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Salem Bin Ashoor

UAE, ABU DHABI - Energy & Mining

Through Thick and Thin

Chief Representative & General Manager, BP — UAE


Salem Bin Ashoor has been working for BP since 2000 in various roles, covering government relations, communications, and external affairs and commercial activity. He has been heavily involved in negotiations across the Middle East in countries such as Oman and Iraq. Prior to his current role, he was the vice president of government relations for BP Middle East. Before this he also worked for Dubai Aluminum Company (DUBAL).

“We look forward to bringing real value to Abu Dhabi, be it in the upstream, downstream, or mid-stream segments.“

How is the energy sector in Abu Dhabi and what place does BP have within that?

The changes in ADNOC’s administration and the new vision of the Abu Dhabi government have made it clear that the country wants to rise to a different level. They have embarked upon a journey which will become the new benchmark for NOCs, where capability, technology, efficiency, and selectivity will become vital when it comes to building partnerships. The new mindset in ADNOC is to re-energize the entire industry and everyone is enthusiastic about keeping up in this fast-paced environment. For BP, this has made it easier to see how we can support ADNOC with our world-class technology and expertise, as well as contributing to Abu Dhabi’s vision of a sustainable and highly profitable oil industry. We have been in the country from day one and have never wavered in our commitment. We are delighted with the ADCO deal that we recently signed—a 40-year concession with ADNOC that brings our partnership to a whole new level—and through which we are building a new framework for partnerships between IOCs and NOCs that will transform the industry in the region. This is a rather special deal because in the process Abu Dhabi became a ~2% shareholder in BP. It is an example of a strategic, value-added partnership. Broadly speaking, the whole industry is changing from a supply-driven industry to a demand-driven one.

Under which programs is BP establishing knowledge and technology transfers with ADNOC, and how are both companies learning from each other’s expertise?

Our partnership with ADNOC includes elements of knowledge sharing and technology transfer but actually goes well beyond this. The challenges of recent years have enabled us to adapt to a more efficient way of working. We have led the way in restructuring our business, becoming more efficient and more performance-driven, and using the latest in modern technologies to develop our oil and gas assets. We have learned how to make our company resilient and have also been focusing on value over volume and on efficiency and modernization. We have also concentrated on developing new technologies. BP is a global leader in Enhanced Oil Recovery and low salinity water. We have also adopted new ways of leveraging data, IT and the digital world as a whole to create accessible new technologies. It is this collective expertise and capacity that we are bringing to add value to the NOCs, including ADNOC.

BP is a strong performer in the adoption of Enhanced Oil Recovery technologies. How key are these practices in Abu Dhabi?

This technology is all about getting as much oil out of the ground as possible and pushing barrel efficiency to the limit. We do this by utilizing water flooding technology, low salinity, and bright water to ‘flush’ out hard-to-access oil. We have been applying a number of different technologies in Abu Dhabi, and this includes sub-surface modelling to enable detailed analysis of each and every structure within the reservoirs, helping ADMA-OPCO to map some of the potentially highly productive areas. This type of technology enables us to prioritize production locations and the type of technology we should deploy to recover the oil, helping to deliver value from the better reservoirs.

Your recent contract with ADCO has set a new standard for further integration between IOCs and NOCs in the UAE. How will this agreement transform the energy sector in Abu Dhabi?

The highlight of this agreement is the way in which ADCO is being structured and how it is enhancing the company using the experience of international companies based in the Emirate. Through these mechanisms, the agreement is actually helping to build long-term understanding of the subsurface and sustainability of the industry in Abu Dhabi. The new leadership in ADNOC and the revamp of its subsidiaries is designed to make it one of the best NOCs in the world, but also one that is able to leverage IOCs, in terms of their technology and capabilities. This landmark contract also involves other international organizations and we can also learn from them how to prioritize our capital so that we can compare and identify the best value for everybody at the table. In the particular case of BP, this contract brings a larger responsibility, which we proudly embrace. We have made it clear that we are fully committed to ADNOC and, after 75 years of partnership, are willing to go that extra mile to support the partnership.

What do you see for the development of BP for 2017 and what are the main endeavors you would like to embark on in Abu Dhabi?

It is public knowledge that the offshore question is coming up on the agenda, with the ADMA concession due to expire in 2018. The next step now is for this process to be formalized based on the priorities of the Abu Dhabi government, the vision and strategy of the offshore sector, the allocation process that will be adopted by the government. On our end, we look forward to bringing real value to Abu Dhabi, be it in the upstream, downstream, or mid-stream segments, to deliver a holistic and integrated solution for Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi is very selective in choosing its partnerships and this is the right way to do things. Companies are moving towards downstream and selectivity is important if more value is to be added to the industry. However, it is important to identify the niche areas that need further attention and put yourself at the front of an ever-changing industry. The leadership both of the country and of ADNOC understand that very well. We are grateful for the trust they have placed in BP and we look forward to demonstrating our commitment during this long process.



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