Bahrain keen to develop oil and gas industry

Mar 16, 2009 01:00 AM

Bahrain is determined to steer its oil and gas industry to a promising future, it was declared. It is time for the industry to place greater emphasis on investment in technology, human resources and partnerships, said Oil and Gas Affairs Minister and National Oil and Gas Authority (NOGA) chairman Dr Abdulhussain Mirza.
He was speaking at the opening of the 16th Middle East Oil & Gas Show and Conference (MEOS 2009) at the Bahrain International Exhibition Centre. The four-day event, organised by the Society of Petroleum Engineers, is being held under the patronage of Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa. The theme of the conference is "People, Demand, Technology -- Bridging the Gaps".

Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) president Leo Roodhardt also spoke at the opening session.
Speakers at the executive plenary session were Schlumberger chairman and chief executive officer Andrew Gould, Saudi Aramco senior vice-president -- exploration and production Amin Nasser, Weatherford International chairman, president and chief executive Bernard Duroc-Danner, ExxonMobil Development president Nedil Duffin, Occidental Petroleum chairman and chief executive officer Ray Irani and Kuwait Oil Company chairman and managing director Sami Al Rushaid.

Bahrain takes pride in holding this biannual premier international petroleum conference, which is renowned for its impressive record in disseminating petroleum industry knowledge from this region to the rest of the world for more than 30 years now, as the first MEOS was held in Bahrain in March 1979, said Dr Mirza.
"It s also very pleasing to note that in spite of the global financial and economic crisis, oil and gas industry remains robust taking the ups and downs in its stride," he said. "The great turnout to this conference is a clear indication of this fact."

The oil and gas industry will be facing tremendous challenges ahead, said the minister. Investment in technology and innovation should continue because global energy demand in the medium and long term will continue to grow, he said.
"The world has seen a number of recessions in the past. However since early 1990s, the recessions had little impact on the demand for oil and gas," said Dr Mirza. "In the latest World Energy Outlook, the International Energy Agency believes the current economic storm has not changed the market's long-term outlook. It sees world energy use growing more slowly to 2030 than it projected last year, but still expanding by 45 % between 2006 and 2030 with an average growth rate of 1.6 %. Fossil fuels will account for 80 % of the global energy mix in 2030 with oil being the dominant fuel. China and India will account for more than half of the incremental energy demand to 2030." Therefore improved technology and innovations cannot be over emphasised in achieving the future targets, said Dr Mirza.

Needless to say, the technology should be cost effective enough to take care of the changing market conditions.
"In the last decade, we have all heard the calls for "The Great Crew Change" as many of the current engineers and professionals of the oil and gas companies reach their retirement age," Dr Mirza said. "We found out then that the root cause of the problem was the lack of hiring in the 1980s and early 1990s. Therefore, the industry should not repeat the same mistake of those years. The investment in human resources is very important even in the current situation and it should be continuous so that the educational institutions properly plan to provide reasonable number of engineers and oil professionals on a regular basis."

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