Technology key to leveraging heavy oil's potential
Heavy oil accounts for 21% of the world’s crude oil reserves, of which nearly 30% is in the Middle East, at 971bn barrels of heavy crude oil.
Technology and innovation will play an instrumental role in securing heavy oil’s valuable position in the global energy mix, according to the region’s industry experts.
Speaking ahead of the upcoming Middle East Heavy Oil Congress (MEHOC), the largest gathering of heavy oil professionals in the region, Peter Bartlett, chief executive of the Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco), said overcoming the challenges associated with leveraging this complex – but invaluable – energy resource will depend on the industry’s ability to develop commercially viable recovery solutions.
“Fossil fuels will continue to account for the majority of the world’s primary energy needs for the next few decades, and heavy oil will feature in that mix. In order to compete, though, heavy oil producers will have to overcome cost challenges versus commercially competitive alternatives. They will innovate in order to do so. At Bapco, we consider heavy oil in the mix of feedstocks we purchase for our refinery,” Bartlett said.
“Our participation in the Middle East Heavy Oil Congress is part of our strategy in monitoring important developments in the heavy oil marketplace. The event offers key industry stakeholders a platform to network, explore the latest technologies, and share knowledge and best practice across the value chain, enabling us to ensure that heavy oil continues to be a valuable contributor to the evolving global energy mix.”
According to a recent study by international management consultancy Arthur D. Little, heavy oil accounts for 21% of the world’s crude oil reserves. Of this, nearly 30% is in the Middle East, at 971bn barrels of heavy crude oil.
Despite the global abundancy of this valuable resource, its commercial viability and sustainable production continues to be a challenge for the world’s producers, especially amid a challenging economic landscape. Because of its highly viscous composition, heavy oil requires a different – and often more technologically advanced – refining process than that which is used for conventional oil.
Hosted under the patronage of HE Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, minister of oil for the Kingdom of Bahrain, supported by the National Oil and Gas Authority (NOGA), and organised by the Global Energy division of dmg events, MEHOC 2017 will offer two days of unparalleled networking and knowledge exchange opportunities for heavy oil professionals from across the globe through a dedicated conference and an international exhibition, where industry leaders, including national oil companies, international oil companies, and service providers, will showcase the latest technologies and developments in heavy oil recovery and production.
“Around the world, trillions of barrels of heavy oil are just waiting to be recovered, potentially extending the hydrocarbon life expectancy by decades,” said Jean-Philippe Cosse, vice president – dmg events Global Energy. “Developing solutions that will enable the safe, sustainable, and cost efficient recovery of this prominent resource could give the world access to new supplies of energy. MEHOC works as a catalyst for industry progress, allowing experts to exchange knowledge and information that will pave the way to a promising future for heavy oil recovery and production.”
Building on the remarkable success of the inaugural edition in 2015, the second edition of MEHOC will offer attendees exclusive industry insight through both strategic and technical conference sessions that will focus on upstream, midstream, and downstream sectors of the heavy oil value chain. This year, the conference Call for Papers saw a submission of 150 abstracts across 5 technical categories, covering the entire heavy oil value chain. After meticulous evaluation by the technical committee, 25 abstracts were selected for presentation at the conference.
Key participating companies this year include BAPCO, the Kuwait Oil Company, Lukoil Engineering, Occidental Petroleum Oman, Schlumberger, Tatweer Petroleum, and Total S.A.
MEHOC will take place on 11 and 12 April at the Gulf Hotel in Bahrain. The event is expected to welcome more than 20 exhibiting companies, 40 speakers, and 200 professionals from over 15 countries.