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Ali Al Jarwan

UAE, UAE, ABU DHABI - Energy & Mining

The right kind of intervention

CEO, Dragon Oil


Ali Al Jarwan is CEO of Dragon Oil. He has over three decades of leadership and technical experience in E&P. He earned a BSc degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Tulsa, an MBA from the International Institute of Management Development in Switzerland, and a degree in general management from the Cran􏰂eld School of Management in the UK. Al Jarwan held several leadership positions in the ADNOC Group, among them as CEO of Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company (ADMA-OPCO) from 2006-2016. He has chaired various conferences and received several awards.

Rigorous training methods, new technology implementation, and strong localization policies have made Dragon Oil an ally of every government it works with.

Can you provide an overview of Dragon Oil and its core priorities?
Dragon Oil is an international oil and gas exploration, development, and production company. Our main business task is to ensure that we have cash positive bottom-line results. As such, we aim to strike a balance between high-performance activities and profitability. Changing management has to be positive for Dragon Oil, especially in an industry such as oil and gas, which is continuously transforming. Dragon Oil has a collaborative approach; we like to problem solve and create value through synergy and integration. We have significant operations in Turkmenistan with our principal producing asset at Cheleken in the eastern section of the Caspian Sea. This was our first overseas base, established 20 years ago. We are the 100% owner and operator of the concession jointly in the Cheleken oilfield with the government of Turkmenistan. Currently, we produce 70,000bpd, though the highest we have achieved is 100,000bpd. We are currently redeveloping the field to return to this volume. Due to our performance in Turkmenistan, we have established an excellent reputation in the industry. We bring substantial technical competence to our operations. With an international workforce, we have diversity in thinking and output. Wherever we operate, we always consider ourselves as strategic partners of the government and country.

What are some of Dragon Oil’s other significant overseas operations?
In Iraq, we hold 30% equity of the Faihaa-1 field, a massive field operated by the United Energy Group. We have plans to increase production from 22,000bpd to 50,000bpd by the end of 2020. In Egypt, we recently entered the Gulf of Suez, a stake we took over from BP. In 2019, we completed the acquisition of its existing operations and at present operate 11 concessions that are all mature. Overall, this has strengthened our profile as an organization. It has demonstrated that we are highly capable of operations of this magnitude. Currently, production is at around 60,000bpd, which we aim to increase to about 75,000bpd. Across Dragon Oil, our rate of production is close to 150,000bpd. As we look ahead, our overall strategy is to produce 300,000bpd by 2026. In addition, we are exploring gas monetization in Turkmenistan, which would significantly expand our operations. Recently, we had discussions about several concession blocks. In general, we are an ambitious company. We look to achieve speed, efficiency, and agility in terms of our operations and pricing.

In what ways have you built local expertise and helped in the development of the countries that you operate?
Our priority is to develop a competent workforce throughout our global operations. We have rigorous training programs that prepare our workforce for the reality of the environments where they will work. This preparation aims to build operational competence. We also aim to impart leadership qualities such as effective decision making. On the frontline of our operations, it is also crucial that we instill a culture of compliance with international rules and regulations. In the countries where we operate, we have an excellent track record of building local human resources. We are a technology-centric organization whose innovations create a platform for upskilling the next generation of oil and gas professionals. What is more, Dragon Oil has several CSR activities that enrich society, mainly in education, where we invest in equipment for sports and music.

What technologies are you exploring?
The complexity of some of our operating environments means that innovative technologies have excellent use cases. We have already applied AI to the Cheleken field, which, owing to the structural dynamics of some of these floating assets, we have seen several notable benefits. Much of the data gathered helps us to uncover efficiencies. Machine learning allows us to increase the accuracy of prediction through AI. This is a dual-pronged approach, and as we depend on machine learning, we grow in parallel with this technology. I predict newer technologies such as smart field applications for automation to disrupt the sector even further, as they become more advanced, especially when we deploy methods of transferring data in real-time both for drilling, production, and maintenance.



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