Cover story: Changing the region's oilfieldsby Indrajit Sen on Oct 18, 2016
How did Weatherford International start operating in the Middle East's oil and gas industry?
Weatherford has had a presence in the Middle East for more than 40 years, with operations in Egypt and Abu Dhabi dating back to the 1970s. Our first milestone contracts with Middle Eastern NOCs were for TRS and cementing accessories. We later expanded both our footprint and our capabilities in the region. That was the start of our adventure in what would become our largest region in the eastern hemisphere.
Our journey has progressed exponentially since those early years, and we recently achieved a new measure of success in the region. At the Excellence in Energy Awards presented at ADIPEC last year, Weatherford was awarded 'Best Oilfield Services Company' — an honour that recognises leadership in project management, adherence to timelines, cost control, and overall efficiency and productivity.
How profitable has operating in this region been for the organisation?
The Middle East and Africa (MEA) region makes up a significant part of our business. Over the years, this region has contributed to the growth and strength of Weatherford. Today, the MEA region is somewhere we absolutely must be and, over time, it must form an increasing share of our overall activity.
We have been upgrading our offerings, from simple hardware and services to a more complete offering, to become a better partner to our customers in drilling, well construction and production optimisation.
What products have Weatherford recently developed and launched in the market?
In the area of production optimisation, we have a set of sensors, both classical and fiber-optics based; the largest SCADA solution in the industry, which connects 350,000 wells; and production software that optimises more than 110,000 wells.
We are currently upgrading our portfolio to be easier and lighter to use, via the cloud, and are completing our physics-based applications with advanced analytics, as part of our collaboration with IBM. As we extend the link to our sensors by using newly developed Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities, we will be able to deliver a truly intelligent digital oilfield.
One of the motivating factors behind this initiative was increased demand from our clients in the Middle East for advanced well management solutions. We will be visiting with executives at several Middle Eastern NOCs this fall, following presentations about this technology at both SPE-ATCE (in September) and ADIPEC.
What is the scope of each of Weatherford's business lines – Drilling and Formation Evaluation, Well Construction, Completion and Stimulation, and Production?
In line with our overall focus on operational discipline and meeting client needs, we have refined our offerings in each of our four global business units. As a result, our differentiated portfolio contains highly engineered and integrated technologies that more closely align with the expectations of our clients.
Our distinctive Drilling and Formation Evaluation offerings include high-pressure, high-temperature logging-while-drilling (LWD) services and a unique cased-hole reservoir evaluation tool. We also offer world-class laboratory services including core evaluation.
Well Construction, long an area of strength for Weatherford, is becoming increasingly integrated — and innovative — as we tighten our focus on well integrity. Managed pressure drilling, tubular running services, cementing products and pressure control devices remain the cornerstones of this business unit.