Mohammed Y. Al-Qahtani, Saudi Aramco Senior VP of Upstream.
Nearly 4,000 geoscientists and oil and gas professionals from around the globe converged this week at Bahrain’s International Exhibition & Convention Center for the 13th Middle East Geosciences Conference and Exhibition (GEO 2018), the region’s largest technical program of its kind, to explore technologies addressing industry challenges.
Held under the patronage of HRH Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa, Prime Minister of Bahrain, and sponsored by Saudi Aramco and other global energy leaders, the bi-annual event addressed the theme, “Pushing the Technical Limits: Shaping the Energy Landscape.”
Mohammed Y. Al-Qahtani, Saudi Aramco Senior VP of Upstream, gave the keynote speech, “Reshaping the Landscape in Industry 4.0,” in the first plenary session on overcoming barriers for future energy, noting that the rapid transformation required of the industry is happening at a time when the Fourth Industrial Revolution makes almost anything seem possible – although the enabling scope of technology makes it easy to settle for immediate gratification.
“Unfortunately, much of petroleum R&D investment is in shorter-term improvements with quick pay-outs, as opposed to groundbreaking research. And while incremental improvement plays a role, investing solely in low-hanging fruit and short-term pay-offs will fall short of transformation,” Al-Qahtani warned.
Al-Qahtani went on to discuss long-term technological investments that are proving to be game-changers for Saudi Aramco, increasing discovery and recovery, reducing costs, enhancing safety and protecting the environment. “It’s no coincidence that these investments fit nicely with GEO’s focus on moving beyond technical boundaries, new opportunities in unconventional resources, and how Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things impact exploration and production, because Industry 4.0 is the catalyst for major leaps forward in all these areas,” he said.
Al-Qahtani highlighted the importance of technologies like Spice Rack, a robotics-based innovation that increases data acquisition by 50 percent while cutting costs by 30 percent; and AI and Deep Learning processes that determine rock types and geological features for better well placement and field development.
Inviting attendees to visit Saudi Aramco’s pavilion to learn more about the company’s proprietary technologies like TeraPOWERS, the world’s first trillion-cell reservoir simulator whose clear imaging aids increased discovery and recovery, Al-Qahtani emphasized the importance of cooperation within and beyond the traditional industry ecosystem, continued investment in training and development, and ensuring that technology is scalable, affordable and adaptable for continuous innovation.