The Business Year

Hussein Fouad El Ghazzwy

UAE, ABU DHABI - Energy & Mining

The Time For Technology

General Manager & Vice President-UAE, Schlumberger


Prior to becoming General Manager & Vice President-UAE at Schlumberger, Hussein Fouad El Ghazzwy was General Manager in Yemen, a position he had held since 2007. He started his career with Schlumberger in 1984 as a Field Engineer in multiple locations across North and West Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. He has a degree in geology and geophysics and a master’s in petroleum geology from Ain Shams University, Egypt.

"There is pressure from our customers to reduce costs, and we are working with them on this."

OPEC is going to raise the ceiling of production. How does this affect Schlumberger?

From a UAE perspective, the market will be challenging in 2016. We don’t see any significant delay of major projects starting. Projects yet to start may be delayed; however, ones that have already begun should continue as planned. Definitely, there is pressure from our customers to reduce costs, and we are working with them on this. We have been running a transformation program at Schlumberger since 2008. We believe that as part of our partnership with our customers we are able to pass some savings along gained through our various initiatives without compromising HSE or service quality. I also strongly believe that it is at a time like this when you should introduce new technology. New technology might be more expensive than conventional means but it is effective if we manage to demonstrate the efficiency gains and value-added to our client. Our objective is to reduce the overall cost per barrel for our clients. For example, we have a remote operation to optimize human resources. Instead of having a full crew, we reduce the crew and use various communication methods to transfer the data to our offices, where senior employees can monitor operations. This provides savings that we can share with our customers. By combining some services that we were providing to a customer, we reduce the time for a logging operation by 30%. It was a combination of new technologies and a look at the way we ran the operation. We combined a couple of runs and saved a lot on rig time.

Aside from implementing new technology, how is Schlumberger saving costs at the moment?

We started a few years ago, and this is not just a one-year plan; it is an ongoing plan that will run for several years. It is a transformation program. Part of it is remote operations, while another part is multi-skilled workers. We train our employees to be multi-skilled without diluting the specialty of the individuals. It’s good for the people because they get more opportunities to develop their skills. This provides us with agility and flexibility and that definitely impacts our cost. We do equipment utilization as well. We look at how we can push more utilization out of the tools we have. This is a benefit for our customer and us.

How has the development of extended-reach drilling evolved over the past year?

As of now, ZADCO has four artificial islands and ADMA has two artificial islands. We are actively working with both clients so extended reach drilling is very active. Starting from 2016, the number of extended-reach wells drilled in Abu Dhabi will be the highest number in the region and probably worldwide, too. It is pushing the envelope in terms of the length of the drain holes and total depth and everything else. We are talking about 30,000-35,000 feet wells, going to 40,000-45,000 feet; therefore, it is definitely significant and growing.

How has the development of sour gas reserves evolved over the past year?

Sour gas is still important as part of the overall development of Abu Dhabi. The first phase at Al Hosn is completed and Al Hosn has started producing gas, whilst planning is underway for the next phase. Abu Dhabi is leading the region when it comes to the sour gas development and technology used in this part of the world, as well as in the extended reach. That will make Abu Dhabi a pioneer in terms of trying new technology for sour gas development.

Schlumberger continues to be one of the preferred employers, globally. What is your HR strategy?

This year, and probably 2017 as well, will be challenging years for the industry, but the good thing about Schlumberger is that we don’t stop recruiting as it is important to keep investing for the future.We will slow down the pace of recruiting , but we won’t stop. In Abu Dhabi we have the Middle East Learning Center, which is a learning center for people coming from all over the world. On any given day, it can accommodate up to 650 students; therefore, it is the second-largest training center we have in the world, and it is number one in terms of diversity of the training. We can cover most of Schlumberger’s segments in this training center. We thank ADNOC for donating this land to us. It opened in March 2007. It is a landmark demonstrating the partnership that we developed with ADNOC through the years.

How are you working to support national energy infrastructure?

Our overall objective is to reduce our customer’s cost per barrel by the various initiatives described earlier, and, subsequently, we are able to share the savings with them. This also means new ways of working and this has to be mutually understood and accepted. We work with our customers to get involved much earlier in the projects because then we can look at the way it’s executed; the early phases of planning are where we can make an impact on how it is delivered. Part of the mindset change is to get involved earlier so that we can work together in the planning phase with our customer and look at how we can execute projects much more efficiently. They are very open to that. We have been asked by executives and ministers to work closely with our customers in developing alternative solutions and services earlier. That might even change the status quo of planning. The market in oil and gas is evolving and the challenge the industry is facing is helping us and our clients to think outside the box and change mindsets. The trust is very important as well. We need to be very open. I think it’s an exciting time for the industry, despite the fact that it is very challenging.

Regarding the Schlumberger brand, what can you say about the deal with Cameron International?

We are excited about it in the sense that it is complementing our offering. There is no overlap in our products and services, which is the beauty of the merger. The Cameron transaction is set to create technology-driven growth by integrating Schlumberger’s leading reservoir and well technology with Cameron’s leading wellhead and surface technology. This will be crucial for our future as we continue to seek new ways to drive total system performance in the areas of both drilling and production with a much closer integration between the surface and subsurface parts of both the drilling and production systems. Once the merger is fully approved there will definitely be a lot of communication and synergy between Schlumberger and Cameron.



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