To address the global wave of technology and digitization, Schlumberger convened its SIS Special Event in Cairo, in line with the SIS Global Forum 2019, to showcase its advanced digital solutions for oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) activities. The event, entitled ‘Delivering Digital,’ was held on December 2, 2019 at JW Marriott Hotel and introduced the DELFI* cognitive E&P environment.

A record number of guests attended, including the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC); the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS); and Ganoub El Wadi Petroleum Holding Company (GANOPE). Karim Badawi, managing director-Egypt and East Mediterranean at Schlumberger, used his keynote welcoming speech to emphasize the importance of digitalization and its role in creating better, more efficient solutions for E&P in Egypt and worldwide. Looking at the technological level reached in the oil and gas sector, Badawi said, “We realize that we are moving from a physical domain to digital domain and how we bridge the gap between them.”

Furthermore, Badawi expressed a view on the future of Egypt, saying “From where we are proudly standing today, we all can see that the future is very bright,” explaining that the E&P achievements occurring in many Egyptian regions, such as the Western Desert, Gulf of Suez, Mediterranean Sea, and Red Sea play a leading role in attracting major investors to Egypt’s oil and gas sector. Under the umbrella of the Modernization Project, Badawi added, “We can now think how to take Egypt to the next level.”

Moreover, Badawi highlighted that “We are very proud of working together with the Ministry of Petroleum, EGPC, EGAS, GANOPE, and our collaborators and customers operating in Egypt,” pointing out that “the topic of digitalization is really exciting for everyone.”

Badawi also emphasized the ministry’s participation in the Cairo International Exhibition and Conference on Telecommunication and Information Technology (Cairo ICT 2019), which he said is, “A big sign of the role that digitalization plays in the oil and gas sector for [a better] future.”

Concluding his speech, Badawi expressed that Schlumberger is proud to work with the ministry in indulging digitalization more often in the sector, enabling more discoveries and better production levels.

The DELFI Environment Overview:

A presentation entitled ‘Digital Vision’ was introduced by Bassel Abdelwahab, vice president operations-eastern hemisphere, Schlumberger Software Integrated Solutions, explained the DELFI cognitive E&P environment, a Schlumberger technology which supports the oil and gas sector’s digital transformation. Abdelwahab clarified that “Schlumberger leads the way in digital technology for E&P,” highlighting that “in Monaco, in September 2019, we showed a clear vision for digital transformation in the industry, powered by openness and the DELFI environment.”

Abdelwahab described the DELFI environment as “A secure, scalable, cloud-based environment that serves as the data ecosystem for the industry, where each customer can have their own universe of data and workflows.”

The first implementation of the DELFI environment in the market was in 2017, followed by several other successful projects and implementations, according to Abdelwahab. Consequently he said, “We managed to reduce the size of interpretation time from 13 months to 2½ months. We reduced well intervention workflow planning time by 80% and In field development planning, we were able to evaluate fourteen times the number of scenarios three times faster, dropping simulation of some mega-size models from 120 days to around three days.” In addition, Abdelwahab pointed out the wide footprint of the DELFI environment; it has succeeded to include around 100 worldwide customers—and one of them is in Egypt.

With an eye on data security, Abdelwahab affirmed that “The DELFI environment is secure. On our customer’s behalf, Schlumberger focuses a unprecedented levels of attention on data security. We established a 24/7 cybersecurity center in Houston to ensure that we are protected against any attacks from outside.”

Moreover, Abdelwahab noted that the DELFI environment is cognitive, which means that “It combines the best of human and computer. It supports domain experts in understanding, learning, and digestion of data with the machine power to give the best results.” He said, adding, “The DELFI environment is personalized, delivering a full dataset to domain experts, tailormade to their own perspective.”

Abdelwahab further explained the DELFI environment’s main components. The first one is to liberate, which means liberating data and the use of other data sources. “Today with the DELFI environment, we can support 270 data types, and we can read from more than 150 different data sources,” he said, noting that Schlumberger has contributed the DELFI data ecosystem to the Open Subsurface Data Universe™ (OSDU) Forum; an open source data ecosystem, with many participating E&P companies. The OSDU enables digital collaboration.

The second factor is to connect, not only internally, but also connecting different technologies to obtain the best results.

Digital Readiness

Mark Gibbons, director marketing operations at Schlumberger, delivered a presentation entitled ‘Digital Readiness, What Does it Take?’. He began his discussion emphasizing that Schlumberger collaborates with its customers along every step of their digital journey through the implementation of the DELFI environment and other solutions. “We look at our customers, and we look at how familiar they are with their digital journey,” he noted. Gibbons further explained that some customers do not have enough information about what digitalization is, what it means, and how it impacts the business. Other customers have an idea about what they want to do for their digital transformation, but they do not have a clear road map for implementation. Others try to implement a digitalization strategy and want help in improving their strategies for a better future.

Moreover, Gibbons illustrated that Schlumberger helps its customers meet their digitalization needs through four main services. The first one is Digital Transformation Consulting, which helps customers adopt the steps required for digital transformation.

The second is Digital Innovation Labs, which provides a way for customers to reach out for new technologies to address challenges facing the business while implementing a digital transformation plan. The third is Transition Services, helping customers to understand new technologies and the process needed for digital transformation. The fourth is Operations Services, in which the DELFI environment is implemented for the needed digital change.

In order to have unique expertise in E&P digital enablement, the summation of applied E&P digital technology, E&P domain workflow knowledge, transformation program expertise, digital innovation, and impact acceleration should be acquired. Gibbons noted that the successful implementation of that equation will result in achieving successful business outcomes.

Digital Transformation

The event continued with a presentation entitled ‘Digital Transformation—From Ambition to Action’ by Rizkallah Nicolas Ward, digital consulting engagement manager, Middle East and Africa at Schlumberger. In his presentation, Ward raised a question on whether digitalization is a revolution or an evolution, explaining that digital transformation helps in offering many benefits and values for a business, increasing its return on investment (ROI).

Speaking about the reality of digital transformation, Ward said, “The first point we look at is how we are using our data. Today, only 4–5% of our data is used to generate value. The cloud and big data, according to some studies, are ranked as the two most confusing buzzwords of the decade.” He added that “Only 3% of oil and gas companies have hired a Chief Data Officer (CDO). A CDO is a person who knows about data ecosystem, data governance, and the ownership of data to create value. The last point is that although many executives genuinely think that embarking and embracing the digital journey is essential for survival, and that is very true, 70% of digital transformation fails because of lack of vision and poor management and collaboration.”

Returning back to the evolution versus revolution question, Ward commented that “Societies, organizations, and companies evolve in two ways. First, they evolve by optimization, until a disruptive event takes place,” adding that “the disrupting events we are living today are called artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, but there is a process and transformational aspect to develop in that journey to take the evolution to the next level.” Ward explained that the implementation of AI and machine learning has to occur in a sustainable way in order to ensure it takes an organization to the next level, hence, achieving digital transformation.

Ward continued by asking “Why do we need to achieve that next level of digital transformation? Because it enables the connection of our equipment. Today, only 3–5% of oil and gas equipment is connected. This has an impact of data quality and how we utilize data efficiently to make decisions. So, connecting our data is priority number one.”

Ward clarified that we are moving toward a data-driven world, where “The sum of good quality data, the AI tools, and workflows, are going to create the insights.” These insights help an organization to be digitally transformed, “We scan the organization and we identify areas to start with. Secondly, we develop the adapted digital strategy for your business, and we translate it into a portfolio of projects and investments,” he added.

Additionally, Ward stressed that success in digital transformation requires us to go beyond the technology to set a digital strategy. This raises many questions. The subjects that need to be addressed are:

Why do we need digital transformation?

What are the organization’s priorities, and when can they be executed?

How can we digitally transform?

These questions can help any organization reach its full digital maturity assessment through identifying its priorities, quick wins, and long-term projects.

Ward stated that “Proper digital transformation needs to be sponsored internally and supported externally by the right collaborations and partnerships. Schlumberger has demonstrated over the last 90 years that hiring the best domain expertise achieves success.” Moreover, Ward pointed out some lessons learned from other digital transformation journeys, where underestimating the business scope leads to the wrong decisions and selecting technology that does not achieve the business goals.

Success Stories

Gibbons mentioned some success stories for strategic digital collaboration, in which Schlumberger helped its customers achieve digital transformation and realize success. These customers include OMV, Petro, INPEX Corporation, and BP.

Furthermore, guests at the event asked questions to the presenters related to the DELFI environment and other technologies. In addition, booths at the event provided guests with more information about the DELFI environment and Schlumberger expertise.

Convening such an event demonstrated the deep commitment and continued effort by Schlumberger to accelerate digital transformation in the oil and gas industry.