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Panel moderated by Alix Steele, Bloomberg

“We’re not doing digital for digital’s sake. I go back to the mission that we have: safe, reliable, affordable, and ever cleaner. And I think digital plays into every single one of them.”
Joe Geagea, Executive Vice President, Technology, Projects & Services, Chevron

What’s the number one thing you’re doing in your business in the middle of this energy transition?

Mr. Geagea said that Chevron’s priorities are to be the lowest-cost supplier, to lower the carbon footprint of its operations, and to invest in renewables and technology. Mr. Brekelmans said that providing customers with ever-cleaner energy choice is a focus at Shell. He added that the carbon competitiveness of the entire supply chain must be considered, as well as the suite of products that you’re delivering. For Mr. Sultan, cost efficiency was the most important thing, including the cost of any activity in renewables. He believed that cost and efficiency are greatly dependent on service companies because they are typically more advanced in research and technology. Mr. Breuillac added that the industry must recognize that it’s part of the problem and therefore needs to be part of the solution. He emphasized the need for them to perform better at what they can control, such as reducing emissions from operations, which is at the forefront of Total’s priorities. Mr. Bayon agreed that emissions must be a key focus, but added that the industry needs to be more proactive and transparent, and be part of the solution not only to energy transition, but to helping people worldwide get out of poverty and have access to energy.

 

Reducing your own emissions, diversifying your portfolio with renewables, reducing your costs, and honoring your shareholders—can you actually do all four things?

The panelists all agreed that it was certainly possible, noting that the industry has a long hisotry of embracing challenges and change. Keenly focused on the environmental side of things, they also emphasizsed that no solution could come from them alone—but that governments, policy makers, customers, and individuals all had to contribute to reducing emissions and energy consumption.

 

Do you ever see your company as being less oil and more of something else?

Mr. Brekelmans pointed out that, although the five companies represented on stage are often generalized as being the same, they are actually very different when you look at the details, and that they have all changed in various ways over time. He views Shell as an energy company that wants to remain relevant whatever the future brings. He spoke of natural gas as an example of the company’s and industry’s ability to adapt, saying that what was thought impossible 40 or 50 years ago was embraced, and has grown into something very valuable.

 

How do digital and AI play into this? What’s your company’s strategy?

Mr. Sultan said that the service companies play a big role in that aspect because they are investing in the capabilities and intelligence to maximize the value of data. So it’s a matter of going to the right service companies and tailoring their capabilities to suit your needs. Mr. Breuillac felt that most companies are under-estimating digital in terms of what it can bring to operations, and that the industry is just scratching the surface of what’s possible. He said Total is being very pragmatic because they understand that it requires a lot of time and investment. Mr. Bayon gave the example of refinery engineers looking at throughput pressures and temperatures, while seeing the real-time dollar impact on the same screen. He said that digital has elimitated the separation between the operation and the outcomes, and he wonders about adapting similar tools for emissions.

 

“We need to jointly develop a narrative that is more compelling than we have today. And that narrative will have to constitute in some way also what is possible. And we as companies have shown time and again that we do things that previously people felt were impossible.”
Harry Brekelmans, Projects & Technology Director, Shell
“It’s bigger than us sitting here. It’s not a problem of industry or regulators or companies. It’s something that we should all own.”
Felipe Bayon, CEO, Ecopetrol
Panel Partecipants
CEO, Ecopetrol

Felipe Bayon

Felipe Bayón, 54, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Ecopetrol Group, the largest oil and gas conglomerate in Colombia.

Bayón holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Universidad de los Andes, and has over 28 years of experience in…

Projects & Technologies Director, Member of the Executive Committee Royal Dutch Shell

Harry Brekelmans

Harry Brekelmans is Projects & Technology (P&T) Director and a member of the Executive Committee of
Royal Dutch Shell plc.

President Exploration And Production, Total

Arnaud Breuillac

Arnaud Breuillac, 62, graduated from the Ecole Centrale de Lyon in 1981. 

He joined TOTAL in 1982 and has served in various positions in its Exploration & Production Division, including Abu Dhabi, the United Kingdom, Indonesia and…

Executive Vice President of Technology, Projects and Services, Chevron

Joe Geagea

Joseph C. (Joe) Geagea, 60, is Executive Vice President of Technology, Projects and Services, a position he has held since 2015. He is responsible for energy technology; delivery of major capital projects; procurement; information technology;…

TV Anchor, Bloomberg

Alix Steel

Alix Steel is the co-anchor of “Bloomberg Daybreak Americas,” Bloomberg’s flagship morning show focused on the important financial and global news of the day. Steel also anchors the weekly show “Bloomberg Commodities Edge,” a thirty minute…

CEO, KOC

Emad Mahmoud Sultan

Emad Mahmoud Sultan is the Chief Executive Officer of Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), since February 2019.
With over 11000 employees, KOC is one of the top ten producers of oil in the world, and the main revenue generator for the State of Kuwait…

2020 ANNUAL MEETING