Interviews

AN INTERVIEW WITH MR. DAVID CHI

Published on : 2019-11-19

  Apache is one of the most effective IOCs in the market internationally and in the region. We would like to know the recent activities in preview.

Apache has been through a strategic transition recently where we have built very strong core assets both in North America and internationally.  With the discovery of Alpine High, one of the biggest discoveries in the world in recent years, we are poised for strong, profitable growth in the Permian Basin in the near term.  Meanwhile, we continue to excel in our other core assets, such as Egypt, where we keep delivering significant value and production which benefits all our stakeholders.  Besides winning two new concessions in the Western Desert last year, we are also conducting a large high resolution 3D seismic survey which I believe will revolutionize the way we find oil in Egypt for many years to come.

 How could Apache survive from the oil prices downturn recently?

Apache entered the downturn a very different company than it is today. We’ve sold our Australia region, LNG interests, and most recently our Canadian assets. In many ways, Apache has not only survived the downturn but executed a significant strategy shift that has positioned us to thrive in the years ahead. There are a few things that I believe have driven our success in this time and put us in the right position moving forward.

  • We responded quickly to the downturn in oil prices by reducing activity, cutting cost, and focusing on our core assets. This enabled us to conserve cash as prices crashed. We pulled back on activity faster and harder than most of our peers who thought that the downturn might be short lived. We believed that the best course of action with regard to our activity levels was being conservative.
  • We exited underperforming assets and high-graded to our core competencies. By exiting Canada we’ve re-directed that cash to Alpine High in West Texas. We were able to swap out of a low margin business with sizable asset retirement obligations and move into low cost acreage with massive potential.
  • Our international regions continued to generate free cash for us throughout the cycle allowing us to fund the corporation without issuing equity or debt. Most of our peers had to either dilute shareholders or declare bankruptcy to survive this downturn. Apache has done neither and we believe that shows our commitment to our shareholders and that our interests are aligned with theirs for the long term. We are interested in long term value creation through any cycle and not short term production increases.
  • Finally, in order to thrive in the years ahead we invested at opportune times to reload our inventory of economic projects at any price point. Examples include shooting seismic here in Egypt in the largest seismic project in Apache’s history, key exploration projects in our North Sea region, our decision to step out and spend money on acreage acquisition and exploration activity in the discovery of Alpine High. Our approach has set us on an impressive growth trajectory as those investments will pay dividends for many years to come. It takes a great deal of fortitude to make those investments in a declining price environment and I applaud our leadership for making the correct but difficult call in this time in the industry.

  Apache has a slogan of "Exploring What's Possible". How does this slogan reflect the company's philosophy?

We are about challenging the status quo. We’re going to push the extents of what’s possible. That is in our very DNA. If you look at Apache historically we’ve taken assets that other companies said were at the end of their life and we’ve approached them with a can do attitude that says we believe there’s something greater in store for these fields. We’ve pushed the limits of what those areas can do and as a result we’ve realized huge success. You can look at our track record here in Egypt or in the Permian Basin or the North Sea and see how we’ve truly “Explored what’s possible” in those areas and the value we’ve created from that.

A great example of the “exploring what’s possible” mentality in Apache Egypt is the 2X program which we entered into in 2005. Apache accepted the challenge to double production in 5 years, which was a massive undertaking. To go from ~160MBOE/D to over 330MBOE/D in 2010 was a fantastic accomplishment. Starting at a size that was larger than most companies and then endeavoring to double that was something that most companies wouldn’t have ever attempted. But not Apache. We’re always up for the challenge of pushing the limits of what other people think is possible. We are continually pushing ourselves to think bigger and that flows throughout the entire organization.

Apache in Egypt:

  Lately in 2013, Apache completed Egypt partnership with Sinopec. Now, How did this partnership affect the growth of the business?

Put very simply our partnership with Sinopec allows us to do more with less. We are now able to operate more rigs for the same amount of capital because our partner now pays 1/3 of our costs. This gives us the opportunity to drill more wells and explore additional areas of the western desert. This increases our overall chance of success because we have interests in a greater number of wells. We believe that drilling more wells based on our geological expertize can be beneficial to all stakeholders. That is what we’re here to do and that’s one of the things we do best.

Additionally, the partnership with Sinopec has given Apache Corporation the cash to increase activity across the company. Apache ramped up drilling across our assets in North America following the closing of the transaction with Sinopec. As a result of our deal with Sinopec, we have been able to do more with less in Egypt and the cash facilitated incremental projects in across our portfolio.

 The Egyptian Petroleum industry witnesses a golden era with the recent activities and discoveries. We would like to know your vision about Egypt and the possibility to be an energy hub in the region.

We believe with the right incentives in place for operators and a government that is willing to work with new and creative business models the renaissance in Egypt’s O&G sector is just beginning. The oil and gas environment is ripe for continued growth and development through partnerships between IOCs and the government. You’re seeing the culmination of that in the offshore projects that are coming online. Without the government giving increased gas prices to those operators those projects never would’ve gotten funding.  But let’s not forget about the Western Desert, which is the key driver behind Egypt’s current production.  This is also the place where I believe the nation has the most remaining oil potential, which can be witnessed by numerous oil discoveries that Apache made in recent years.

We believe that there are plenty of opportunities to create value for Egypt and for IOCs through partnerships in developing the rich oil and gas resources in this country. Egypt is entering a new era of mega gas projects in the Mediterranean, but we believe that there is sizable potential in the rest of Egypt. In the hands of the right operator and the right partnership agreement, there is the ability to reach for new heights in areas of Egypt that many believe are past their prime. All of that requires an operator with a can do attitude and a partner in Egypt that wants to create win-win scenarios.

  Apache has many charity events and community serving activities in Egypt, especially in Matrouh region. We would like you to shed the light on these achievements.

Apache’s approach to corporate social responsibility programs (CSR) is based on a simple philosophy: “give where we live.” Apache CSR programs encompass a wide variety of activities that create value for our stakeholders and the community. Our CSR activities include: employee-driven philanthropic acts, civic infrastructures, building and maintaining schools, supporting future engineers and providing an environment that encourages a healthy workforce.

In Egypt, our CSR programs focus on both long-term and short-term needs of the communities.  For immediate needs, we have a number of programs where we provide assistance to medical needs of communities.  For example, we donated essential medical equipment to hospitals in Matruh, BeniSuef, and Cairo.  For long-term development of the nation, we focus on education.  At the forefront of Apache’s community efforts is our ongoing campaign to provide educational opportunities through our partnership with Springboard: Educating the Future.  In 2004, Apache funded the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood’s project by building 201 schools for in rural areas in Egypt. Since 2004, Apache has supported the schools with regular maintenance activities, school supplies, computers and medical needs. 7,000 students benefit from these schools yearly, and more than 10,000 girls have learned how to read and write from the schools we built and maintained.  Today, around 2,200 graduates from Springboard schools are currently enrolled in middle schools and high schools to continue their education. Apache is keen on following up on the graduates’ progress and on providing them with assistance to pursue their dreams.  Because we appreciate the people who live and work in the communities where we operate, Apache has constructed a total of nine co-educational schools to benefit the Bedouins in the Matrouh area in Egypt’s Western Desert. Around 300 students attend these schools. Apache Egypt’s engagement with the Bedouins not only includes building schools but also includes regular meetings to exchange information on Apache’s oil and gas exploration and production activities and providing employment and aid for the Bedouin families.

  Apache is considered as a dynamic working environment, we are eager to know the recent discoveries and how Apache utilizes the available resources to get the best outcome.

Apache believes that our most important asset is our people. Unleashing their full potential is what enables us to achieve more and push beyond our peers. In order to continue this track record of positive results Apache continues to invest in its people and position them for success. Our recent performance unlocking the potential in the Ptah & Berenice fields in the western desert illustrates our culture that promotes a “team of teams” environment where everyone is working towards the same goal. By aligning all of our people and bringing them together around a united purpose we are able to achieve the impossible. Our drilling, reservoir, operations, and facilities teams got together and found a creative solution to our constraints in the Kalabsha area. I challenged the team to find a way to unlock all our drilling potential in a way that created value for Apache and Egypt. The collaboration across all the teams was phenomenal and we increased our production to record levels as a result. 

 As one of the Egyptian Petroleum industry leaders, give a piece of advice for the students, early career petroleum engineers, and young professionals as a kind of experience and knowledge transfer.

I think the most important thing is to have an open mind about learning, and work hard to make an impact.  The best way to learn is through doing, so don’t be afraid to take on additional challenges and enjoy the process of solving a problem and getting things done.  It’s also important to know that one should always focus on doing the right things, which means you have to focus on making the right decisions.  And then focus on doing things right, means you have to execute and getting things done. 

  After excellent production records in kalabsha field is there is additional development in PTAH and BERENICE field's?

We plan on drilling a number of additional wells in Ptah this year. In Berenice, we are evaluating all options for optimal development of the field through its entire lifecycle. We recently upgraded the pumps on our Berenice wells, which has contributed to the record breaking production increase. We work to continually optimize all of our operations and Ptah and Berenice will continue to receive a great deal of focus as we move from a drilling focus in the area to a production maintenance and maximization strategy.  But it’s not just about Ptah and Berenice, the entire area around Kalabsha is full of oil production potential.  Besides the two aforementioned fields we’ve made many more discoveries after Ptah and Berenice are found.  And with the new high resolution seismic coming we will be able to find a lot more.

 

Related Articles

Egypt to Reach Self-Sufficiency in Refined Oil Products by 2023

Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tarek El Molla, speaks with Bloomberg TV Simone Foxman at the Saudi Green Initiative in Riyadh.

Read More

In-depth with Wintershall Dea Senior Vice President

interview with Wintershall Dea Senior Vice President Sameh Sabry about their investment plans in Egypt

Read More

Shell Says Its Oil Production Has Begun a Long Term Decline- Video

Royal Dutch Shell Plc said its carbon emissions and oil production have peaked and will decline in the coming years as the company laid out a detailed plan for its transition to cleaner energy.

Read More
Wintershall Deaneptune LogoSIEnppipetrojetTransGlobe SCHNEIDER-ELECTRIChempleEgypt gasNorthAlmansooriSKY CTS exxonmobilSchlumbergerhttps://www.shell.com/Gasco