This year’s ADIPEC conference expands its focus on downstream strategy, innovation and technology as the region looks to capture more of the processed value of its resources
As much of the upstream world grapples with the bottom-line realities of lower prices, downstream activity has undergone a well-publicised renaissance. According to analysis by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), when the oil price dropped sharply during 2014, margins at major European and Asian refining hubs went up, rising by around 72% in Rotterdam and 57% in Singapore.
This is no less true for much of the Middle East, where investment in refining and selling the end products such as fuel, plastics and petrochemicals is emerging as a core business strategy among national oil companies (NOCs) looking to capture more of the processed value of their natural resources.
As the region’s biggest oil event, the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC) intends to reflect that shift. “ADIPEC’s guiding purpose is to be the convening power for the global industry, a platform where the industry’s leading CEOs define and refine their strategic direction,” said Al Yasat CEO and ADIPEC 2017 chairman Ali Khalifa Al Shamsi. “Although exploration, production and export of crude oil remain the foundation of the region’s NOCs, today’s business models increasingly look beyond this, making downstream investments that accumulate benefits through each value-added process. ADIPEC is committed to acting as a driving force in support of this evolution.”
This year the strategic conference programme includes several ministerial sessions and four global business leader sessions, offering panel discussions and interviews with some of the senior government and industry decision makers who are shaping the future of oil and gas. An additional four downstream global business leader sessions will focus exclusively on value-added processes. Specialised sessions within the conference programme will offer knowledge exchange in areas such as security, the offshore and marine sector, and the role of women in the energy industry.
Confirmed speakers at the conference include Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo, and United Arab Emirates Minister of Energy Suhail Mohamed Mazrouei, , as well as government ministers from Egypt, Oman, Bahrain, Lebanon, Nigeria and Mexico.
They will be joined by CEOs from major NOCs, international oil companies (IOCs) and leading oilfield services firms, as well as top industry experts.
Conference sessions and panel discussions include broad-ranging knowledge exchange on achieving stable and sustainable long-term growth for the industry, including through collaboration and partnerships, innovation and efficiency of operations, enabling smart growth across the value chain, and driving investment into downstream refining and petrochemicals. Change and industry disruption will be important topics, looking at how the petroleum industry can adapt to the changing roles of oil and natural gas in a low-carbon future.
As well as the strategic conference, ADIPEC offers oil and gas professionals 119 technical sessions catering for all aspects of the industry. These too will see a significant increase in scope for 2017 to include the downstream industry for the first time, as well as more sessions for specialised areas including offshore and marine exploration and production.
The technical programme will encompass all layers of the industry, including upstream and midstream sessions organised by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), while dmg events, Global Energy, will oversee a new programme of downstream sessions. Organisers have said that the change reflects the accelerating search for efficiency and integration in a challenging market.
“The key to growth for oil and gas companies will be to find new ideas, and to share information in the pursuit of best practice,” said Ali Al Rawahi, reservoir manager – Studies (BUH/SE Asset), at the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Petroleum Operations Ltd (ADCO), and ADIPEC 2017 Technical Conference chairman.
Session topics include exploration and production geoscience, production facilities technologies, field development, operational excellence, drilling and completion technology, HSE, projects engineering and management, gas technology, unconventional resources, enhanced oil recovery (EOR and more.
“ADIPEC is clearly established as the leading platform for knowledge exchange in oil and gas. What the conference offers has never been more important than it is today. Resource owners are getting better prices for their product, but nobody can rely on further rises to ensure their business. The focus will continue to be on improving efficiency and reducing cost, which can only be achieved through sharing experience between companies and across borders,” Al Rawahi continued.
From a strong focus on exploration and production during the pre-2014 period of sustained high oil prices, 2015 and 2016 have emphasised innovation and improved efficiency to reduce immediate costs. The latest changes recognise an industry adapting to a new normal. This sees investment returning to exploration and production in anticipation of rising demand, growing interest in natural gas, and a long-term imperative to add value.
As part of its integrated 2030 Strategy, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (ADNOC), which hosts ADIPEC, is creating more profitable downstream and more valuable upstream businesses. The strategy aims to increase production capacity to 3.5 million bpd by 2018, increase gasoline production to 10.2 million tpy by 2022, and grow petrochemicals production from 4.5 million tonnes in 2016 to 11.4 million tonnes by 2025. It will also diversify its range of high-value innovative plastics solutions.
Similar goals are being set by NOCs across the Middle East and beyond.
The emerging business approach seeks to maximise the value of each barrel that NOCs produce, by generating additional revenue from each layer of processing, distribution and sales. As well as generating more revenue, investments along the value chain can smooth out the impact of fluctuations in oil and gas prices, as rising or falling markets affect each layer of the industry differently.
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, hosted by ADNOC and organised by the Global Energy division of dmg events, ADIPEC will be held at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from November 13-16, 2017.