BHGE AM Day 2: Knowledge, technology sharing are the keys to success

By michele cowart, news editor, world oil on 2/8/2019

FLORENCE -- During the final day of the BHGE annual meeting on Tuesday, World Oil had a chance to visit with the president and CEO of BHGE North Africa region and the V.P. of Drill Bits. They each shared their unique achievements in the industry, as well as visions for a more productive and efficient near-future. With continued customer collaborations, and support from senior leadership in their respective areas, these two teams will help drive production.

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Ayman Khattab, president & CEO, Gulf & North Africa, BHGE.

North Africa region. BHGE’s North Africa region covers Mauritania to Pakistan, which is about 15 countries, and each nation has its different market dynamics. Despite oil and gas price volatility, the region has remained stable, according to Ayman Khattab, president & CEO, Gulf & North Africa, BHGE.

Big win in Abu Dhabi. ADNOC and BHGE formed a strategic alliance in October 2018, to expand ADNOC’s drilling capabilities into the integrated drilling and well construction segment, and expand BHGE’s presence in the UAE. In this deal, BHGE will acquire a 5% stake in ADNOC Drilling, valuing the business at $11 billion. The partnership will enable ADNOC Drilling to gain greater market access and new business opportunities, according to BHGE. The project is focused on Abu Dhabi’s unconventional reserves to help the region with its gas consumption needs. “The core of this project is about knowledge and technology transfer,” said Khattab. “This is a new way of doing business, and we are very proud of this project.” With the highest leadership from each company involved, and a shared vision that this project will benefit all, the deal took about one year to structure and sign, which strengthens the importance of the project’s significance. Spudding of the first well was set to begin Jan. 29, 2019.

Scott Schmidt, V.P., drill bits, BHGE.

Localization efforts. Algeria and Egypt have the next-largest activity in the region. In Algeria, BHGE has two JV’s with state firm Sonatrach, further increasing relationships out of partnerships. The two firms will work together on oilfield equipment manufacturing in Algeria, as well as repair, maintenance and manufacturing of turbomachinery.

During a November 2017 signing ceremony in Algiers, Sonatrach and BHGE announced the creation of a 20,000-m2 manufacturing facility in the Arzew Industrial Zone, aiming to strengthen Algeria’s ability to meet local demand for oilfield equipment. According to the BHGE, Sonatrach and BHGE have 51% and 49% ownership, respectively. With an initial combined investment of $45 million, the new company will provide manufacturing, assembly, and maintenance for various types of oilfield equipment, including wellheads, christmas trees, BOPs and valve controls. In addition, this new company will increase localization efforts by adding 300 jobs, locally, according to Ulviyya Hasanzade, communications director, MENAT & India, BHGE.

BHGE has been involved in the Egypt’s Zohr offshore gas field project from day 1 of drilling. “We are very proud to have been part of Zohr from the day they started drilling, and every well they have drilled has been drilled by us,” said Khattab. BHGE was also awarded a subsea contract for phase 2 development of Zohr. In addition, the company is also working very closely with the Egyptian government’s Ministry of Petroleum on modernization and personnel training efforts. “Everywhere we operate, we are keen to be good citizens by investing in the country and people,” continued Khattab.

Knowledge sharing. As one becomes a leader, it is his or her responsibility to share knowledge with others. When asked what he would say to the 300 new manufacturing employees to motivate them, Khattab said that his answer could take all day. “Never stop learning, no matter where you are in your career,” and “always be curious, get out of your comfort zone, and work very hard.”  

In addition, Khattab added that “Our industry is not as attractive as some others [to young people], unfairly. Our industry is one of the richest, in terms of technology, it’s a clean industry, and we need to do a bit more to explain this.”

Drill faster and further. BHGE’s drill bit business has plans to move into the digital space, according to Scott Schmidt, V.P., Drill Bits, BHGE. “We have an enormous focus on analyzing data, making bit recommendations, making parameter recommendations, looking at formation information, and helping the customer drill as fast, and as far, as they can,” said Schmidt. However, these data have been collected manually, and with about 6,000 bit runs/month, it is difficult to analyze and report back to customers.

In late 2016, BHGE talked to more than 30 customers, to hear feedback from them regarding “pain points.” Customers indicated that they want to receive insights and actions. “No more squiggly lines, we want insights and actions, quickly,” repeated Schmidt. “And we want this data on an iPhone.” In response, BHGE created a team to see this vision to fruition.

In addition, the company has released a multi-frequency, downhole vibration module that goes in the bit, called MultiSense, launched in fourth-quarter 2018. It reduces data retrieval of high-frequency vibration information, matching this to the surface and reducing reporting time to the customer from weeks to days. The next step is to launch BHGE’s benchmarking platform in March 2019. The platform looks at efficiencies, such as ROP, energy into the drillstring, BHA and location of the well, and borehole quality. “In essence, we are taking surface data and high-frequency downhole data, and we are now displaying it in a way that’s intuitive to our customers,” said Schmidt.

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Dynamus 2.0 extended-life drill bit.

Drill bits. PDC bits are the number-one bits used in the world, according to Schmidt. Under the “hybrid drill bits” category, BHGE offers Kymera hybrid drill bits that combine roller cones and PDC fixed cutters into a single design. Schmidt goes on to estimate the ratio of drill bits used in the industry today, “70% is PDC, 15% is Kymera and the rest is tri-cone, and there is continued development.”   

Recently launched, the TerrAdapt drill bit adapts to changing formations, adjusting DOC control to manage its own aggressiveness and mitigate-stick slip with no interaction from surface. It also absorbs shocks and helps prevent damage to the bit and BHA. The result: longer tool life and faster, more consistent ROP, according to the company. Schmidt believes the industry is headed, over the next decade, toward drill bits that adapt to every situation.

Drilling cleaner. BHGE Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Simonelli’s announcement, that the company will work toward reducing carbon emissions to zero by 2050, has peaked interest in the entire company. “We drive a lot to rigs. Could we reduce emissions with less driving? Do we make our factories more efficient? We are starting to think through all of this now,” said Schmidt. He goes on to say that “since 2012, we have reduced emissions by 26%, through the actions we have been taking, of improving the way we transport equipment, but there is further work to be done.”

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