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Held under the patronage of HIS HIGHNESS SHEIKH HAMDAN BIN MOHAMMED BIN RASHID AL MAKTOUM, Crown Prince of Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE)
21–23 September 2021, Dubai World Trade Centre
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Host Organisation

dragon oil logo

Plenary, Panel, and Regional Special Sessions

Plenary, Panel, and Regional Special Sessions

Plenary Session

The  New Oil and Gas Journey: Agility, Innovation, and Value Creation

Moderator   Speakers    
Ali Al Jarwan   Arnaud Breuillac Claudio Descalzi Vadim Yakovlev
Ali Al Jarwan
Dragon Oil
  Arnaud Breuillac
President E&P
Claudio Descalzi
Vadim Yakovlev

Deputy Chairman of the Management Board and
Deputy CEO for Upstream

Gazprom Neft PJSC


The global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have not spared the oil and gas industry. Lockdowns resulted in great uncertainty in energy supply and demand, causing economic stagnation, and oil prices saw an unprecedented decline, falling below USD 20 per barrel in April 2020. 

Oil and gas companies responded multilaterally to ensure a sustained and smooth production during the year. Leadership and management played a pivotal role in the subsequent steps, ensuring unity of purpose, and alignment at all levels in the organisation. Every E&P company—operators, service companies, IOCs and NOCs—embarked on a missionary journey to minimise losses and maintain business continuity. Resilient performance was the prevailing norm.

It was evident that companies that responded appropriately to optimise cost, improve operational efficiency, encourage the workforce to use learned skills, and innovate alternative solutions in all disciplines, were immediately able to manage and control changes as they approached a comfortable zone, within which they could operate smoothly.  Agility and adaptability were crucial for success in this new paradigm, with the scaling down of focus from the five-year business plan, and annual budgets, to daily cost control, monthly budgets, and conservation of free cash, becoming part of normal business practice.

This new ethos of agility and adaptability heightens the emphasis on HSE standards and practices, as well as production-critical activities at the core of such focus—terms like more-for-less to improve operating efficiency to over 90% with minimum drilling rigs and marine spread, have become a part of common language—in addition to partnering closely with contractors for continuous improvement, and the better use of available resources and materials, instead of new purchases.

The new environment described above, under disruptive oil prices, is shaping the industry principles for future competitive performance. This transition serves to further recognise the role of leadership in the fields of energy, technology, business, government, and finance, and the collaborative nature of the industry, the skilled workforce, and the unity with all stockholders to formulate processes for greater efficiency, innovation by providing alternative solutions, and the use of effective technology, with the overarching aim of achieving a new unit price that results in a profitable industry. In this new phase of the oil and gas journey, that continues in a new landscape, the potential is great with prosperous opportunities, already in sight, for the future.

Panel Sessions

Transitioning to Net Zero: Governments and Corporations

Moderator   Speakers  
Hisham Zubairi   Kamel Ben-Naceur Gabrielle Gauthey

Hisham Zubairi
Senior Advisor
National Oil and Gas Authority (NOGA)

  Kamel Ben-Naceur
2022 SPE President
Nomadia Energy
Gabrielle Gauthey
Senior VP Carbon Neutrality Business


To achieve the target set by the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5o C compared to pre-industrial levels, it is necessary to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 which requires effective cooperation and collaboration between governments and corporations. A growing number of countries are politically committing to the achievement of net-zero within the next few decades in line with the growing public calls to prevent a catastrophic irreversible climate change.

The combustion of fossil fuels represents the single largest source of CO2 and methane emissions making the oil and gas industry the main target for decarbonization among all other sectors. Hence, to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, the sector must take the necessary steps to self-transform because they have a significant role to play.

In such a shifting landscape, governments are positively seeing new opportunities; to diversify economies, reduce fossil-fuel dependency, address energy poverty, create new employment opportunities and attract incentives offered by the United Nations and investments by private clean-energy driven investors. corporations, on the other hand,  will have to revise their investment and operational plans and strategies to survive in the new energy landscape.

While oil and gas companies are highly exposed to energy transition risks, they have considerable scientific, technical, and financial powers to drive the energy transition and build low-carbon sustainable models. Some companies have already taken steps towards that goal.

Studies have shown that the global pandemic and resulting economic slowdown, has further accelerated the call for energy transition exerting more pressure on the oil and gas industry to promptly respond.

In this panel we will discuss the implications of the growing calls for energy transition on the oil and gas industry and how can governments and corporations cooperate and collaborate to achieve a successful energy transition?  We will discuss how can the industry work together to achieve a net-zero future? and we will explore how can corporations transform the net-zero associated challenges into opportunities?

Post Pandemic Business Models and Strategies

Moderator   Speaker
Zeid M. Ghareeb   Maurizio Rampoldi
Zeid M. Ghareeb
Saudi Aramco
  Maurizio Rampoldi
Technical Director and Deputy Managing Director
Eni Abu Dhabi


The Covid-19 pandemic has shaken the world economy and caused unprecedented oil price shocks, resulting in many oil and gas companies taking server measures to improve efficiencies.

Leveraging lessons learned from the recent pandemic, the new business model must ensure operating at the highest level of efficiencies while strategizing resource allocation to mature highest return opportunities, applying step-change technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) to reduce costs.  It may require merger and acquisition (M&A) to achieve economy of scale or leverage on the competitive advantage of companies.

To ensure the security of demand and supply for upstream and refinery/petrochemical companies, respectively, a number of long-term strategic business partnerships have been forged to jointly invest in the new or upgraded facilities.  

To compete with green energy competitors, the industry has to intensify R&D to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas products. Due to increased popularity of electric vehicles (EV), hence increase electricity consumption, it’s imperative that gas-powered plants are equipped with cost-efficient carbon capture facilities to ensure continual gas demand.

This panel will discuss strategies and business models oil and gas companies need to adapt to thrive in the post-pandemic era. 

Accelerating the Uptake of New Technology Applications

Moderator   Speakers  
Ibrahim Al-Alawi   Samer Al Ashgar Alan Nelson
Ibrahim Al-Alawi
Deputy CEO
AlMansoori Specialized Engineering
  Samer Al Ashgar
General Manager
Characterization and Field Development Geosciences
Saudi Aramco
Alan Nelson
Chief Technology Officer


The introduction of the internet to the general population one generation ago revolutionized information sharing forever. It transformed collaboration between academic institutions and accelerated research and development of new technology, two prime examples being the sequencing of the human genome and the development of COVID-19 vaccines. Unfortunately, our industry is sluggish when it comes to rolling out new technology. Companies are quick to introduce IT software solutions in the office and mobile applications on employees’ phones but drag their feet when it comes to implementing new technology in field operations. This panel session will explore the hurdles faced by innovators and discuss practical ways that companies can facilitate the adoption of new technologies while minimizing the risks involved.

Funding Future Projects: Access to Capital, Risk Management


Kamel Bennaceur
Kamel Ben-Naceur
2022 SPE President
Nomadia Energy


Energy Mix Collaboration

Moderator   Speaker
Fareed AlHashmi   Etienne Anglès d'Auriac
Fareed Abdulla AlHashmi
COO, Operating Assets
Dragon Oil
  Etienne Anglès d'Auriac
VP Climate Strategy

Regional Special Sessions

Net Zero CO2 Emission (Energy Transition)


Zeid Alghareeb Michael Gunningham
Zeid M. Ghareeb
Saudi Aramco
Michael Gunningham
SGS Nederland BV (Subsurface Consultancy)


The Net-Zero Carbon Emission is an ambition towards global warming regulation: net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by balancing carbon dioxide emissions with the removal of carbon dioxide emissions. Countries and corporations across the globe have set targets to gradually decrease their greenhouse gas emissions, which will enable stable climatic conditions to exist. The country-targets complement the desire for achieving net-zero emissions by a certain date in the future. Therefore, the main target of net-zero is to create global climate restoration to pre-climate change durations and create a balance between greenhouse gases emitted and gases cleared from the atmosphere. Various efforts by governments and companies towards the achievement of net zero-emission include investments in solutions beyond their normal operations and the application of techniques such as carbon capture sequestration for the neutralisation of residual emissions.

Digital Transformation


Yahya Mahmoud Matt Regan

Yahya Mahmoud

Matt Regan
formerly GEOLOG


This session will consider the myriad forms and increasing pace with which Digital Transformation of the O&G industry is taking place, from using bespoke data-driven tools to address niche challenges through to fundamental philosophical changes at an organisational level. Technologies and methodologies from other industries are now routinely applied to the measurement and control of practically all E&P processes. Sensorisation and IoT, coupled with accessible and seamless global connectivity, enable efficiency improvements and risk reduction from passive remote monitoring towards full automation, along an individual wellbore and across entire assets. Data is no longer a luxury but an essential. Acquisition of data is no longer a value proposition but a commodity. Assimilation and processing at scale is no longer the exception but the expectation. The differentiating and game-changing manner in which that data is quality-assured, processed, analysed, and consistently delivered as predictive, actionable insight is where business transformation truly occurs.

New Trends in Geoscience and Exploration


Qasem Al Kayoumi Lamia Rouis
Qasem Al Kayoumi
Lamia Rouis 
Dragon Oil


As the demand and search for hydrocarbon resources continue, so does an ever-increasing reliance on knowledge and advanced technologies. This panel session will focus on state-of-the-art regional studies, high-quality data acquisition, to advanced technologies for interpretation, reservoir characterisation, 3D modelling, prospect maturation, and portfolio management. The panel will highlight how we can improve our understanding of petroleum systems to support the identification of high-quality prospective resources and ensure a higher rate of commercial discoveries in a challenging economic climate.

This technical panel will have industry leaders address some of these challenges and offer their experience and more, on how to tackle the above-mentioned issues as well as other challenges. The panel will allow industry professionals to discuss and challenge the presented ideas, in order to open the door to recent and new techniques that are perhaps not widely used, ranging from electromagnetics, stratigraphic modelling to artificial intelligence workflows, big data, and machine learning for exploration and geoscience.  

Academia in a Digital Environment


Dhafer Al Shehri Mohammed Badri
Dhafer Al Shehri
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals
Mohammed Badri
MAB Energy Consultancy


The Digital Era is characterised by technologies that increase the speed and extent of knowledge turnover within society. Digital technologies have transformed almost every sector of the industry. This revolutionary leap brings unique challenges. New opportunities have emerged in technology development and producing the next generation of graduates who can provide maximum benefit to society while maintaining focus on the environment and safety.

New paradigms of teaching have been developed by universities using a combination of experts, both locally and globally. Similar approaches have been used to enhance research collaboration models. Universities have modified and developed an advanced curriculum of their programmes to align their focus with both industry trends and digital transformation. Distance learning and virtual education have helped students to stay engaged with their institutions. In this panel, we will focus on the transformation that occurred in academia and get perspective from the industry.

Innovative Implementations of Technology (Unconventional Technology)


Khairul Arifin Dolah Anupam Tiwari
Khairul Arifin Dolah  
PETRONAS Carigali Sdn Bhd

Anupam Tiwari


The oil and gas industry is yet to recover from an unprecedented twin shock: a global pandemic and low oil prices. Most major oil and gas companies were left with no choice but to rationalise capital investment, optimise operating costs, and re-evaluate business strategies to ensure the sustainability of the company's bottom line.

The industry needs to revisit its way of thinking, adopt new ways of doing things, and improvise technology unconventionally to increase oil and gas production while keeping operating cost at an optimum level.

This technical session will provide a platform to industry leaders and professionals to share best practices and lessons learnt where a lot of simple and creative solutions, improved methodologies, and adoption of new solutions have been implemented and planned to increase efficiency and productivity in the following areas:

  • Drilling and Well Workover
  • Production Optimisation and Technologies
  • Reservoir Development and Field Management
  • Surface/Facilities Optimisation