World-class organisations need to drive strong R&D, says ADNOC downstream director at RDPETRO

World-class organisations need to drive strong R&D, says ADNOC downstream director at RDPETRO
Abdulaziz Alhajri, downstream director at ADNOC, opens RDPETRO 2018.
Published: 9 May 2018 - 9 p.m.
By: Martin Menachery

The International Research and Development Petroleum Conference and Exhibition (RDPETRO), the largest oil and gas conference in the world fully dedicated to R&D, opened yesterday in Abu Dhabi.

The two-day event saw close to 4,000 registrations from global experts across the oil and gas industry and other innovative sectors, to discuss and identify solutions to a range of industry challenges created by the rapidly evolving energy market.

Opening RDPETRO 2018, Abdulaziz Alhajri, downstream director at the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), said increasing global demand for high-value refined and petrochemical products is creating new growth opportunities across the value chain, at a time when unlocking oil and gas resources becomes more challenging. In this environment, he added, the industry must think differently to harness the powerful opportunities of advanced technology and find new ways to maximise value.

“You cannot be a world-class organisation, without world-class R&D,” Alhajri said. “An important pillar of ADNOC’s 2030 smart growth strategy, is pursuing value-adding research and development. We drive innovative technologies that enhance our performance, optimise costs, and enable us to respond reliably and competitively to growing demand for oil and gas, and refined and petrochemical products. The common perception of R&D as a cost centre needs to be challenged, as the ideation and creation of novel solutions helps unlock significant value.”

World-renowned business and innovation speaker Dan Cobley was the keynote speaker for the opening ceremony. Originally an oil exploration engineer and marketer, Cobley was formerly the head of Google UK. His address at RDPETRO 2018 centred on how global tech leaders and start-ups drive innovation and disrupt traditional approaches to find transformative solutions to major problems, and where these are applicable in the oil and gas industry.

“From balloons in space, to beam Internet signals to remote parts of the world, to contact lenses, with an embedded glucose sensor for diabetes sufferers – harnessing the power of digital is changing the world as we know it,” Cobley said. “The oil and gas industry, in particular, is tailor-made and ready for this transformation, with heavy capital investment and extended supply chains, not to mention operations that span multiple assets and regions.”

“Whether its robotics and automation, or process digitisation, digital enablers in oil and gas have the potential to unleash new hydrocarbon resources, deliver operational efficiencies across the value chain and increase agility and profits.”

Bringing together entrepreneurial thinkers, with advanced research institutions, oil and gas majors, established tech giants and engineering companies, RDPETRO 2018 is designed to help solve real oil and gas challenges, according to Qasem Al Kayoumi, chairman of RDPETRO 2018.

“Over the next two days, we will hear from and engage with more than 100 international speakers, chief technologists from pioneering companies, and specialists from both downstream and upstream,” Al Kayoumi said.

“RDPETRO is positioned to be an enabler that offers innovators access to end-users, with the potential to tap into multi-million dollar development funds. In response to the industry challenges we set, almost 400 technical solutions, from over 30 countries and more than 130 institutions, were received and evaluated.“

A key area of focus on the first day was the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Summit that examined how the latest technological advances will drive new value and solutions across the oil and gas value chain.

Speakers at this high-level session entitled ‘Disrupting the Oil and Gas Industry through Digitalisation and Artificial Intelligence’  included Øystein Haaland, CTO for worldwide chemicals and petroleum at IBM Industry Academy and a member of the Nordic Technical Expert Council; Professor Karl Rose, chief strategist, ADNOC; Arun K Subramaniyan, vice president, data science and analytics, at BHGE Digital; Vincent Saubestre, vice president for strategy and intelligence, corporate R&D, at Total, and Philippe Herve, vice president for solutions at SparkCognition. 

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