The CWC Group’s Director, Nawar Abdulhadi interviews Mr Gati Saadi Al-Jebouri, LUKOIL Vice President, Head of Middle East Upstream in preparation for the 11th edition of the Iraq Petroleum Conference in May. Mr Al-Jebouri gives us his views on the Iraqi industry, how LUKOIL is working successfully in the country and his outlook for the future of the industry in the country.
Why is Iraq such an important market for the global oil and gas industry?
Iraq is of great importance to the world oil market due to its abundant resource potential. The country ranks fifth in the world in terms of proven oil reserves, however many fields have either not been developed at all or developed at below their full capacity because of lack of investments and infrastructure problems. Our common goal with the Government of Iraq is to find possibilities to maximize investments in the country’s oil and gas industry, by making them beneficial both for the state and for the IOCs.
How does the Government of Iraq and the oil and gas industry work together to drive innovation?
The IOCs and the Government of Iraq are working actively toward this goal and have already achieved considerable results. Almost all leading IOCs and major service companies have already established their presence in Iraq and started to implement modern technologies in cooperation with the Iraqi partners.
However, there is still a long way to go. To bring more innovations, it’s essential to improve the investment climate continuously. The representatives of LUKOIL and the Ministry of Oil and South Oil Company hold regular meetings to discuss terms and conditions of the existing contracts, trying to ensure inflow of investments into the country regardless of the market conditions.
As an industry expert and LUKOIL Senior VP, how would you summarize your experience working in Iraq?
I would summarize our experience in Iraq as “big challenges and incredible results”. Both of our projects in Iraq are “greenfield”. Moreover, while West Qurna-2 was already explored in the 70’s of the last century, the large discovery at Block 10 was made by SOC (South Oil Company), LUKOIL and Inpex just several months ago.
Currently, West Qurna-2 is leading all “greenfield” projects in Iraq in terms of production volume. To achieve these results, we have established good working relationship with the local population at the contract area, conducted demining and built modern production facilities. We can definitely state that the projects which we are implementing in Iraq are unique not only for the company but for the international oil industry as a whole.
What is the role of LUKOIL in enhancing projects performance and research?
LUKOIL pays special attention to the front-end engineering, including assessment and interpretation of geological data, preparation and updating of the field development feasibility studies, and selection of asset development options depending on the external conditions. Thus, we ensure that all the decisions made are optimal for the development of a particular asset. Besides, we work very closely with the local population, as we believe that mutual understanding and cooperation with people on the contract area has an immediate effect on the efficient implementation of our projects.
What is your main interest at the Iraq Petroleum Conference?
My aim is to highlight LUKOIL’s recent achievements in Iraq to the participants, to exchange views with my colleagues and representatives of the Iraqi state authorities on the most urgent issues in the development of the oil and gas industry in Iraq.
What is the outlook for Iraq as a global player in Oil & Gas?
Iraq has very good chances to become one of the leaders of the oil and gas industry of the 21st century. Our estimates suggest that the worldwide demand for liquid hydrocarbons will grow, especially in Asia and the Middle East. Iraq has apparent competitive advantages, such as huge hydrocarbon reserves, low cost of production, proximity of major oilfields to the export terminals. To unlock Iraq’s potential as a leading global oil and gas player, it’s essential to achieve internal political stability, as well as to reduce security risks, diversify the Iraqi economy, improve terms and conditions of E&P contracts, and develop the internal energy market. I strongly believe that the Iraqi authorities will do their best to turn it into reality.
Mr Gati Saadi Al-Jebouri will be speaking at Iraq Petroleum on 23rd May 2017 during Session 2: Iraq’s Oil & Gas Operators: the Value of Partnerships in Developing Energy for Iraq’s Future Generations.