Pioneering Innovation: an Interview with Amr Abou Eita – ExxonMobil Egypt’s Chairman & Managing Director

Pioneering Innovation: an Interview with Amr Abou Eita – ExxonMobil Egypt’s Chairman & Managing Director

With its long history of contributing to Egypt’s oil and gas industry, ExxonMobil Egypt has been a leading figure in innovation and an important model for understanding how multinational companies in the private sector can be the driving force for the greater good. Our mission to gain a deeper understanding of ExxonMobil’s role in Egypt and around the world led us to have an exclusive interview with ExxonMobil Egypt Chairman and Managing Director Amr Abou Eita. During our interview, we will discuss ExxonMobil’s role in meeting Egypt’s energy needs and supporting various initiatives that will benefit the country as a whole.

ExxonMobil has been working in Egypt for almost 120 years. How would you describe the company’s journey in Egypt throughout the past years?

We are proud of our longstanding history of successful partnership in Egypt’s growth, dating back to 1902 when kerosene was the primary product being supplied. Ever since, we sustained a proven track record in meeting the society’s evolving demand for reliable energy. Our commitment remains to continuously provide high-quality petroleum products and lubrication solutions, around the clock to millions of our valuable customers.

We deploy the most advanced technology with the highest operational standards through our 2 state-of-the-art lubricants blending plants and 4 fuel terminals.

Our growing network of more than 350 Mobil service stations and 200 Mobil 1 and Mobil Auto-care centers across the country supplies motorists with their daily needs. Moreover, we export our premium Mobil products to more than 40 countries around the world, including the US, Asia, Europe, Africa and Middle East; as well as supplying the aviation sector.

Additionally, ExxonMobil Egypt takes pride in being a pioneer in introducing the concept of service stations convenience stores to the Egyptian market; under the well-known brand name of “On the Run” which has proven year after year to be a very successful business model. Today, ExxonMobil Egypt’s convenience retail network has grown to 28 branches of “On the Run” and 16 branches of “The Way to Go” in Cairo and Alexandria, offering quality products in a clean and reliable environment 24/7 to meet consumer needs.

Moreover, ExxonMobil Egypt has been assuming a leading role in supporting the community over the years through initiatives focused on education, capacity building, youth development, and women’s economic empowerment.

We have been proudly cooperating with community partners in implementing sustainable and impactful initiatives across Egypt, including Save the Children, Injaz Egypt, Business Women of Egypt 21, Alexandria Business Association, Misr El-Kheir, Enactus, MECA student initiative, Educate Me, Alwan wa Awtar and many more.

ExxonMobil’s success in Egypt is built on a strong foundation of business principles, core values, and a deeply rooted culture of integrity led by our world-class workforce. Over the years, ExxonMobil Egypt created more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs nationwide.

How does ExxonMobil through its partnership with Egyptian companies support the country’s Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) strategy?

ExxonMobil Egypt continues to proactively seek and explore new promising opportunities in cooperation with the government. Building on the CNG national strategy, ExxonMobil Egypt signed earlier this year two cooperation protocols with GASTEC and CarGas, under the auspices of H.E. Tarek El Molla – Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources. The objective is to avail Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) at a number of Mobil stations nationwide, aiming to meet customers’ evolving demand.

How did ExxonMobil help the Egyptian community during the Covid-19 crisis?

Stemming from our firm commitment to the community, ExxonMobil has joined forces with other O&G companies to plan and implement the Eid Wahda (“One Hand”) initiative in response to the pandemic. Launched under the patronage of H.E. Tarek El Molla -Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, the aim of the initiative was to support the Egyptian medical sector, enabling Misr El Kheir Foundation (MEK) to purchase required medical supplies and materials for the public hospitals. “Eid Wahda” was a solid demonstration of the power of working together as one team in support of our Egyptian community during hardships and challenging times.

Another initiative undertaken by ExxonMobil Egypt was the launch of a Mobil branded COVID19 awareness campaign utilizing haulers’ trucks. ’Messages for COVID-19 precautionary measures were visible on the trucks as they travelled across Egypt’s streets, delivering packed products to our customers.

With respect to the health sector, we strive to provide support whenever possible. For instance, we donated a number of unused beds to university hospitals after the pandemic, including Demerdash, Qasr el Eini, Zahraa and Banha through the Egyptian cure bank, who additionally coordinated in previous years the donation of wheel chairs to various public hospitals and an electrical generator installed in the dialysis unit of Qena Public Hospital.

How was ExxonMobil Egypt able to keep operating during the COVID-19 crisis and its repercussions?

Upon the sudden outbreak of the pandemic, ExxonMobil Egypt’s emergency preparedness and response procedure was triggered, resulting in the immediate activation of an Emergency Support Group (ESG). The ESG led the planning and ensured implementation of firm precautionary measures across all our facilities. We reduced occupancy at our facilities, introduced remote work policies, and a rotation work-schedule to ensure flawless operations.

Moreover, an employee wellness monitoring process was introduced, along with holding virtual employee awareness sessions. A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) was developed to ensure operational continuity, in case the situation at any of our facilities became more challenging.

Conducting regular senior management virtual sessions with the employees was instrumental in boosting morale during these challenging times. As part of the commitment to the wellbeing of our employees and their families, we organized an ExxonMobil Egypt COVID-19 vaccination event with the support of Egypt’s Ministry of Health.

What does it mean to ExxonMobil to be back to Egypt’s upstream sector and what is the plan for exploration activities during the upcoming period?

The evident development and progress in Egypt’s business environment at large and the successful modernization program of oil and gas sector in particular has encouraged ExxonMobil to evaluate potential opportunities for the upstream business in Egypt.

ExxonMobil has recently reaffirmed its vested interest in the upstream business in Egypt and we are actively evaluating and progressing our exploration programs. We truly value our collaboration with the Egyptian government and our objective is to identify anchor development opportunities to create a long-term upstream business in Egypt.

What are the growth plans ExxonMobil has set in the Egyptian Market?

Egypt is an important market with more than 100 million consumers and growing. Consequently, we are planning to expand Mobil service stations network across the country and to launch additional “On the Run” and “Way to Go” convenience retail stores. In addition, we are committed to continuing assuming a leading role in introducing new and advanced lubrication solutions to satisfy society’s evolving needs.

It is not only what we do but also how we do it. For example, our most recent investment in ExxonMobil Egypt’s new head office, located in Cairo Festival City Business District in New Cairo is ‘smart’ in many ways. The enhanced collaborative work environment that we seek shall eventually boost creativity, strengthen our teamwork innovation and accordingly serve our strategic business objectives. We aspire to grow our business even further and evaluate potential business opportunities to guide our investment strategy.

Can you share with us the company’s most innovative initiatives, services, and products?

ExxonMobil Egypt’s success and leadership self-manifest on the ground. For example, our recently launched “Mobilawy” is a leading, innovative lubes and fuels loyalty program that has taken consumers engagement to a new level. Mobilawy is being rapidly embraced by the Egyptian market, and we are proud of being pioneers on this front.

On the lubricants side, we have recently launched the flagship Mobil 1 X1 5W-30 that meets the requirements of API SP, as well as Mobil Multigrade 20W-50 for dual engines (Gasoline and Natural Gas), in addition to Mobil Special 20W-50. Our products are designed to meet or exceed the requirements of the industry’s toughest standards, achieve energy efficiency, and enhance the lifetime of the equipment.

Moreover, capitalizing on Egypt’s Ministry of Petroleum modernization strategy to enhance the quality of fuels offered, ExxonMobil has proudly assumed a leading role in introducing branded fuels in Egypt, namely Mobil Super Plus 95. The first fuel in Egypt with advanced Mobil additives and a special technology designed to clean and protect engines, as well as grant enhanced performance and optimize fuel consumption. Today it has proven to be a game-changer in the market.

Being an innovative business and a pioneer market leader, ExxonMobil Egypt is delighted to collaborate with and support ‘Trella’, a start-up technology platform that connects shippers to carriers. The recently-forged alliance aims to technologically revolutionize the freight industry in Egypt and provide it with advanced solutions. This agreement happens to be the first direct investment for ExxonMobil into a tech start-up in the MENA region. It aligns with the company’s mission to induce a mega digital transformation and empower young striving innovators beyond the energy industry; not to mention supporting the entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Currently, there is a global trend towards low carbon energy transition, what are ExxonMobil’s plans in this space?

Few challenges are more important than meeting the world’s growing demand for energy and products that support modern life, while reducing environmental impacts, including the risks of climate change.  ExxonMobil seeks to be a leader in society’s drive for a lower-carbon future.  Earlier this year we announced our Low Carbon Solutions (LCS) business to commercialize the company’s extensive low-carbon energy portfolio. This separate business unit is focusing on commercializing low-carbon opportunities, including carbon capture and storage (CCS), hydrogen and low-emission fuels, where we can leverage the skills, knowledge, and scale of ExxonMobil. It is initially focusing on CCS and is advancing plans for multiple new CCS opportunities around the world to enable large-scale emission reductions, provided there is sufficient policy and market support to do so.

Let me share a couple of examples from Europe.  In Belgium, ExxonMobil is participating in a multi-stakeholder CCS project at the Port of Antwerp, Europe’s largest integrated energy and chemical cluster. The project, known as Antwerp@C would collect CO2 emissions from industrial sources in the Port for storage, potentially capturing 8 million metric tons of CO2 annually by 2030, a 50 % reduction in the area’s CO2 emissions. In France, Esso SAF has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Air Liquide, Borealis, TotalEnergies and Yara to initiate discussions with a view to implementing an industrial chain for capturing, transporting and storing CO2 emissions from industrial facilities in Normandy. The objective is to reduce industrial CO2 emissions in that region by up to 3 million metric tons per year by 2030.

During EGYPS, ExxonMobil promoted the Youth Empowerment Program to attract high school students to the oil and gas sector. How can the industry develop a new generation of young professionals?

One of our core values at ExxonMobil Egypt is to support and encourage Egyptian youth as they prepare to embark on their career journey. This is the main reason why ExxonMobil Egypt has been the Headline Sponsor of EGYPS Youth Engagement & Young Professional Program “YEP” since its inception. We look forward to continue embracing this program as the Headline Sponsor for the 5th consecutive year in the upcoming EGYPS 2022.

Furthermore, the American Chamber of Commerce O&G committee, which I proudly chair, is working closely with Egypt’s Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources (MoP) on its Capacity Building Program. The committee along with the American Chamber of Commerce’s Career Development Center (AmCham – CDC) and MoP have designed a training program aiming to take the sector’s middle management through a competency development journey covering several domains. The program includes topics such as change management, strategy, leadership, business modelling, as well as project presentation and assessment.

Finally, employees are the core engine for the major companies, how does ExxonMobil empower its employees especially women and youth?

This is a topic that is very dear to my heart as a proud father of two young ladies.

In ExxonMobil Egypt, our most valuable asset is without a doubt our exceptional workforce, some of the best talents in Egypt and the world and they have always been instrumental to our success. We embrace talents with a long-term career focus, encourage a strong culture of performance, and recognize experience. Along the years, many of our Egyptian calibers served on expatriation assignments across the globe.

Moreover, our global talent management actively fosters a productive and sustainable work environment, diversity and inclusion, and practices empowerment in so many ways, with special attention to striving female calibers of whom we take great pride. For example, in 2019 the number of ExxonMobil’s female executives increased by 69%. Additionally, our employee-led resource groups assist in delivering our talent management objectives, including a dedicated initiative for women empowerment called “Women’s Interest Network” (WIN). WIN leverage work settings to maximize the professional advancement and personal growth of women and gives our female population a fair chance to realize their full potential and overcome any cultural barriers. WIN was launched in November 2000 in North America and since then it has expanded to over 30 chapters in ExxonMobil affiliates around the world, including ExxonMobil Egypt WIN Chapter that was adopted in 2018.




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