The Fifth edition of the SPE North Africa Technical Conference and Exhibition opened at the Fairmont Towers, Heliopolis in Cairo, Egypt with more than 600 attendees. The event is being held under the patronage of H.E. Eng. Sherif Ismail, Prime Minister of Egypt. Dr. Sherif Sousa, First Undersecretary for Gas Affairs at the Egypt Petroleum Ministry, Resources presided over the Opening Ceremony on His Excellency’s behalf and officially opened the conference and exhibition.
The Opening Ceremony included keynote speeches from Dr. Sherif Sousa; Osama El-Bakly, Chairman of Agiba Petroleum Company who was speaking on behalf of Tarek El Molla, Conference Chairman and CEO at Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC); Ahmed El Banbi, Programme Co-Chairman and Professor at Cairo University; Mohamed Hashem, Programme Co-Chairman and Reservoir Development Manager at Dragon Oil; along with Waleed Refaay, Managing Director of SPE Middle East, North Africa and South Asia regions.
Sherif Sousa said, “The Ministry of Petroleum always encourages holding such meetings that help to exchange knowledge and expertise, and enhance technology transfer among industry experts. This will support our strategic objective of achieving the best utilisation of our resources.”
“Egypt’s energy needs are growing with the increasing population. Our main target is to provide energy to the country. The government endeavours towards achieving that target is massive; it requires the coordination and cooperation between EGPC, EGAS, and Ganope and includes several steps such as: (a) increasing exploration and production activities in the country; (b) developing unconventional resources of oil and gas; (c) Increasing the use of enhanced oil recovery methods; (d) reviewing the oil/gas agreements and development leases; and (e) changing the strategic uses of oil and gas to increase its value,” continued Osama El-Bakly.
Ahmed El Banbi included some words of encouragement for young professionals and students saying, “You are starting your career in the petroleum industry and all you are seeing around you now is low oil prices, shrinking business, less recruitment opportunities, budget cuts, and layoffs. Among that, however, you hear the great news of finding new resources such as the new gas discovery in the deep water of Egypt. It is wise to use events including such as this to network, improve your knowledge, and sharpen your skills. The downturn will not stay for a very long time, and we, as an industry, will emerge from it, a better and more efficient industry. We have done this before, and we will do it again. So, get ready for the industry when it bounces back.”
Waleed Refaay added, “Since the first North Africa conference was held 7 years ago, this conference has garnered acclaim and gained foothold and increased visibility on the industry map. The technical programme has grown tremendously since the first edition and the strong industry support despite economic and political challenges in the North Africa region, has allowed SPE to continue to fulfill its mission of bringing together industry professionals to exchange and learn from each other’s experience and knowledge that benefits the advancement of the industry.”
The first day also featured an executive plenary session with prominent speakers such as Abu Bakr Ibrahim, Chairman at Ganoub El-Wadi Petroleum Holding Company (Ganope), Abdul Jaleel Al Khalifa, CEO at Dragon Oil, Mohamad Kamal, General Manager of North Bahariya Petroleum Company (NORPETCO), and Jeroen Regtien, COO at DNO ASA. Additionally, the three-day agenda includes 3 panel sessions, 27 technical sessions, numerous ePoster sessions, and a robust exhibition, all addressing a wide range of issues of interest to the North African oil and gas industry.
“The exhibition serves as an important showcase for the latest technologies whilst acting as a conduit for the strategic collaborations and healthy competition that helps drives us forward. From amongst the many participants, we are honoured to receive the Egypt national oil companies, international companies and numerous other specialists from across the globe at this exceptional event,” concluded Mohamed Hashem.