By Mariana Somensi

Baker Hughes, a General Electric company (BHGE), is the world’s first and only fullstream provider of integrated products, services, and digital solutions for the oil and gas sector. The company is based in over 120 countries and has over 100 years of successful operations in Egypt.

Besides being part of the country’s most prominent petroleum projects, BHGE recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Petroleum to launch the “Upstream Gateway Project”, an initiative of the ministry’s Modernization Program. Mirna Arif, Regional Sales Director at BGHE, spoke to Egypt Oil & Gas and commented on the company’s innovative role in the industry, as well as on BHGE’s latest activities in Egypt.

As the first fullstream digital industrial oil and gas company, how does BHGE Digitalization assist in the sector’s transformation?

BHGE has always been a key partner to Egypt’s oil and gas sector. Our presence dates back to the early 1900s, when we were part of the country’s first oil discovery. Egypt holds some of the world’s largest oil discoveries and, as the world’s only fullstream company, we have a major role to play with digitization as a key enabler.

BHGE is leading the digital transformation of the oil and gas industry, bringing the latest in technological innovation and providing our customers with more ways to maximize their efficiency, increase up-time, and optimize their production across the entire value chain. We are bringing together the full power of digital solutions and technology from across BHGE’s fullstream industrial businesses to transform the petroleum sector, making it more agile, more adaptive, and highly collaborative – all of which are key elements to maintaining the sector’s competitiveness and attractiveness.

The recent downturn and the disruptive approaches brought along are redefining the shape of our industry. Companies today are striving for ways to get connected in order to optimize their operations. By digitizing operations, our customers in the oil and gas sector can benefit with significant cost savings, increased maintenance efficiency and effectiveness, avoiding unplanned downtime, and maximizing equipment availability and production throughput, all while reducing operational risks and improving safety.

How do these technologies optimize operations and reduce costs?

BHGE has always been a big believer in the power of data and analytics and their capability to transform our industry. As a digital industrial company, we have many solutions that help drive efficiencies, productivity and better customer outcomes.

Predix, GE’s platform for the Industrial Internet, is the foundation on which we build all our technology, leveraging the scale, security, predictive analytics engines, and digital twins that make an agile, adaptive and connected digital oil and gas industry possible.  Optimizing increasingly complex oil and gas operations is more crucial than ever. Every asset, person, process, and system in business generates significant amounts of data. The key to converting this information into actionable insights lies in digitalization and making data work for our customers.

With enterprise oil and gas software from BHGE, purpose built on GE’s Predix and Asset Performance Management (APM), our customers achieve a step change in fullstream productivity across assets, people, processes, and systems. By removing silos and connecting data, insights, and self-learning models across operations, they eventually increase capital efficiency and profitability, decrease marginal costs, and better manage their resources.

Only BHGE has a fullstream capability, the portfolio, the technology, and the people to radically transform the oil and gas industry and deliver unparalleled improvement in industrial yield for our customers from reservoir to refinery.

BHGE recently signed a MoU with Egypt’s Ministry of Petroleum. Could you comment on the company’s role under the agreement?

We are very proud of our partnership with the Ministry of Petroleum in Egypt for the “Upstream Gateway Project.” The MoU focuses on driving efficiency across Egypt’s oil and gas sector through the management of bid rounds using BHGE’s advanced digital solutions for data consolidation and aggregation in a secure central data lake. The digital transformation of the ministry’s National Data Center will further support the energy sector’s growth and attractiveness to international investors. This MoU marks our continued support of the ministry’s Modernization Program. On the longer term, the project has scalability to support the modernization and digitization of Egypt’s midstream and downstream oil and gas sector, leveraging BHGE’s fullstream capabilities and solutions to drive further productivity and cost-efficiency across the value chain.

How do BHGE advanced digital technologies help the Ministry achieve the goals of its Modernization Program?

Egypt’s oil and gas sector is going through a transformational era enabled by the Modernization Program, which is setting a clear path for our country to confidently compete in the global oil and gas market. This ambitious program, under the auspices, direction, and guidance of the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, H.E Eng. Tarek El Molla, is looking at various innovative solutions to address the challenges that the sector has witnessed over the past few years. The program is a key enabler to drive better outcomes for the industry as it looks at processes across the entire value chain, with a dedicated focus to Egypt’s prime resource: its human capital.

BHGE is working very closely with the various modernization teams, supporting the sector’s digital transformation strategy not only in upstream, but also in midstream, downstream, and petrochemicals, leveraging BHGE’s fullstream capabilities, advanced artificial intelligence, fit for purpose predictive analytics to drive further productivity and cost efficiency across the entire value chain.

Through a single pane of glass, our fullstream digital technology is connecting all elements of the various organizations, providing one platform, one system, one user interface across the entire value chain: from upstream, to midstream, to downstream onto the consumer. We are providing a true convergence of operations, process ecosystems, people, and systems from field development planning through to optimizing production, reducing risk and driving downstream throughput and efficiency.

With BHGE being Egypt’s partner since the beginning of the 20th century, what are the company’s main projects in the country?

BHGE is a long-standing partner to Egypt for 100+ years of successful operations. We have more than 600 employees in the country and continue to increase our local capabilities through our engagement in large-scale projects that are driving further local impact. BHGE has proudly drilled the seven wells of Shorouk Field, of the giant gas discovery Zohr, with the latest Logging While Drilling technologies.  BHGE technology will also be used to drill another major gas project in Egypt, NIDOCO Wells, located in Delta, which will help enhancing the overall gas production in Egypt.

Most recently, BHGE was awarded a major contract for subsea oilfield equipment for the development of phase 2 of the giant Zohr gas field offshore Egypt. BHGE will provide project management, engineering procurement, fabrication, construction, testing, and transportation of a subsea production system.

BHGE is helping drive localization in the country in partnership with key local players in the market. For instance, we are partnering with Petroleum Projects & Technical Consultations Company (Petrojet) to locally manufacture its API certified sucker rod pumping units. The units have been fabricated and assembled in Petrojet’s workshop in Idku, Alexandria. In 2018, BHGE has extended its partnership with Petrojet by signing a close to EGP 1 billion contract to provide manufacturing and fabrication services for BHGE’s upstream oil and gas operations in Egypt, including the fabrication, construction, and testing of heavy-duty structures and components for BHGE’s subsea production.

We have an extended relationship with Egypt. We are committed to continue working with the ministry, our customers, and partners to help them achieve their vision and goals for the region.

In your opinion, what aspects of the Egyptian petroleum sector still need to be improved and how?

One of the key improvements of how the industry can operate better is the integration of the overall operational processes across the entire value chain. This is exactly what the Modernization Program is aiming to achieve; driving and optimizing the overall efficiency of Egypt’s oil and gas sector.  The various pillars of the program address various areas of the sector, such as upstream and downstream optimization, digital transformation, investment attraction, but, above all, human capital development, hence driving the sustainability and continuity of the sector. Collaboration is also a key enabler of productivity. With data at the heart of decision-making and interdependencies connected and shared across the entire value chain, productivity improvement across the sector’s companies is guaranteed. Finally, ensuring a predictable and attractive investment climate would help attract significant foreign direct investment and better utilize Egypt’s oil and gas resources.