Saudi Arabia Hosts O&G Conference Highlighting Industry Reliability

The Saudi Arabia International Oil and Gas Exhibition and Conference (SAOGE) launched its first conference Nov. 15-17, with more than 5,000 participants and 200 companies from 28 countries gathering to discuss how to ensure oil and gas operations reliability in the face of current economic challenges.

"Energy is the life-blood of the world economy and civilization today," said company president and CEO Abdallah S. Jum'ah in his welcome message printed in the program, "whether it's a child reading by the light of a kerosene lamp in a remote village, a farmer toiling on a tractor and growing food using our fertilizers, a sick patient being treated with hydrocarbon-derived drugs or a jumbo jet speeding to take you to your loved ones … Saudi Aramco is committed to playing its part in meeting the energy needs of people around the globe for decades to come," he said.

The company is committed to meeting challenges facing the petroleum industry. "We convene the Saudi Arabia International Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition at a time of worldwide uncertainty and transition," said Abdulla A. Al Naim, vice president of Petroleum Engineering and Development, in his keynote address. He warned against overreacting to the current economic situation. "Certainly, the developments taking place in the petroleum markets and in the wider global economy are important, but they are also, to a large degree, short-term in nature, and ours is a long-term business."

More than 60 research papers were presented at the conference on developments in the petroleum industry, from creating new upstream technologies for exploration and production to developing engine technologies and fuel formulations to protect the environment.

Papers envisioned future challenges for tomorrow’s markets. "We develop our reservoir production strategies with a lifespan measured in decades. The crude oil production increments we're now bringing online will still be in our operational portfolio a generation from now," Al Naim said.

He assured attendees that there is plenty of future business. "Despite the present short-term lag in demand for oil and gas, the future will be characterized by a substantially greater call on our companies for vital energy. … It will be characterized by greater operational complexity, increased technological sophistication, and an even higher degree of integration and cross-disciplinary activity," he said.

To meet these future needs, more is required than just technological developments. "The oil and gas business has always been about more than drilling rigs, processing plants and pipelines," he said. "It has been about the human factor and the ability of men and women to solve problems and seize opportunities, even in the most difficult of situations."

To make the best out of the current situation, companies need to work together and partner for solutions. "No single petroleum company -- no matter how large or how accomplished -- can do everything on its own," said Dr. Mohammed Y. Al-Qahtani, chief petroleum engineer, at the company's gala dinner. "Our business is too complex and the pace of technological change too rapid for any one entity to tackle single-handedly all the challenges it faces."

With these challenges come opportunities. "The challenges that face our industry at this moment are numerous -- but the opportunities that present themselves are equally plentiful and rewarding," Al Naim said. "Given the intellectual firepower, enormous talent and limitless dedication of the people in our industry … we are indeed entering a golden age of oil and gas."