EGYPT - Energy & Mining
Chairman & CEO, National Energy Services Reunited Corp. (NESR)
Sherif Foda is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NESR since inception. He founded the company in 2017 as a SPAC to create the first and largest OFS national champion of the MENA region publicly listed on the Nasdaq. He has more than 25 years of professional experience in the Energy industry working primarily in his earlier career for Schlumberger Limited (NYSE: SLB) around the world, particularly in the Middle East, Europe and the US. He served as Senior Advisor to the Chairman of Schlumberger, an officer and President of the Production Group, the President of Europe and Africa, Vice President, and Managing Director of the Arabian market among other roles. He started his career in 1993 with Schlumberger, working on the offshore fields in the Red Sea, then transferred to Germany and Europe before getting to multiple senior level positions. Prior to working in the oil and gas industry, he worked in the information technology and computer industry for two years after graduating from Ain Shams University in Cairo with double majors in Electronics Engineering and Automatic control. He attended various executive courses at HBS, Oxford and IMD and is a usual speaker in multiple forums. Mr. Foda is a board member of Energy Recovery, Inc. (Nasdaq: ERII), a technology company based in California. He also serves as the Chairman of the board of WDVG Engineering based in Houston and GLC energy company in London. He used to serve on the Board of Trustees of Awty International School in Houston and is a board member for Al Fanar Venture philanthropy in London.
NESR has a unique history, as it is the only publicly listed company from the Middle East listed on NASDAQ in any industry. We were one of the largest companies in the Middle East and started to acquire companies in the region in order to establish a presence. We are currently the largest national company in the Middle East region, working in 15 countries including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Algeria, and more. NESR was established essentially as a union of all the Middle East countries and North Africa to provide energy services.
We are well established in Saudi Arabia and Oman, having won the biggest contract at the Jafurah field, a USD68-billion unconventional gas project that Saudi Arabia is embarking on. In Egypt, we have grown significantly, adding many business services that previously did not exist in the country, such as hydraulic fracturing of the formation. We have established a strong presence here, having completed a chemicals production project in Egypt this year. We also recently added both fracking and production chemicals, and sustainability, which we have been advocating for since we launched. In January 2020, we were the first company in the country to launch a sustainable decarbonization arm that we call ESG Impact. The oil industry has no choice but to continue producing, because the world requires fossil fuels for at least another two or three decades; however, the industry should produce it more responsibly and with fewer emissions. Our region can do much more. Egypt can make a big change, especially since it is in dire need of gas, so it should not flare. Water scarcity is also a significant issue here, even though we dump a large amount of water in the desert as an industry. What we need to do is clean that water and reuse it in various ways.
In this case, we developed an open platform for technology, which is unique. It is exactly like an IT open platform, where innovators can come up with new ideas. We are partnering with eight companies on sustainable matters, and some of them are not even in the oil and gas sector. Part of the technology has to do with emissions. We have perhaps one of the best sensors in the world, because it was developed in partnership with the experts who established the baseline of emissions for Canada and the US. We acquired the company and brought it to the Middle East. Now, we have the technology to measure emissions not just in oil and gas, but also the cement industry, steel, and other polluting industries. We also have the technology to convert heat into power. This is something that is not being captured today, and if we can do that, even if we only get 7-8% efficiency, we’ll be able to produce electricity. This will all play a role in helping to eliminate diesel, which is a heavy pollutant.
First, we have to understand that carbons are part of the reality; we cannot just ignore them. I think the biggest challenge today is the education aspect and getting the CAPEX to start the project. There are cash flow issues when attempting to start a sustainability project at the beginning of a project. If a company leaves a pipe flaring, they might only count the lost opportunity of selling the gas; however, it must also take into account the damage to the environment via the methane produced. If the total tally of both costs turns out to be lower than the cost of the solution, then it is not economical for the company nor is it sustainable. The challenge in Egypt is that the initial investment is always constrained in the market.
Our goal is to double the company’s size again, similar to the first four or five years. This is huge, though we plan to do it in a sustainable way. We want sustainability be a significant arm of the company and not a “nice to have.” We hope to make a big push on this and continue with our research and technology open platform. In March, we opened our first research center in Saudi Arabia, a state-of-the-art center that is LEED-certified.