Action-packed month for GCC O&G projects

For the oil and gas sector, July was a blockbuster month, with two highly anticipated projects in the limelight

COMMENT, Industry Trends

Activity in the oil and gas industry, especially for the last year or so, since it began struggling under below-par crude oil prices, has been erratic and tricky to predict. We observers, much like regional energy sector companies, have learnt to adjust to the new realities of an era of low oil prices and thus expect operations and transactions to remain subdued.

Then, in just one month, significant progress is made on two mega-projects, both worth billions of dollars and capable of breathing life (and hope) into the regional industry. July 2016 was definitely an exciting month.

State-owned Qatar Petroleum, after months of justified scrutiny, awarded the contract for a partner to operate one of the world’s largest offshore oilfields to Total. The French oil and gas doyen emerged as the victor of a hotly-contested race to win a 30% stake in Al Shaheen oilfield for 25 years, beating the bid from the previous operator, Denmark’s Maersk Oil, to retain control.

Intrigued by the manner in which Total came from out of left field to defeat stiff competition from its global rivals and win this landmark contract, I arranged an exclusive interview with the French energy giant’s E&P chieftain – possibly the first since this decisive victory for the organisation – to get to the bottom of this and other company news.

The other prime project is one that could hold the key to Saudi Arabia’s future electricity production capabilities, the Fadhili gas programme, for which owner Saudi Aramco awarded around $13.3bn-worth of contracts.

Scheduled to be completed by the end of 2019, the Fadhili gas project aims to become a key component of the Kingdom’s master gas system, processing gas from both onshore and offshore fields. The new Saudi Aramco mega-project will help boost production and supply of clean-burning natural gas, lessening dependence on oil for power generation.

Here’s hoping that the rest of this year continues to be just as eventful for the region’s industry.

And, speaking of exciting events, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you that time is running out for you to nominate your company, project or colleagues for the Oil & Gas and Refining and Petrochemicals Middle East 2016 Awards, with the August 21 deadline swiftly approaching. For the last seven years, our Awards have recognised the industry’s biggest stars so, if you make the cut, the spotlight could be on you.

Indrajit Sen
Reporter, Oil & Gas Middle East
indrajit.sen@itp.com

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