Halliburton recently hosted the 2013 Technology Forum at the Cairo JW Marriott.  Titled ”Shale Plays: Discovering the Opportunities in Egypt,” the event brought governmental officials and industry executives together in order to discuss the potential of shale exploration in Egypt. The event, organized by Halliburton, was held in collaboration with the Ministry of Petroleum and EGPC.

During the opening session, Eng. Hesham Ismail, VP of North Africa Halliburton, gave the opening talk where he welcomed the attendees and emphasized the importance of the collaboration and the support of the Ministry and EGPC. Eng. Tarek El Barkatawy, Chairman of EGPC, emphasized in his talk the importance of embracing new technologies to increase domestic production in Egypt and the importance of shale plays to close the gap.

Dr. Moustafa Oraby’s talk highlighted how estimates of shale gas reserves in Egypt went from being considered “negligible” to reaching “more than 500 TCF.” Dr. Oraby discussed in his talk why some consulting firms mistakenly concluded that Egypt has no potential in shale gas plays. Dr. Oraby explained that Egypt has tremendous potential of such reserves. He supported his talk with data from Egypt’s fields and the most recent report by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) published on May 17th 2013.

Dr. Ahmed Fattah, Deputy CEO for Exploration at EGPC also spoke, comprehensively summarizing Egypt’s current position on the development of shale prospects.
The conference comes amidst increased efforts on behalf of the Ministry of Petroleum to assess the viability of unconventional resources in Egypt. The ministry recently formed a committee on unconventional resources comprised of experts from the Ministry, EGPC and Halliburton. This committee sought Halliburton’s expertise to conduct preliminary research in an effort to evaluate the potential of shale gas in Egypt.

Halliburton’s expertise in the realm of unconventional resources, particularly shale gas, was prominently displayed throughout the event. While unconventional oil and gas resources are a relatively new concept in Egypt, the global market for unconventional resources started to gain momentum nearly a decade ago. It became clear early in the 2013 Technology Forum that Halliburton has invested considerably over the last decade to develop technologies designed to contend with various aspects of unconventional exploration, and particularly technologies related to shale gas. In addition to its technological prowess, Halliburton boasts a wealth of unconventional and shale experience with successful endeavors around the world.  Throughout the conference numerous speakers relayed Halliburton’s experience, technology, and customized service portfolio to explore the potential of shale gas in Egypt.

In the following sessions, Dr. Moustafa Oraby, North African Technology Manager for Halliburton, discussed the various methods of identifying shale gas plays. He expressed optimism for the potential of shale gas in North Africa strongly noting that the geology of the region is conducive to the discovery of shale gas. Dr. Oraby highlighted the dynamic nature of shale plays, empathizing that the unique composition and challenging location of shale gas often adds to the complexity of discovery.

Dr. Larry Chorn also spoke concerning the economic and investment aspects surrounding shale gas. Dr. Chorn emphasized the necessity of strategic decision-making given the technical and economic complexity, as well as the uncertainty involved in shale plays. Dr. Chorn relayed a variety of specific optimization strategies for productive exploration, extraction, and development.

The forum contained a heavy technical component with presentations from several Halliburton experts. Mr. Ron Dirksen, Global Well Placement Solution Champion, explored the complexity of drilling for shale gas and presented a variety of technical strategies to best locate shale plays. Mr. Marcello Venturino also conducted a presentation highlighting the unique challenge of cementing shale gas wells.

The conference provided a unique opportunity for both government officials and corporate executives to comprehensively engage in a dialogue concerning the variety of economic and technical issues surrounding the exploration of shale gas in Egypt.