With industry engagement as the event’s core focus, the Convention hosted an interesting panel discussion about post-COVID operational efficiency.
Moderated by Apex International’s President and COO Thomas Maher, this discussion witnessed the participation of Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) CEO Abed Ezz El Regal, Apache Corporation’s Vice President and Country Manager David Chi, Cheiron Petroleum Corporation CEO David Thomas, and Halliburton Egypt & Libya Vice President Colby Fuser.
HSE and Addressing Supply Chain Difficulties
Starting with Ezz El Regal, Maher asked about how EGPC dealt with the outbreak of COVID-19. EGPC’s CEO responded by saying that despite pandemic-related challenges, low oil prices were used to accumulate reserves and that business operations were kept running. He also pointed to digitalization plans that existed even before the pandemic. “In spite of the COVID, a very good revenue [was achieved] compared to what [it] was before,” Ezz El Regal said. Later during the discussion when talking about health, safety, and environment (HSE), he affirmed the sector’s commitment to maintaining best practices in HSE to meet the required international standards.
Being part of a company that has demonstrated excellence in HSE, Halliburton’s Colby Fuser also discussed his company’s contribution to HSE standards in Egypt, emphasizing that Halliburton is a company that leads by example. He also pointed to cooperation within the sector and that in the end, it is all about following the process. When Maher asked Fuser to discuss precautions that companies need to take for future supply chain challenges, he said that the solution lies in working with the local market. “One of the things that we have seen in the pandemic or post-Covid is switching to more local providers, whether they are local providers for chemicals or local providers for raw materials,” Fuser said. He said that running a supply chain within Egypt is a very strong position to be in, adding that companies can cooperate to put standards in place for manufacturing chemical components locally.
Cheiron’s CEO David Thomas was also asked about how his company handled pandemic-related supply chain challenges. He said for his company, there were no difficulties from an equipment perspective, pointing to Cheiron’s close cooperation with the local market. Later on, Thomas also commented on Cheiron’s acquisition of Shell’s assets in Egypt, highlighting that the real strategic drive for this was related to the upside they saw in that portfolio. “A primary drive [for acquiring assets] is the fact that we see a lot of potential in the area whether through drilling or workover.”
The Pandemic’s Key Lessons & Egypt’s Potential
Apache’s David Chi, recently selected as Egypt Oil & Gas Committee (EOG) Chairman, also shared his take on how 2020 affected the way his company operated and the pandemic’s key lessons. He said that Apache focused on employee safety and implemented a remote work scheme. In addition, he highlighted the importance of being flexible to effectively cope with change, planning ahead, and financial health to endure future crises. When Maher asked Chi about opportunities for Egypt beyond the energy sector later on in the discussion, Chi said that COVID-19 will accelerate the way business works in the future, as it will be more digital and flexible.
He highlighted some of Egypt’s advantages, including its geographical location, human resources, and potential to be the manufacturing powerhouse for the supply chain in the MENA region. “Egypt has a lot of qualified people. I think as a country, Egypt will continue to push for capacity building, which will enable a more productive workforce,” Chi said.