Departing Comfort Zone to Limitless Opportunities: An Interview with Denisse Abudinén CEO ENAP Sipetrol and General Manager ENAP Sipetrol Egypt Branch

Departing Comfort Zone to Limitless Opportunities: An Interview with Denisse Abudinén CEO ENAP Sipetrol and General Manager ENAP Sipetrol Egypt Branch

How far did the Egyptian market meet the ambitions of Enap Sipetrol?

ENAP Board and its Management established in its strategic plan the definition of growing its operations and investments in Egypt besides our operations in the Western Desert in East Ras Qattara Concession. This is of course due to the excellent success that our branch has achieved during the past years and the great economic and institutional stability that Egypt provides for foreign investments   in the country.

In addition to the favourable economic environment to expand our operations in the country, the Oil & Gas industry in Egypt offers very favorable fiscal conditions and a very active context full of business opportunities with excellent cooperation between the Governmental Institutions and Oil & Gas companies.

We are looking forward to increase cooperation between Egypt and Chile, emphasizing the two nations’ historically solid relations, since diplomatic contact and cooperation date back 90 years. As a result, we wish  to be part of these deep-rooted relations between the two countries.

Based on all these great economic conditions, the good relations between Egypt and Chile and the 24 years of ENAP Sipetrol’s successful journey in the country, we intend to continue growing our branch.

Moreover, ENAP is eager also to contribute to the industry in different ways, such as the energy transition. As ENAP, we are developing studies to install Green Hydrogen production plants in Chile in collaboration with other partners. We also developed the first Geothermal Plant in the country as well as the first Wind Plant in Magallanes Region. We will be delighted to share our knowledge on Green Hydrogen projects with Egypt.

Could you highlight some of your company’s recent activities in Egypt?

ENAP Sipetrol Egypt had a fantastic year in 2021 in East Ras Qattara Concession, as we resumed drilling activities in Q3-2021 following a Brent price hike, increasing output production from 8,000 to 12,000 BOPD.

We have already completed the first phase of the gas power generation project in East Ras Qattara Concession and succeeded to generate +/- 20% of the required power consumption for our fields by gas, and in 2022 ENAP Sipetrol is targeting to increase such ratio to reach 80%, which will have a very good impact on the environment and will maximize the value of the asset by significantly reducing the lifting cost.

We were also awarded a new concession in the last EGPC bid round, which is an excellent base for growing our portfolio in the country.

On the other hand, we just signed an MOU with the Ministry of Petroleum to support the training for young professionals in the industry.

Enap Sipetrol has just been awarded the West Amer Block in the Gulf of Suez. What is the plan of your company for this block?

This award is an important achievement for the company, which allows us to strengthen our exploration portfolio in Egypt, a country in which we have had very successful history. West Amer block is located on the onshore central Gulf of Suez and this new block will allow us to increase our reserves.

This award reaffirms our commitment to pursue high-quality opportunities in the country. We look forward to work with the government and deploy our proven expertise and advanced technology. ENAP Sipetrol will operate the block and hold 100% interest. Operations, including acquisition of seismic data, are scheduled to begin in 2023.

Do you have any other plans for Egypt during the upcoming period?

One of our top priorities for the Egypt branch is to maximize the value of our assets. For this purpose, a consolidated plan has been defined. For the East Ras Qattara concession, we will continue with our drilling program during 2022 to raise our production and reserves. Based on the last 3D seismic acquisition, we are also studying new exploration targets that will allow us to increase the potential of  the block. At the same time, we will continue implementing our high operational efficiency plan. All of that will allow us to escalate East Ras Qattara’s prospective as well as its value.

Regarding our new block, West Amer, we already started to plan the exploration activities for having the highest quality definition 3D seismic acquisition.

As ENAP Sipetrol, we will continue growing our Egypt branch in the coming years. For this objective, we will keep looking for new business opportunities in the country that fit with our strategy.

Could you elaborate if there is any plan for Enap Sipetrol to expand its business in other markets?

Currently, in addition to our branch in Egypt, ENAP Sipetrol has operations in Ecuador and Argentina with a daily production of 37,000 Boe. ENAP strategic plan has the main objective of growing our operations in Egypt and Ecuador, optimizing our assets in Argentina.

Based on that, we want to expand our activities in Ecuador since this has been a country where ENAP Sipetrol has had very good results during the 19 years of our operations there. We have three blocks in Ecuador with a daily production of 24,000 Bbls and an average annual investment of 80 million dollars. We are analyzing new assets in the country where we expect to grow our operations in the coming 2 years.

Regarding Argentina, we have two blocks with a daily production of 13,000 Boe. Due to the unstable economic situation in the country, we have been focusing our strategy on improving the performance of our assets, increasing the current production and optimizing the costs. Accordingly, we have reached very good economical results during 2021.

As ENAP Sipetrol we are always looking for more opportunities and we are open to exploring new markets that fit our strategy.

Could you share with us glimpses of your career journey and important lessons that made a difference for you?

I graduated as Civil Industrial Engineer from Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile and I have an MSc Business and Competitive  Strategy  from  the same university.  I also studied an MSc International Management at the University of London – Kings´  College London.

In 2007, I joined ENAP as Planning Engineer at the Planning and Control Management. Then I held different positions, such as E&P Planning and Commercial Manager, Head of ENAP Corporate Strategy and Business Development as well as Corporate Manager of Exploration & Production Business Line (E&P). I also worked in the consultancy industry, as a Senior Client Development Advisor at McKinsey and Company developing the Latin America Energy Hub based in Mexico, which was a very enriching experience.

Currently, I am the CEO of ENAP Sipetrol and General Manager of ENAP Sipetrol Egypt branch and I am also in charge of the ENAP operations in Ecuador and Argentina.

In parallel, I am the co-founder of a non-profit organization that aims to provide food to the poorest people in Chile and we also trained entrepreneur women that had limited financial resources.

I have had several lessons learned, but if I have to choose the most important ones, I will start with getting out of my comfort zone. Being able to take risks, starting a new job, moving to a new country, and having new experiences that push you to leave your comfort zone and will allow you to grow significantly. This will broaden your world and your perception of it, making you more resilient and adaptable to new challenges.

The second lesson I learned, it is never to give up. Many times, I faced different barriers to reaching both my personal and professional goals. Nevertheless, if you keep working for your dreams and never give up, sooner or later these will become a reality.

As a successful working woman in the energy sector, can you give short tips for women on how to develop themselves?

In addition to my learned lessons that I just mentioned, I would like to highlight two important characteristics that have helped me to develop myself:

  • Being a team member – not a female team member: I take the challenge of being sometimes the only woman in the team and the youngest one on the board as something positive. Inclusion and diversity are not just a nice statement at Enap, but it exists on a daily basis. At Enap, everyone contributes equally as a team member.
  • You can reach the top: your hard work pays off, you will be judged on your ideas, your dedication, and your talent, not for your chromosomes. A gender-balanced industry is a better industry. Not just for women, but for all of us. So, you never have to give up on pursuing your dreams.

After you are being recognized as one of the Best 20 Chilean Women Executives in 2021, what is the significance of such honoring and what is your advice for women to reach leading positions?

The “Best 20 Chilean Executives Women in 2021” recognition was due to my contribution in the executive positions. For ENAP this is a very important recognition highlighting the important role of our executives inside the company and the impact in the countries where ENAP has operations. This recognition has taken place in Chile for the past 20 years, nominating the most important women in the country from different roles: executives, academics, businesswomen, public service, and social service, by choosing the most successful 20 women from every sector.

I can give the following pieces of advice for women that want to reach leading positions:

  • Your learning trip never ends: you have to be always open to learning. Life always has something to teach us and we need to take the lessons learned from every situation and experience.
  • Do not allow the voice of your fears be louder than the voice of your heart: Make sure the voice of your heart, your beliefs and the voice of your guts are always stronger than the voice of your fears.
  • You never really lose until you stop trying: never give up on your dreams. You need to fight until the end. If you never try, you never know until what level you could reach.
  • You get more by giving more: success does not result from how much you get but from how much you give. If you want an abundant life, give as much as you can. Use your high position to help others, not for helping yourself.
  • Make sure that you really want to go that extra mile to become a leader: It  takes hard work, time, tenacity, and sometimes trade-offs and compromises with personal life, but the reward will be always worthy.

On the occasion of Women in Energy Day, how does Enap Sipetrol take care of its women? Could you explain if you have any other activities to support women in the energy sector?

In ENAP, we strongly believe in Equal Employment Opportunity. For example, 30% of ENAP’s Board of directors are women and 50% of its C-Level positions. Accordingly, ENAP has assumed the commitment to promote a culture of Diversity and Inclusion, rejecting discriminatory acts and favoring respectful treatment in all our operations. To that purpose, the entire organization has been supplied with a Policy on Gender Equality and Reconciliation of Work, Family, and Personal Life since 2018.

This regulation, which applies to all business units, aims to eliminate all types of discrimination between men and women, incorporate equal opportunities and gender equity in people management processes, facilitate reconciling work, family and personal life and promote measures to prevent, detect and punish gender-based violence.

Due to all of these initiatives regarding to Women’s Empowerment, ENAP and ENAP Sipetrol have obtained several times the Impulsa Female Talent Award. The objective of this award, created in 2016, is to identify and highlight those companies that, in their field, promote women and the development of female talent. Among the reasons for the distinction obtained by ENAP, its Gender Equity and Family Life Reconciliation Policy stands out, as well as the leading role played by women on its Board of Directors and in senior management positions.

We are also promoting the incorporation of women in all our technical departments, since these areas have been mainly dominated by males.

You are assigned as Enap Sipetrol’ CEO in June 2021, what are your targets for your company in your new capacity?

The main target that I have is to fulfill our ENAP strategic plan by growing our branches in Egypt and Ecuador. The objective behind that is to guarantee a sustainable replacement of reserves with a significant cash generation. For that purpose, We are putting forth a lot of effort toward that end.. We already succeed to be awarded West Amer block in the last EGPC bidding round, but we want to continue increasing our reserves in the country. In the same way, we are analyzing different opportunities to add new blocks in Ecuador.

Although growing our branches is an important target, maximizing our current assets is another key objective for all our ENAP Sipetrol operations. For that purpose, we are executing different plans that allow us to increase the value of our assets.

But for us, as ENAP, carry out our operation in a safety way complying all the environmental requirements is a must. We are just moving from a period where the focus was the COVID pandemic, when the main objective was to keep the health of our employees and contractors. In the same way, we cannot forget that we need to guarantee that they have to return home safely. In that regard, we continue strengthening all our safety and environmental standards in our operations.

And my other important target is to develop the people and talents inside the organization. By growing our branches, we will grow our people, and for that reason, we need to focus on developing their capabilities in a gender-balanced environment of opportunities.


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