Middle East & Africa Hub


Erwin Kroell is a petroleum industry manager with extensive international experience. He started his career as a petroleum engineer with OMV in 1991. From 1997-2003, Kroell worked as a production/pperations manager and asset manager in Libya. In 2003, he joined Wintershall, where he first worked as a technical director for drilling and reservoir development in Siberia and then as general manager role in Qatar. In 2011, he re-joined OMV as senior vice-president for the Middle East and Caspian region. Since January 2016, he is senior vice-president for the Middle East and Africa region. He has a MSc degree in petroleum engineering from the Leoben Mining University.

OMV seeks innovative solutions to optimize its operations, explore business opportunities, develop new business models, and become a digital leader in the oil and gas sector.

What resources and expertise does OMV bring to the table?
Our contribution is all about the kind of technology that we have successfully deployed in other projects in other countries. Our aim is to share knowledge and experience through direct cooperation with ADNOC. The key to success is close cooperation between all partners, in our case ENI, Wintershall-Dea, CEPSA, Lukoil, OMV, and our host ADNOC. Both upstream agreements deal with extremely complex projects that cross the entire technology spectrum, from subsurface geophysics, geology, reservoir engineering, production aspects, drilling to surface facilities and process technologies. In Abu Dhabi, a significant opportunity lies in developing the more complex offshore sour gas in rather tight formations. We have extensive experience in sour gas operations, having worked on it in Austria and Pakistan, and like ADNOC, we have a proven record working with mature and complex reservoirs. While the international average recovery rate for crude oil is about 40%, OMV has succeeded in increasing production rates of wells in the super-mature Matzen field in Austria, pushing ultimate recovery by above 55% by using water injection. In 2012, OMV started a pilot project for viscous saltwater injection in the Matzen field in Austria. In total, 200kboe incremental oil was produced by the end of 2017. OMV is currently pursuing its Smart Oil Recovery 3.0 program by testing a combination of viscous saltwater and alkali to increase ultimate recovery.

What is Abu Dhabi doing to progress toward gas self-sufficiency and become a net exporter?
The UAE now has the sixth largest reserves of oil and gas globally. To achieve gas self-sufficiency and potentially transform the UAE into a net exporter of gas, we are working with our concession partners on the Hail, Ghasha, and Dalma mega-project, which taps into Abu Dhabi’s Arab formation, estimated to hold trillions of cbft of recoverable gas. The project is expected to produce more than 1.5 billion cbft of gas per day by 2025.

How is OMV driving efficiencies, reducing CAPEX, and optimizing assets?
In the past three years, we have managed to reduce our production costs by 50%. In 2018, we managed to reduce our production costs to USD7 per barrel. In terms of acquisitions, we have concentrated on regions with low costs and projects that are already up and running or are about to enter production. As a result, our operating cash flow has increased to over EUR4 billion. Notably, we improved the clean CCS Operating Result to EUR3.6 billion in 2018. Digitalization can only work with transformation, hence, its vital to create a digital mindset, reshape the talent landscape, and integrate technology partners and start-ups into the ecosystem.

What innovative technologies are you currently exploring and deploying across your operations?
Innovation and technology are key enablers of the group’s strategy. OMV is among the best in the world in terms of achieving high recovery rates in mature fields. OMV focuses on various increased oil recovery and enhanced oil recovery methods. In order to develop a competitive and carbon-optimized portfolio, we actively explore new feedstock, technologies, and products. Close cooperation between OMV experts and external research institutes has yielded impressive results in artificial lift methods, including measurable reductions in power consumption and downtime of sucker rod pumps. In 2017, nearly 6,500 wells were equipped with artificial lift systems, leading to considerable savings in operating expenditures. And we are ready to go one-step further. We want to leverage digital technologies to make smarter investment choices with a high impact. We will innovate at speed and scale to adapt our organization, skills, and mindset to the digital world. We are building unified digital platforms to become a truly data driven company. This journey will open up a whole new world of opportunities, which is why OMV is investing more than EUR500 million in dedicated initiatives and projects to become a digital leader in the oil and gas sector.



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