The Business Year

Salem bin Ashoor

UAE, ABU DHABI - Energy & Mining

ADNOC Onshore: 180,000 bbl/d

Chief Representative & GM, 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 hope to show how private sector partnerships with the government can add a positive angle.“

What are the benefits of BP’s partnership with the Abu Dhabi government?

Typical oil and gas deals are either production sharing agreements (PSA), concessions, or royalty and tax type deals. Our present agreement, however, goes beyond a normal contract: it is more integrated into the organization of a sovereign fund, allowing it to have a real stake in the future of our organization. This is all built on the relationship and trust BP has earned with Abu Dhabi as a result of a common history and of having worked together for a long time. The success of Abu Dhabi, represented by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, has been and is an important and attractive factor for BP, and now that Abu Dhabi is our shareholder, the relationship is even more special, it has a different reach: now Abu Dhabi wants us to succeed in all of our ventures, not only in Abu Dhabi.

What cutting-edge technology are you able to implement through this partnership?

At BP, we apply technology at scale across all of our portfolio: technology is really at the heart of everything we do. This is visible even in our relationship with ADNOC, where we are providing the best technical and business collaboration to help build greater efficiency and more profitability. In doing so, we are benefiting from greater transparency in terms of what we can add value to, and how we can transfer our knowledge. This not only concerns technology itself, but also the application of this technology: providing technology is only half of the game: 50% of success depends on its execution. That being said, technology is a critical enabler in helping us find and recover hydrocarbons. BP is a leader in deploying Enhanced Oil Recovery schemes and has developed several proprietary technologies, such as low salinity water injection (LoSal), to help recover more oil from the reservoir. BP is also a leader in water flood technology, a type of improved oil recovery. Our success is shown by how we are maximizing recovery from some of the world’s largest reservoirs and from maturing fields in places such as in Azerbaijan, Iraq, Russia and the US. As for Abu Dhabi, we support ADNOC to meet its production target and in their aspiration to achieve 60-70% recovery factor too. This is through our technical capability which is demonstrated in different ways: through our secondees through our joint research programs that we have had with ADNOC, for example Carbonate Ionic Design, enhanced oil recovery, reservoir modelling; through the Subsurface Centre of Excellence in ADNOC; through our leading position in the Digital Oil Fields work and through our experience in giant water flood oil fields as well as addressing operational challenges. A key enabler, in this sense, is the transfer of senior experts and technology.

What have been the most recent developments in the downstream business?

All national oil companies (NOC) in the region are looking into downstream as they seek extra value in each drop of oil. This approach is great in terms of diversifying income and reflects the challenges of today’s market. In order to be successful, companies will be required to have a competitive edge through a differentiated offer that is then able to grow into a niche market. Each player will be known not only regionally, but also globally for a certain segment of the downstream or petrochemicals business.

What are your views on the long-term future of the oil industry?

The oil price game has changed with the advent of shale. As of January 2018, oil prices have fallen from USD100 all the way to nearly USD30 at times: that is 70% of our income being cut away. Reaching USD100 again in the foreseeable future is no longer possible, but the market needs stability. As such, the oil cap deal has to stand up despite pressures of the supply and demand equation, which of itself is challenging, and the fact that the deal is between OPEC and non-OPEC countries. This is the first time there has been such a deal, and it will be tough to maintain as there is no structure or institution to do so. USD70 is healthier for more or less the entire GCC, though the question is whether shale will continue to push on this price. This is why a diversification of the industry is crucial in seeing what line we can strike from a barrel of oil. In summary whatever the oil price is, we need to be a profitable organization.

What further measures should be taken by the government to achieve the strategy of 2030 and beyond to 2050?

Education is key. If we instill the right values, we will reap what we sow. We need to start not only from education in schools, but also education in terms of culture, setting role models for the next generation. We have a program with Abu Dhabi Environment Agency called Sustainable Schools, where we train students who compete in different schools on how to protect the environment and recycling or reducing some of the waste. If the private sector and the government work closely via these initiatives, it will make a huge difference to society.

What role does BP play in the UAE and in the overall BP group strategy and what are your expectations for the near future?

Starting with the role we can play as an organization in the private sector, we will draw our priority from the 2030 vision of Abu Dhabi and the UAE. We are truly excited to be part of this journey and are pleased to play our role to support this transformation and growth in Abu Dhabi. We hope to show how private sector partnerships with the government can add a positive angle. We would like to do more and add value by bringing in more technology and advancing our participation not only upstream but in the full value-chain. Abu Dhabi is an important strategic shareholder in BP. Abu Dhabi Government holds shares in BP. Our net production from Abu Dhabi is around 180,000 barrels of oil/day from ADNOC Onshore, representing a good contribution to BP’s overall portfolio.



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