SEG leadership tours Middle East
In January, SEG leadership toured the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and familiarized themselves with our Middle East Office and constituents. SEG President Don Steeples and SEG Executive Director Steven Davis spent over one week in the Middle East, visiting Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar. The trip culminated in their attending the International Petroleum Technology Conference (IPTC) held 19–22 January in Qatar.
The first stop on their tour was Saudi Arabia where they attended a dinner meeting hosted by Dhahran Geoscience Society (DGS). The dinner meeting, which was for both Steeples and AAPG President Lee Krystinik, was attended by more than 180 DGS members representing Saudi Aramco, Schlumberger, ARGAS, CGG, Saudi Makamin, Halliburton, Weatherford, and other companies based in Saudi Arabia. The next day, Steeples, Davis, and Middle East Regional Manager Yogaani Bhatia visited the Shaybah Oil Field – a Saudi Aramco production oil field with more than 19 billion barrels in reserves. "What was intriguing for us was how they have set up this production facility in the vast desert over 600 kms away from civilization," said Bhatia.
A visit to Saudi Aramco's state-of-the-art training facilities, UPDC, including their Geosteering Centre, was on tap for the leadership 14 January. UPDC is Saudi Aramco's mini-university that offers professional development programs to young professionals and experienced professionals, along with emphasizing soft skills. UPDC has also developed its own software packages to enhance the learning experience for students. After touring the facility, the group visited the Saudi Aramco Heritage area.
"Saudi Aramco has a pretty amazing history and focus on the people and the environment, and has a long history of bringing women into the workforce and being catalysts for change in Saudi Arabia," Bhatia said. "They have had a continuous emphasis on education. During the Gulf War, they took the lead in oil spill recovery." The final stop on the day's activities was at the Saudi Heritage village, where they experienced living the culture of the country and sampling local cuisine.
After Saudi Arabia, the group headed to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). On 15 January, the Emirates Geosciences Society (ESG) hosted a dinner meeting for Steeples and Krystinik, and the meeting was attended by more than 100 geoscience members from the UAE, including representatives from ADNOC, ADMA, ADCO, ZADCO, Schlumberger, CGG, and other UAE-based companies.
The next day, ADNOC management hosted a meeting with SEG leadership to discuss the future of geoscience and share their vision. Following the meeting, the group headed to the Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi where they toured the facilities, dined with female students, and enjoyed a presentation by the geoscience department on its current research projects. A highlight for Steeples was reuniting with Julie Retrum, a professor at the Petroleum Institute, who was his teaching assistant while earning her PhD in Geology at the University of Kansas (KU). The group completed the UAE leg of their trip with a visit to the SEG Middle East office in Dubai.
The last stop on their Middle East tour was Qatar. On 18 January, they attended a meeting with the SEG Middle East Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee consists of Ahmad Eidan (KOC), Said Mahrooqi (PDO), Mohammed Badri (Schlumberger), Rob Ross (Qatar Petroleum), Hiroshi Hagiwara (ADNOC,) Abdulla Al Shateri (ADNOC), Daniel Van Hulle (CGG), and Dr. Hatem Ewida (BP). "This committee plays the key role to structure and plan SEG ME activities and have played a prominent role in our effectiveness to-date," Bhatia said. During this meeting, Steeples presented a small token of appreciation to all members in attendance. The final event on the itinerary was attending the IPTC in Doha.
"With its growing membership base and interest from both national oil companies and universities, the Middle East region and Middle East office have become valuable assets and resources to SEG," said Steeples. "SEG will continue its dedication to cultivating its programs and offerings in the Middle East region."