Oil and gas are key elements in KSA’s energy mix, but significant strides are being made to turn the country from a fossil fuel producer to an energy producing country, Al-Khalifa of ChampionX tells OGN
Saudi Arabia has an ambitious energy transition plan that is seeing the Kingdom expand its capabilities in renewables, green hydrogen production and carbon capture technologies.
Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman, the country’s Energy Minister, recently stated that Saudi Arabia aims to be a leading provider of all kinds of energy globally.
While oil and gas will remain a key element in the energy mix, significant strides are being made to diversify into more renewable energy sources and to shift the perception of the country as a fossil fuels producer, to an energy producing country.
Two years ago, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the Kingdom would contribute $2.5 billion to The Saudi and Middle East Green Initiative over the next 10 years, in addition to hosting its headquarters.
The programme aims to reduce carbon emissions from regional hydrocarbon production by more than 60 per cent.
It also plans to plant 50 billion trees across the Middle East and restore an area equivalent to 200 million hectares of degraded land. The initiative will help reduce global carbon levels by 2.5 per cent.
As part of this long-term vision, the Kingdom is increasingly focused on delivering more sustainable practices to ensure oil is extracted as efficiently as possible.
Investment in new innovations is, therefore, crucial to success, with greater emphasis on supply chain and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategies.
ChampionX has increased the sourcing of local raw materials thus reducing
ChampionX is a global leader in chemistry solutions, artificial lift systems, production automation, digital controls and chemical injection, equipment monitoring, and emissions detection technologies that help companies drill for, and produce oil and gas safely, efficiently and sustainably around the world.
The business has been active in Saudi Arabia for more than 30 years, addressing the sector’s key objectives of enhancing existing hydrocarbon recovery while delivering greater efficiencies.
DRIVING CONTINUOUS INNOVATION
Supporting sustainable operations is at the core of ChampionX’s solutions, and its values closely align with objectives set within the Green Initiative and Saudi Vision 2030.
As the country continues to bring new wells online, this has created more opportunities for the company to be involved from the early project stages to ensure production is maximised from the offset.
As Mohammed Al-Khalifa, formerly the general manager of ChampionX’s Chemical Technologies joint venture in Saudi Arabia, Champion Arabia, and newly appointed as a Regional Sales Manager for the Mena region, explains: 'The oil and gas market has evolved significantly over the last three decades, so it has been essential that we adapt to meet current industry challenges.'
He says: 'As a technology-driven company with extensive industry experience, our chemical technologies portfolio includes proven products, such as game-changing corrosion inhibitors, multi-functional products and emulsion breakers. These cutting-edge solutions play a crucial role in ensuring robust flow assurance throughout the life of a well.
With a focus on localisation, ChampionX has increased the sourcing of raw materials and blending of products in-country, which has the added benefit of reducing emissions in the transportation of finished products.
'We’ve seen the application of digital solutions become more prominent as operators realise the benefits of technology, such as AI, and this trend will undoubtedly grow in the coming months and years ahead,' Al-Khalifa says.
'We have been working to combine technical advancements and multi-functional products in one package for our customers, and it is already delivering substantial project efficiencies in-country,' he adds.
DEVELOPING SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS
ChampionX’s capabilities across automation, artificial lift and production chemicals are a strong differentiator for the business.
By combining the company’s many decades of expertise in chemical technology research and production with its experience in artificial lift, chemical injecting and automation, operators can effectively utilise one supplier.
This delivers significant value from cost and time efficiencies, particularly across large-scale projects, such as those in Saudi Arabia.
Al Khalifa says: 'Innovation is in our DNA, and while our solutions already deliver efficiency and production gains for our customers, we are always striving for better. This attitude of continuous improvement led us to review our logistics fleet in 2020, and as a result, we selected United Stars of the Tristar Group as our bulk delivery solutions provider in the Kingdom.
ChampionX’s vehicles are equipped with GPS tracking to ensure efficient management and optimised delivery trips, while utilising air diaphragm and hydraulic pumps, as opposed to diesel equipment, to create a safer and more sustainable offering.
'We are continuing to build on this with the addition of a new digital platform to allow for more detailed automation and enhanced forecasting,' Al Khalifa says.
The company also underlined its commitment to sustainability in the past three years with the acquisition of several companies that have expanded its emissions detection and monitoring capabilities.
Today, the Emissions Technology (ET) segment combines leading methane detection technology with ChampionX’s artificial intelligence predictive algorithms and extensive network of field technicians to enhance environmental stewardship practices across production assets.
Realising it can be daunting to choose the right emissions detection system, the ET team provides a straightforward solution to emissions management.
Rather than relying on a single method, they believe reliable and actionable insights come from combining continuous, top-down, and bottom-up solutions to give companies a true representation of their emissions profiles.
LONG-TERM GROWTH AND DIVERSIFICATION
Since ChampionX opened its first facility in Damman in 1982, the business has grown from six employees to more than 40 employees, including 64 per cent Saudi nationals.
As demand for its speciality chemicals continues to rise, the business has plans to expand its footprint with a second administration facility in the first half of 2024.
'In the last few years, we have seen the benefits of building diverse teams across our business, particularly in the Middle East. Our team in Oman and Qatar has developed into one of the most highly diverse workforces across the region. Based across the two countries, the 15-strong team of six women and nine men is comprised of seven nationalities from four continents, who between them speak six languages,' Al-Khalifa says.
ChampionX has also made great strides within its team in Saudi Arabia with a focus on increasing diversity in the workplace. This has given the company a more balanced perspective, while also bringing forward new ways of working.
'By having a wider range of views to consider, we can better tackle our customers’ challenges. This ensures we are poised to support the thriving market in Saudi Arabia and the wider Saudi Vision 2030,' Al-Khalifa says.
As the Kingdom moves into 2024, its pivotal role in the global oil and gas market is undergoing a transformative shift with a firm commitment to sustainability and diversification.
'Within this dynamic landscape, companies like ChampionX play a crucial role in driving innovation and sustainability. Our strong track record and growth in the country, combined with our drive to remain at the forefront of technological advancements means we are in a strong position to shape a more resilient and environmentally responsible energy sector in Saudi Arabia and beyond,' Al-Khalifa concludes.