(MENAFN - Arab Times) With the motto (The integration of Gulf Petroleum Industry .. Prospects and Challenges), the Gulf Petroleum Conference and Exhibition is launched today.
The GPCE is a 2-day event organized by the Investors Group and sponsored by the Minister of Oil, the Chairman of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), Hani Hussain and with the presence of chairpersons of local, Gulf and world oil companies as well as oil experts from inside and outside Kuwait.
On this occasion, Chairman of the Steering Committee for the event, Jamal Al-Gharaballi, said that the Conference convenes in view of the regional developments that highlight the global oil markets, stressing the importance of the GCC region that offers great possibilities and capabilities that help bringing stability and reinstating confidence in the oil markets.
He added that this conference is the first of its kind that translates the interest of Kuwait in the oil sector development plan. The conference will be sponsored by Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) as well as a number of local, regional and global oil and gas companies. He highlighted that the conference will address the horizons and challenges facing the oil and gas industry in the GCC region in particular and in the world in general.
Al-Gharaballi added that the Conference attracts the most important companies operating in this vital sector in Kuwait, GCC and in the world to showcase the latest techniques and technology they use and to create awareness about their current and future projects.
He added that the conference will be an excellent opportunity for international companies to view the latest developments in the Gulf oil sector and the businesses and tenders that will be offered as part of Kuwait's and regional mega projects.
From his side, the Chairman of the scientific Committee of the GPCE, Dr Jasem Bishara, said that the conference will discuss a number issues which highlight important aspects related to oil, gas and petrochemical industry as well as the technical, economic and commercial issues and the role of this vital industry in the development of Kuwait in particular and GCC countries in general.
Bishara pointed out that the conference comprises five main sessions each of them discusses a key element of the conference in addition to the inaugural speech by the Minister of Oil, HE Hani Hussain, and the conference organizer. The former Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Ambassador Abdullah Bishara, will also launch an inaugural speech highlighting the issue of Gulf integration. Ambassador Bishara is a leading person in the Gulf cooperation field as he headed the General Secretariat of the Gulf Cooperation Council. It is to mention that the Arab Gulf overlooking countries possess 65% of the global oil reserves, and therefore, they are of a strategic importance in this area.
He added that the first session will highlight the oil industry horizons and the opportunities provided in this industry. This session will be attended by the CEO of KPC, Farouk Al Zanki and the Secretary General of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, Abbas Naqi.
Bishara said that the second session of the first day will discuss the current trends in the field of oil exploration filed and production operations. The session will be attended by the CEO of Kuwait Oil Company, Sami Al Rushaid, the Deputy CEO for Petroleum Engineering and Development Operations, Saudi ARAMCO Company, Dr Mohamed Al Kahtani, Chairman of Gulf Oil Company, Hashem Al Refaei, and the Advisor to the CEO of Canadian Natural Resources Company Limited, Dr Hamid Maguid.
As for the second day of the Conference, Bishara said it comprises 3 work sessions; the first highlights the future opportunities in the oil and gas refining and petrochemicals industry, and will be attended by the Chairman of the Kuwait International oil Company, Hussain Esmail, the Deputy Chairman and CEO of Qatar fertilizer Company (QAFCO), Khalifah al Suwaidi, the Managing Director of Chevron Lummus Global Company, Dr Bharat Srinivasan.
He said that the second session will highlight the partnerships in oil and gas sector and will be attended by the General Director of Public Authority for Industry, Dr Ali Al Madhaf, the Chairman of the Kuwaiti Industries Union, Hussain Al-Kharafi and the Managing Director of Petroleum Coke Industries Company, Riyad Al Saleh.
He added that the third and last session of the second day will approach the environmental challenges of the oil and gas industry and the suggested solutions. This session will be attended by the Managing Director for Research, Development and HSE in Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, Badr Al Khashti, the General Director of the Kuwaiti Environment Public Authority, Dr Salah Al Mudhi, and the Environmental Consultant, Dr Sami al Yaokoub.
Partnership between Public and Private Sectors
From his side, and on the occasion of participating in the Conference, Chairman of the Kuwaiti Industries Union, Hussain Al-Kharafi, talked about the current status of the industrial sector and its developments stating that the industrial sector is a key component of the Kuwaiti economy. However, it suffers from a number of difficulties that prevent it from fulfilling its targeted role.
He pointed out that the Gulf Petroleum Conference and Exhibition is a real opportunity to assure the partnership between the industrial sector and the Government oil companies, and highlighted the interest of both parties to overcome the obstacles that hinder the national product development and growth.
Al-Kharafi stressed the importance of the role played by the industrial sector to create national job opportunities, diversify the productivity base and income sources and to provide the food and strategic security that is a key driver in the comprehensive development.
He added that there are currently some obstacles that prevent the development of Kuwaiti industry, expressing his belief that such obstacles face the industrial sector since long time, but they have been aggravated by the forced involvement of industry in the political conflict which weakened the investor's confidence in this sector.
He said that the mid term development plan 2010/2011 to 2013/2014 is the right and required frame to push the development wheel and achieve the progress adding that the strategic objectives highlighted by the development plan till 2035 are based on increasing the economic growth of non oil sectors and the private sector leadership of the economic activity.
As for the key obstacles facing the industrial sector, Al-Kharafi said that they include the lack of industrial lands required for the construction of new factories or enhancing existing factories. This requires a quick assignment of new lands for local industries. He expected that this crisis will be solved very soon as it was launched by the Central Tenders Committee.
He added that the government bureaucracy also contributes in hindering the timely achievement of transactions. This requires the development of mechanism of work of the government authorities concerned with the sector, increasing the work efficiency and guaranteeing performance. He expressed his optimism towards the launch of an integrated service center as of 15 February 2012 and the control of efficiency of such authorities.
Mechanism for Motivating Communication
On his end, the Chairman and Managing Director of Kuwait Petroleum International (KPI) Hussain E. Ismail confirmed in his word in the Gulf Petroleum Conference and Exhibition 2012 the importance of holding the petroleum conferences in creating a mechanism for motivating communication and exchange of opinions and experiences among the producers, consumers and the other interested parties in the oil industry.
Ismail strictly conceded the company's attention to expanding its refining and marketing activities in the Asian economically growing markets for achieving rewarding returns and the desired profits so that it can hold a competitive position among the international players in the oil industry. The refinery project and the petrochemicals complex, he added, that are currently in the construction phase by the company in China are among the giant and vital projects for the State of Kuwait.
This project, he pointed out, entails many important details like the environmental laws, economic feasibility, the market's expectations related to offer and demand and the engineering details. The company, he added, is currently coordinating with its partners in the Chinese company Sinopic for achieving this objective.
Moreover, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation has signed a memorandum of understanding with the French company Total in the mid of March to join the project as an ally.
Concerning the company's projects in Vietnam Hussain E. Ismail said that there is a vital project in the north of Vietnam. This includes establishment of a refinery with a refining capacity of 200 thousand barrels per day in complementation with the petrochemicals complex with a net of fuel stations. The company, he continued, has an important project in Indonesia including the establishment of a refinery with a capacity between 200-300 thousand barrels per day in complementation with the petrochemicals complex and the retail sale net.
Preserving the Environment
On his part the General Manager of Environment Public Authority (EPA) Dr Salah Mudhi Al Mudhi confirmed the Authority's attention to acknowledge, execute and activate the laws and legislations that aim at environmental preservation, protecting its resources and cooperation with the governmental and private institutions and the regional and international organizations to curtail the phenomena of pollution and mitigate its effects.
Dr Salah Mudhi Al Mudhi said that there is a basic cooperation between the Authority and the oil companies affiliated to KPC within the framework of a coordinating committee with the objective of reaching more coordination, follow up and supervision on the principle of abidance, commitment and partnership between both of the parties.
The Kuwaiti oil companies, he added, submit monthly reports to the Authority reporting their achievements in environmental protection, emissions resulting from their industries and the output of this industry including the wastes and the way of dealing with them, elucidating that the Authority studies these reports and puts remarks in case of any violations of the laws, regulations and the norms of the Authority.
In connection to the efforts of the Authority concerning limitation of the phenomena of the climatic change, Dr Al Mudhi said that State of Kuwait was one of the first signatories of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change as it signed it in 1994 and joined Kyoto Protocol attached to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change in 2005. The Authority, Dr Al Mudhi clarified, is considered the national point of contract for the United Nations Convention on Climate Change and Kyoto Protocol.
He declared that the Authority is trying to establish two specialized websites, the first one is concerned with the phenomena of climate change for assisting the researchers in this phenomena and the second one is concerned with the projects of the clean development mechanism so that the domestic and international companies could review the laws of the State of Kuwait related to this subject and offer presentations on its projects through the website.
He confirmed the Authority's attention for enhancing the environmental awareness through the use of all the means of media, communication, activities and events in order to reach all the sectors of society and supporting the environmental culture with the objective of amending the environmental behavior and turning it into a positive one.
Care for Private Sector
In turn, the Chairman and Managing Director of Petroleum Coke Industries Company (PCIC) Riadh Al Saleh confirmed the importance of the Gulf Petroleum Conference and Exhibition in giving an importance message to the concerned parties in the Government and the National Assembly that shows the necessity of paying high attention to the private sector as it is considered a basic partner in the process of development and the Kuwaiti economy and as an important guarantee for variability of income and not depending mainly on one source or sector.
The company, he said, has two major projects represented in the expansion of the green coal warehouses and expansion of the Calcined petroleum coke warehouses with a cost of KD 7 million within a studied methodology of the company towards expansion, utilization of the financial surplus and securing its needs of raw materials for some months against any shortage in supply operations.
Those two projects, he added, are targeting warehousing the produced materials in accord with some methods that regard the environment and to protect against any instability in the global market and in the marketing operations and to guarantee continuity of production.
The company, he continued, is working in the field of manufacturing the calcined coke in order to reach our final product that is a basically used in the aluminum industry reaching 40% with the use of the raw material that is the petroleum coal produced from the refinery of Abdullah Port.
The production of the calcined coke, he elucidated, is connected with the aluminum manufacturing in the GCC which stand for more than 20% of the total global production of aluminum, clarifying that the company has contracts for marketing and partnership with some of the biggest companies in the world in cooperation with the American Company Expo Carbon and Minerals as a basic marketer.
He expressed his discontent for that position in which the private companies are suffering from governmental bureaucracy and administrative routine that form a hindrance for the establishment and work of companies and make Kuwait confined within the single income that is oil motivating the enhancement of the complementary industries for oil in order to create other industrial entities that can participate in the variation of the sources of income and encouraging for the serious national Kuwaiti initiatives.
Al Saleh said that some legislations give more opportunity for the foreign companies over the Kuwaiti companies. This led to Kuwaiti capital migration to near GCC searching for investment opportunity that are suffering under the bureaucracy, administrative routine and unsuitable laws in addition to the intervention of many governmental departments. He pointed to the transfer of about 20 Kuwaiti factories to KSA because of the privileges and facilities given by the Kingdom.
He sees that it is time for the oil sector to keep pace with the global peer and be freed of the restraints imposed on it. This should be synchronized with encouraging the national industrial initiatives to join chemical and petrochemical industries that are complementary to the oil industry.
There is an important role, he continued, for the private sector company in the development process according to the methodology of His Majesty the Amir. The beginning, he added, lays in choosing certain economic projects that yield awesome returns and that achieve a balance among the different sectors to be complementary to the oil sector in the field of chemicals and specialized industries.
If this is achieved, he said, the private sector will basically support the development processes, adding labor force and easing the stress from the governmental sector. In addition, by exporting, there will be a variation of the income resources and liberating the Kuwaiti economy from the ultimate following and dependence on the oil sector.
The company, he said, went through a leading experience using the petroleum coal that previously was just an industrial waste for the industry of oil refining that was environmentally unfriendly and has been transformed to calcined coal and is being sold to the aluminum factories. This protected the environment of its accumulation and yielded economic returns for State of Kuwait.
1. Jamal Al Gharaballi
2. Dr Jasem Bishara
3. Hussain Ali Al-Kharafi
4. Hussain E. Ismail
5. Dr Salah Mudhi Al Mudhi
6. Riadh Al Saleh
7. Dr Abdullah Bisharq