The North Africa Technical Conference and Exhibition (NATC) took place on April 15th-19th in Cairo. The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) hosted the event with the help of sponsors such as Baker Hughes, Total, Schlumberger and Shell.

SPE is the largest individual-member organization, serving professionals worldwide in the upstream segment of the oil and gas industry. The non-for profit association serves more than 104,000 members in 123 countries worldwide. Their mission is to “collect, disseminate, and exchange technical knowledge concerning the exploration, development and production of oil and gas resources, and related technologies of the public benefit; and to provide opportunities for professions to enhance their technical and professional competence”.

The conference had 340 delegates and 850 total attendees, from 150 companies and 28 countries.  The NATC conference was held under the patronage of the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Egypt.  The Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Eng. Osama Kamal, presided over the Opening Ceremony and officially opened the conference and exhibition.

The Opening Ceremony included keynote speeches from Sherif Hadara, CEO of EGPC and Conference Chairman and Waleed Refaay, Managing Director of SPE Middle East, North Africa, and India, and Minister Osama Kamal. Hadara said “We will no doubt need to use events like this to exchange information and to make sure we use the latest technology to extract the oil and gas from our current assets, improve our processes in finding more and optimizing the use of our refining, manufacturing capabilities and distribution information systems.  Egypt has a growing market for energy, and has the right expertise that can, with our efforts to improve production, increase reserves.”

Refaay added, “SPE has continued to fulfill its mission of disseminating technical knowledge and has supported Egypt and the North African region throughout the years. There is much appeal in an event that focuses on current technological challenges in this important part of the world; an event that provides innovative solutions to overcome industry challenges. Today, I am glad to see NATC is one of the most highly regarded technical conferences in the region.”
The first day of the conference featured an executive plenary session with prominent speakers such as Antony Beck, Middle East and Africa General Manager, Lufkin; Jean-Daniel Blasco, Vice President North Africa, TOTAL, Sherif Hadara, and Sudhir Vasudeva, Chairman and Managing Director, ONGC, India. The following two days were filled with four panel sessions, numerous technical sessions, poster presentations, and an exhibition, all addressing a wide range of issues of interest to the North African oil and gas industry.

The conference included four major panel sessions. One of the most anticipated panel sessions was “Business Outlook- Eastern Mediterranean” chaired by Samir Abdelmoaty of BP Egypt and Nick Beeson of Baker Hughes. This session was not only an opportunity to share knowledge and challenges about working in the region, but was also an opportunity to find potential customers, partners and service providers. 

The conference also contained a Technical Program that had 23 technical sessions on everything from “Well Integrity” chaired by Gamal Gouda of ENI and Joachim Oppelt of Baker Hughes, to “Reservoir Management” chaired by Abdallah Bekhiet Badr of Agiba Petroleum Company and Salah Kamal of Scimitar, to “Human Resources and Economics” chaired by Heba Megahed of Shell and Luca Bertoldi of Dana Gas. Each of these 23 sessions were further broken down into time blocks that contained over 70 different discussion topics.

The event also included student activities involving career development presentations, discussions on “tough topics”and industry-relevant presentations. In addition to professional development and industry information, SPE also dedicates more than one million dollars to support education. They provide scholarships and fellowships to both undergraduate and graduate students pursing degrees in degrees related to the oil and gas industry.

With over 30 exhibitors and 850 attendees the conference was a place to share knowledge and to network. Some of the biggest exhibitors included Weatherford, Schlumberger, Enppi, Total, Gasco, and Petrojet.

By: Tatianna Duran