Qatar’s Minister of State for Energy Affairs Discusses Qatar’s Energy Future

– Your excellency,
faculty, staff, students, members of the Georgetown and
Qatar Foundation Community, ladies and gentlemen, welcome and thank you for taking
part in this unique event for the Education City Community. We are truly honored to have with us His Excellency Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, Minister of state for Energy Affairs and president and CEO of Qatar Petroleum. Qatar’s Energy Sector is undergoing outstanding transformations led by His Excellency Saad Kaabi. His Excellency plays a vital
role in the development of Qatar both in the management of the country’s fossil fuel strategy and in the diversification of the economy beyond fossil fuels. We are particularly grateful
to have with us a man who has been uniquely
positioned to contribute to a great vision. A vision of using the
country’s wealth and resources to create a sustainable future for Qatar by pursuing investments
around the pillars of human, social, economic and
environmental development. A vision that balances
the needs of people today with the rights or future generations. Georgetown came to Doha
in 2005 as a proud partner of Qatar Foundation with
the mission of supporting the country’s aim to develop human capital and research infrastructure
towards a knowledge economy. Today’s conversation engages a key leader of one of the world’s
most powerful economies. His Excellency Minister Saad Kaabi. It’s part of our effort
to stay at the forefront of knowledge production and dissemination in Qatar and around the globe. Our guest today will
offer us valuable insights into the development of Qatar and how our of teaching,
research and service mission can contribute to a better
future for the nation and the world. So it is my distinct honor to
introduce our esteemed guest, His Excellency Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, Minister of State of Energy affairs and President and CEO of Qatar Petroleum. His Excellency was appointed
to his current role in November, 2018, following a long career at Qatar Petroleum. Starting in 1991 in
the company’s reservoir and Field Development Department, he soon became the
Manager of Gas Development responsible for North Field
Management and development. For those of you who may not be familiar with the scope of this responsibility, the North field is the
largest non-oil associated gas field in the word. Mr. Al-Kaabi oversaw
major development projects that led to Qatar’s rise to
become the world’s capital of Liquid Natural Gas and
gas to liquid production. By 2006, His Excellency was made Director of Qatar Petroleum’s Oil and Gas Ventures, the directorate where he oversaw all of Qatar’s oil and
gas field developments as well as the exploration
activities in Qatar. His leadership in the field
was further recognized when he earned the position
of Managing Director, President and Chief Executive
Officer of Qatar Petroleum in September, 2014 and in 2018, His Excellency was made a cabinet member of the state of Qatar and Deputy
Chairman of Qatar Petroleum in addition to his position
as President and CEO. His Excellency has a Bachelor degree in Petroleum and Gas Engineering from Penn State University,
which is very cold. I can go on and on, but I will be short because I know you’re
here not to listen to me, but listen to His Excellency. The format of this
event is quite informal. First, His Excellency
will offer a few words about his journey with Qatar Petroleum and his new role and his
vision for the future. And then I will ask him a few questions just to set the stage after
which we will open the floor for questions from the audience. Your Excellency, we can only imagine how packed your schedule is. So we thank you for
generously taking the time to visit Georgetown, Qatar and
share your thoughts with us. So without further ado, I’ll start. Tell us about your journey
with Qatar Petroleum and how you manage to provide leadership to reshape such a diverse
and complex organization. What are your short and long term goals for the future of the ministry? And by the way, if you choose
to talk about something else, I’ll listen to you. I know how exciting it could be, so please feel free to ignore my question and talk about any subject. – Thank you very much. First, good afternoon everybody. Thank you for inviting me to come here. It’s always a pleasure
to come to universities, especially, I don’t do
many of these talks. And to me, the main
purpose of the visits I do, I’ve done with a couple of
universities before here is really more to talk to
the faculty and students because students are very
important for our future. And faculties are very important because they actually
teach all the students that come through and
they are there to teach many, many generations that
go through the university. So, it’s always a pleasure
to be in institutions like here Georgetown is a very reputable, of course university. I was just talking to the
dean that, our new, you know, we had to reshuffle the QP board, the new chairman, His Excellency, the Deputy, His Highness,
sorry, the Deputy Emir is a graduate of this university. So he was thrilled when
I told him yesterday that I’m coming here. I made it a point to tell him because he is a graduate
of the university. Regarding your question,
regarding QP in general or — – No, your own journey,
how did you get there then, you know. – I think there is a story that every time we have a graduation, every year of people that come into QP so all the graduates that we have, we have, scholarships that
we have bachelor degree and some, diplomas and
technicians and so on. And every year we have an
event where we basically, celebrate them coming in
and we had one just recently and every year they ask me
to repeat the same story since I’ve been the CEO after
they heard it the first time. Many in my family and my
father, my wife, my relatives that are very close, know the story, but I couldn’t say it until
I was appointed the CEO, but it’s very motivational for newcomers. So, when I graduated from high school, I was very good in math and my
father had an ambition for me to become an accountant. He was ambassador in the UK at the time. So the plan was I would go
to London School of Economics to study accounting. And so that was the plan. So I graduated, I had a
scholarship to go anywhere in the world to study because
I was one of the top students out of high school. So, one of my cousins came to me, he opened the newspaper and he said, “listen, you’re the
smartest in our family,” meaning the highest grade that graduated. He was about five years older than me. And he showed me a picture in the paper. So when he opened the paper,
he showed me a gentleman with thick glasses. He had just basically finished his PhD. And the thesis was the
largest gas field in the world and Qatar and they were
just publicizing his thesis. And so he said, if you go
and steady gas engineering and we have the largest
gas field in the world, you will become in this guy’s place. So this guy, his name
was Doctor Jabra Armeli, who was the CEO of QP. Immediately I changed my track and I called my father and I said, “I’m gonna go to gas engineering.” and at that time I didn’t know what QP is or it was called QGPC, Qatar General Petroleum Cooperation. So I had no idea what it meant. You know, what’s the oil
and gas industry and so on. Although my father, like
most in his generation, started in the oil and gas industry. So he was actually working in the Mesaieed at some point in time. So, I changed track, I
went to Pennsylvania. I think a boring story
of why I chose Penn State because, we talked about Penn State, but I told him I want the
coldest place in the US and so he asked a friend from Shell, the CEO of Shell, because
my father was in the UK. He said, give me the
top three universities that you would accept a anybody
coming into your company. So he said, Tulsa, Oklahoma, number one was Colorado School of Mines, Tulsa, Oklahoma and Penn State. So I told my father, I
want to coldest place. I live in a hot place so I wanna live, you know, four or five years. So he chose, because
he knew north and south and Pennsylvania is most of the north, but on a map, altitude doesn’t show. So in Colorado is actually the coldest, but that’s how I went to Penn State. And I graduated, from
there I came into QP. I studied basically I went
into a drilling and production. So I worked in the Dukhan oil field, which is 80 kilometers west of here. That’s our only onshore oil fields. I worked a year and a
half on drilling rigs and production in the Dukhan then I basically switched
to the offshore fields. So I worked a year and a
half week on week off on rigs and production stations. We have a Halul Export Island, which is basically our
production facilities for the offshore pro oil production. I worked there for six months, which is also a week on week off. Then I went into a reservoir engineering. I became reservoir engineer,
senior reservoir engineer, head of reservoir engineering, assistant manager for North Field, manager of North field,
which is the gas field, that we, you know, was
mentioned, by the Dean, then manager of oil and gas development, which is basically the entire, in our business we call
it the upstream business. So that’s the main core of our company. I was there for about
seven years in that post before I was appointed as the CEO. So in all that journey, I
was going to resign twice. I was very close to quitting, you know, because of different things. You’ll find when you go on that, you know, some of you will graduate very soon. Once you get into the workforce you think it’s going to be, I don’t know what your expectation is, but I thought it was gonna be easy and you know, smooth sailing
and I’ll just get through and things will be very easy and so on. If you work hard enough
you will get somewhere, but there will always be
people to put big obstacles and maybe walls in front of you. And it depends on how hard
you want to get to your goal. I mean, if you have a goal
and you want to get to it, it depends on you. If you want somebody to, you know, spoon feed you information or
teach you how things are done in an organization or get you
to if you’re an accountant you want to learn from
a senior accountant, either he is too busy
or he is not, he doesn’t because I mean everybody
here is different. You have some people that are very social and they will help you and
they will try to help you and some people, you know,
when you talk to them, you know, just get out of my way. So everybody’s the same. Whether it’s in work,
whether it’s in college it’s the same. So getting a hard time while getting there is going to be a normal
thing that you should expect. But perseverance is from consistency and like, you know, some in sports say consistency is the name of the game. I mean I absolutely believe in that. You have to have the same work ethic. You have to be consistent and you have to be consistent
in everything in your life. You have to be, you know, a good parent, a good a worker, a good
person in the society. You have to do well if you expect well. So I think you have to be good
in reading or try to strive. You will never be perfect in everything. But if your motivation to strive
to be perfect in everything and to try to have a package
of being a good person, I think you’d achieve something. But people trying to put
you down or not support you and so on, this is going to be normal. You will have it. Whether it’s in the
beginning of your career, in the middle of their career and so on, but it’s really consistency and being determined to get somewhere and I think you know, there is a very, the reason I say this story because it’s, you know, I come from a wealthy family. I come from a father that was a diplomat. He was an ambassador for 25 years. He was an undersecretary for six. I never asked my father
once for a favor in my work. He never interfered in my work once. I entered the company
and I took everything by deserving to get it
and by fighting for it. He is the one that stopped
me from resigning twice because he said, “you don’t
resign being a failure “because if you resign at a
point where people pushed you, “you know, then you’ve failed
and they’ve succeeded.” So he always told me, you’re
resigned at your terms, when you’re on top. You don’t resign when you’re beaten down. So I think it’s always what you want to do with yourself. So as students and as people going into, you’re young men and women
going into the workforce and so on, you can do whatever you want depending on what you want to do and how much you are willing to give. Long story, but I thought
it’s maybe interesting. – Thank you so much, thank you so much. – They keep telling me to
repeat the story every time. (laughs) – I missed the part that you
wanted to resign twice that — If I may fast forward Your Excellency from the beginning of your career to something that happened recently. And I’m sure this is the
question on everyone’s mind, why did Qatar exit OPEC? – Okay. – And what do you see
as the opportunities for and the challenges to the oil sector and maybe by extension,
what are the threats that the blockade posed and maybe also what are the opportunities
that the blockade created? – OPEC, of course, Georgetown and politics and economy and so on and I
think this was asked earlier but regarding OPEC, I was
appointed as minister in November, of last year, so a few months back. I had been asked to attend, normally the CEO of QP, you see, some of you don’t realize the CEO of QP and the minister where
one position for 25 years. They were separated five years ago. When I was appointed the CEO, they separated the two positions and November it was brought
back again to the old scheme. So, just orientation if
you will, of where we are. So, I was not, when I was the CEO and the position was separated, the minister attended, I didn’t attend. So about a year before I was appointed, I was asked, by His Highness
to attend OPEC meetings. So I had attended about
three OPEC meetings before I was appointed as minister. I will talk a little bit
about what we did in QP and the transformation you asked about in oil and gas sector. I’m a practical guy,
I’m an engineer, okay. So if something doesn’t benefit, I don’t want to be part of it. So, basically my observation
in the three meetings that I attended is that,
we attend the big players if you will take the decision. We sit down and get dictated
on whatever the decision is, okay. So, I would go and wait for
an OPEC meeting to start. It’s supposed to start at 10. You know, teachers, oil and
gas companies, very punctual. We, you know, there is another
meeting after this meeting. So you know, you keep going and the reason we have
our setting today at 12:30 is that I want to make
sure I give you time and whenever you tell me
that you can go, I’ll go. So, but if it was in the morning, I would have chain meetings
maybe 15 minutes each or so you go there and it’s all ministers and the majority are oil and gas related. So CEO’s with them and so on. And we wait there from 10 to 12 for the two, three big players to decide what they want to do with OPEC and then they come out at 12 while we are waiting for two
hours for the meeting to start to say, okay, this is what
we’ve agreed to do, okay. So this was my first
experience of the first day. Second day is OPEC with non-OPEC because this has become a new trend where Russia is also coming into this where they have a second day,
which is non-OPEC meeting. So in the OPEC non-OPEC meeting, which is the next day,
Russia with the big boys, if you will, okay, now have to meet and then we wait again for
two, three hours, okay. I was told it’s 10 o’clock start, so I’m waiting there at 12:30, you know. I get agitated very quickly
with the lack of punctuality and unprofessional behavior
in everything in my life. So anyway, so basically we
start that second meeting. Same thing happens again. So in observing three
meetings, I came back after the June meeting,
there was a summer break and September I met His Highness, I’m giving you a
transparent, honest answer to what happened. So I met with the His
Highness and I told him, this is what I just told you guys, is what I told His Highness. And I said, is it okay for
me to study leaving OPEC? And he said, you know, 56 years of OPEC It was, the question was
the weirdest question. You know what I mean? So I asked the question. So an answer. Of course, I have a track
record of things we’ve done in the oil and gas industry
for the last four years. So there is a credibility of
things that we’ve done, okay. So it wasn’t just, you know,
I came in threw something and so I said, I wanna go and study it if you’re okay with it. But it could be that, you know, they just don’t want to listen to this so I wouldn’t want to waste time on that. So he said, fine, go study it. So we looked at the pros and cons of, like any, you know, if you do a study or in a student’s on anything,
you look at pros and cons and see what are the gains. The positives, and I’m being
very, very honest, okay. The positives is networking
with ministers in one place. (audience laughs) I’m not joking, okay. That’s the only positive
that we could find. Okay. And I put the team top mark, you know, even when the minister went
there’s the marketing lead. So the VP of marketing, okay
is a QP who reports to me, a QP vice president. So executive VP of marketing
reports to me as the CEO of QP. So he is basically attending
all the OPEC meetings because the minister going there, I mean he’s the guy that
markets the oil and so on. So he has to be, so all
my staff actually from QP are second to the minister
for these meetings. So there they basically
do all the work for him. So it’s QP staff he’s
just a minister alone. That’s why it’s separation was difficult and now it’s back again. So, the marketing, legal and commercial, they all sat together,
they brought consultants, they asked third parties
to give them their view. I wanted to do a full fledge analysis and seriously, that was the only positive. Now the negative is
we’re driven to do things where you’re just a basically
dictated what you do, okay. And we don’t have much capacity
to increase oil anyway. We’re very small in oil production, we’re probably, you know,
very close to second or third last in OPEC. Now the third element
that was an added thing that we had from the legal
side is the NOPEC legislation and I don’t know if you’re
familiar with it or not, but it’s basically what that
does, if the US congress and actually after we left, they had passed it now to go to Congress, which basically says that
if you’re an OPEC member and the US sees you
affecting their economy by manipulating pricing, so
you’re controlling production so thereby you’re increasing
or decreasing prices and they could go to court in the US and have a case against you. And then you know, ask for penalties, and financial penalties and so on. And what that would do is
would give them the ability to confiscate assets of that
country in the US, okay. So, basically due to our huge
investment there in the US, we have QIA Investments
and we have QP Investments and so on, that poses a risk. Although that legislation’s
been around for a while and not really being, you know, looked at as something
serious that could happen with the President Trump, I
think, you know, things changed. Things could happen, you know, and I think politicians will tell me more than I could on that area. So that was basically the reason why. So I took that to His Highness, presented to him exactly
what I just told you in a much more professional presentation and a PowerPoint and so on. And the decision was and
this was just in a week after I was appointed as minister, I said, okay, now I can go in and do this because I believe in it. And I went, I presented
it, they gave me the okay, I announced it and then when
there I gave a farewell speech and left him. And so my first and last
meeting of OPEC is a minister. Of course everybody
tried to politicize this as you know, politics here
and a political science guys and girls. But you know, the only thing politically that I think would be, you could link it, is it’s easier for me to leave when the blockade is on then if it wasn’t. That’s my only link, okay. Because the, you know, because
when you’re sitting there with the big players in OPEC
that are also GCC members and you know, you could
be put in a position where, although we take our own decisions, we’ve demonstrated that and His Highness takes his decisions, you know, solely on what
he believes in is right for the country. But it would put you
in an awkward position where if they say, you
know, please don’t leave or something like that. But when the blockade
is there, it’s easier. So you see, I gave you a political twist. – So, what are your goals for the ministry and for the industry? Short and long term. – Basically, you know, since
I was appointed as the CEO, or maybe if I tell you that story, it will cover at basic. Basically what I did is I
said, okay, we need new — I’m the son of QP. I know things that I didn’t like and I wanted to change. But at the end of the day,
it is not I, it is we. You have to have a team and
the team is what delivers. It’s not you personally. It can’t be and I can’t
say I can change QP or the industry and so you
have to have a great team to do that. So we did, this is basically I identified, so if I want to take solely
the credit for something is choosing the best leaders, okay. So I take credit for that. I chose the best leaders in
every discipline that I wanted. And then we as a team collectively looked at what we wanted to do for QP. But I had a vision of, basically
I had about 13, 14 points that I wanted to accomplish from day one. I had written down that I wanted to do. And, you know, I wanted to restructure QP. I wanted to merge some of
the downstream companies. I wanted to merge RasGas Qatargas. I wanted to integrate the
international oil company QPI into QP because it doesn’t
make sense having two. We had a marketing company called Tasweeq. I saw no way of you
producing and not selling your own product and
having a separate entity. There is no link between
production and the marketing. You have to touch the
market with marketing. So I understand what’s going on. So brought the marketing into to QP. And so all these things
that we did is, you know, I brought the best team then we went for, you know, putting all
these things together, what we were able to accomplish then. And some people saw this
as I’m trying to downsize for just cutting manpower or
anything, you know, everything. What we did is methodically said, okay, if I want to, let’s say, you know, if I want to drill a well, okay, so I need a drilling rig to drill a well. How many people do I want? So I brought the best
consultant that does this. So I said, okay, this is a drilling rig. I need to drill the well in 10 days. So how many people do I need
to drill that well in 10 days and then benchmark me with
international best practice. So give me a benchmark,
what am I supposed to do if I am, I mean, how does
Shell look like, Exxon, Total, Shell and then
benchmark across the borders. If I had 14 and I should be 10 then I say, okay, if I have competent
people, that can do this job, it should be 10 but maybe today
I don’t have that competency so it can be 11 or 12 and I
need to work on competency. So it was things like that that we did that ultimately basically said, okay, this is how many people
you need in this sector or this department and so on. And across the board, that’s what we did. We didn’t start with saying, I wanna decrease 20% of manpower or it doesn’t work that way. And that was not the intention. The conclusion or the consequence
of what happened, okay is that we reduced the
manpower tremendously, but it wasn’t an objective. The objective was how can I be benchmark. So what I wanted to do is
have everything there is, you know, I mean, I don’t know
if all of you are familiar, but when you’re first quartile is basically you’re in the
top quarter of an industry, the best, you know,
quarter of the industry. So the objective was to have a KPI that measures every company
that’s a subsidiary, including QP itself to be top quartile in international benchmark. Okay, so that was the objective. So every board has an objective, there is a KPI and we measure that KPI. Last year, the best in
the industry in Qatar in operations was QP itself. In the past it used to
be a RasGas or Qatargas or Capco, somebody else’s better, okay. And I think we’ve turned that around. It’s not that we’re better by far. We’re all first quartile, but also I’m putting
competition in who’s better and measuring it. And this is third party that
we look at so that they can. So you’re having competition between them to being, so to us, safety, reliability and environmental compliance
are the top things that we measure and then efficiency. So we put all that in place. We were able to reduce
our annual operating costs for running the entire
country’s oil and gas industry by four billion Qatari Riyal annually. And that is straight pocket, basically pocketed into our treasury, which means the government
gets an additional four billion Qatari Riyal. And this is something that
I can’t just talk about or brag about. This is something the minister
of Finance says thank you. Okay, because I can’t
just say I’m doing it and he doesn’t see the four billion. So, it’s very measurable and
these are tangible results that you can actually see. So after we finished all that, we said, okay, what’s our
strategy for the future? Which is the question that you asked. Basically the strategy, I
had a vision of what I wanted for the country’s oil
and gas going forward as far as the vision and diversity and international presence and so on. But what I did is I said, “okay, this is the blueprint
of what I think I want. “This is the best in my view.” I brought my leadership team, I asked them to go and
work on the strategy based on overall, you know, one thing to reach a certain. We measure ourselves with production. So we produce 4.8 million barrel oil equivalent of oil today. So what target do I want to reach? So there are other things and elements, but in a nutshell, that’s
really the crux of the matter. So basically we said, okay,
this is what I wanna do. I asked my leadership
team about 12 people. I said, this is, you have
basically homework to go and do. So go and work with this. They brought, you know, one of the best strategy consultants. To me the consultants are
overrated in a big way by the way. Consultants are very good
facilitators and benchmark people. They can give you a good benchmark, they can give you a good data. They can, you know, basically
give you different views of things. They can be a bouncing board on your ideas but at the end of the day, it is what you want them to design that they will design for you. So, we brought consultants,
to work with these 12 guys. They went and worked on
this strategy, not me. So when it was completed,
eight months later they came and presented
to me their strategy. So now the buy in is basically they have to work on their
strategies, not mine. So, we put this together, we
agreed on the finance strategy. Of course there are tweaks,
there were differences in views and so on. At the end, it’s our strategy. We presented it to our board and I presented it to
His Highness the Emir and basically our strategy is to really be top producer in the country, is to increase our value
of resources in-country as well as the natural
resources as much as possible, it is to maintain our leadership position in the sense of always being
ahead in the LNG sector and growing that and so on. There was a question
about Australia or Qatar on who’s first or second, that’s not it. It’s really how can you grow
to become better and bigger and steadily grow your position to have, you know, a great resource like gas that’s for the future and
you’re part of that big picture and that’s where I can talk
about what we did there. But and enhance our petrochemical
sector is another pillar of our strategy. And looking at energy
efficiency and renewable, we’re building a 700-megawatt power plant that will be operational late next year or early 2021 with partners here, but it’s a full fledged power plant that will be 700 megawatts. So, these are the things
that we put as a strategy. And then you’ve heard about things that we’ve, you know, we’ve
gone into exploration. It’s part of it is external. So we’re in Mexico, we
bought 30% of oil reservoir, oil reserves and assets
of Exxon Mobil, Argentina. We are in Brazil. We just had a big gas discovery with Total in South Africa. We’re announcing a discovery
in a couple of days that I can tell you about, but I’ve given you are now a sneak preview that there will be a big announcement. But we’re discovering, we have a discovery in another country that we’ll be announcing on Wednesday. We are in Cyprus. We are, as an LNG producer
we’re selling everywhere. Basically LNG, everybody that buys LNG almost buys from Qatar. – Thank you Your Highness. I wanna give the chance for
the audience to ask questions, but perhaps I could ask one
last question for now at least. Are there workforce skill
gaps in the energy sector? And if so, what are they and
how might one ameliorate them? And more specifically
to our community here, what can we here as
Georgetown grads or graduates, historians, economists, faculty members contribute to fulfilling the gap and energy policy research
for Qatar and the region? – You see regarding development
and training and gaps there is one thing that is, you know, we talked about efficiency,
cutting costs and so on. I mean, there are two
things that we did not touch in all this exercise. We’ve reached 28 dollars during my period and my period is probably, will go down as one of the hardest periods to run an oil and gas industry because you know, when
I came in, it was — When I restructured QP, by the way, a lot of people don’t
realize it was 95 dollars. So I didn’t do it for the price. When we finished it was 75 dollars. So it had already come down. But people were always
thinking about cutting costs. I was doing it for real efficiency, but when we finished and
then it came to 28 dollars, we were already there. So we didn’t cut any manpower after that. You see what I mean? So it was just an efficiency exercise that translated into us having that. But it was you know,
basically when you look at all what we have done, the highest budget in training. So I was, you know, the lowest price and then the blockade came it’s the difficulty in this period. But, you know, the highest budget in the history of Qatar Petroleum for training and development
was in 2016, 17, 18. The highest training budget ever by QP and its entire existence, okay. I’m a big believer in training
and developing our people. Okay, but it is customized training. We have an annual leadership
development program that we have a theme of
things we want to do. We have a rollout of a lot
of development programs for different, you know, categories of manpower at different levels and so on. And we’re going to do much more, you know with Georgetown, you know,
and things we could do, we could look at things
we can do together. I’m not certain exactly where and how, because the economic spot may be something that relates to us. And there is the geopolitical side. I try always not to mix
politics with business. And one of the beauties of
our business and what we do, if you know, I mean, there is a very clear and Qatar is very clear. Oil and gas business in QP has nothing to do with the government and interference of
government on any decision. So if you look at our corporate governance and what we have, we’re like
any international oil company as far as the governance,
the approval processes and the transparency, ethics, all that. It’s very, very segregated
and there is no link. So if somebody goes and
talks to His Highness about a gas deal or wanting
a discount on gas price or anything that
politicians would bring up, he’d say, fine, I opened
the door for you to go and discuss with QP. We welcome everybody with open arms, but you deal B-to-B business-to-business. It’s not for the government to interfere. That gives credibility. It gives, you know, it shows
that we’re transparent, we’re ethical, we do things the right way and that’s why we have such
a success in joint ventures and expanding around the world. – Thank you. We’ll now open the floor for questions. We have a microphone somewhere, right? Is there a microphone? And let’s start with students first with some questions. – Yeah then we get questions from faculty. – And then we open it with everyone else. – We used to love our teachers. Is it the same still (mumbles) – So questions, students no questions? well in that case we will open it to — Okay. Okay. We’ll open it to everyone. Any questions please? Yes, we have a question here please. – [Man] Let me go there or should I — – No, no, they will bring the
mic, they will bring the mic. (mumbles) – [Man] It’s more of a
confirmation on His Excellency on what he said. I’m a own QP on little boy. Like I joined QP back in 99 and I spend over 19 years within QP. And what I want to say is
that the oil and gas industry within the country in here, it doesn’t really just focus
on developing engineers. At the moment right now
I’m the head of production in Al Jazeera Arabia. So I went from an engineer
to a position of management within the country. They have developed us in a
way in order to solve problems and to be objective and in order to work on an international environment with all the training that
we received over the years. I joined them finishing high school, graduated from the University
of Tulsa in Oklahoma as a UPP 19 student, 18 actually. I’m trying to make myself younger, but graduated chemical engineering, went all the way to a
standardization and quality being introduced to auditing
and the world of KPI’s and quality improvement, then
all the way to integrity. And now we were highlighted as engineers and as QP boys to get to leading positions within the country. As if I’m looking back
at my UBB 18 students, you would see like the head of exhibitions that is in charge right now
of the jewelry exhibition at the moment. He is metallurgy student,
graduated from El Paso University. So we are involved within
the country in all aspects and not only the oil and
gas country in our company. Right now I’m a student in HBKU, studying digital humanities, which is gonna put more
into my new position within Al Jazeera. So they teach us or they
implement within our heads that education and
training and improvement and exploring different
positions while keeping and refraining to integrity,
quality and leadership on an international level. And that kind of mindset
set up all what we can say as our generation millennials,
beginning of millennials. Thank you very much, appreciate it. – Thank you. Do you wish to comment? – No, that’s a comment (mumbles) – There is a question there. – [Man] Sorry about that,
just I have to say this. – No, no, thank you. – Ali. – [Man] Thank you. First, thank you very much for being here. We’re very happy to have you. I have a question. So although you guys
are in Cyprus already, I was wondering, since
Sheikh Tamim went to Lebanon, if there are any future QP plans to expand to the newly discovered
gas reserves in Lebanon and the East and Mediterranean. – First we don’t follow the design is the Emir on where
he goes, but we invest. No relation, I said
politics and doesn’t — No, we had participated
actually were approved in the first round of
exploration for gas in Lebanon. We had participated in
looking at that area and we didn’t necessarily
like what we saw technically and we wanted to maybe
leave it for a second round. We’re actually working in Lebanon now to look at a supply of LNG and also for some of the
exploration grounds in the future. So wherever there is an
exploration or an upstream business possibility everywhere in the
world, you’ll find us there. There’ll be surprised when
we’ll announce things. But the thing is that we work
in a very confidential way. Our businesses is competitive. We want to make sure we
have a competitive edge and understand things and so on. So we study things very methodically. We have teams that are
bound by confidentiality. So even in the entire company, when we announce something
to a lot of people, it doesn’t, they’re not aware. But there’s one thing that’s important regarding the strategy that
I talked about, the strategy. There is a video that could come out, actually our PR want to bring it out. It’s me talking about our
strategy for the community and it’s a video that was used, you know, we have the strategy with
the management and the board. And then I went and presented
with my leadership team to all the management of QP so the managers, probably
a hundred people. Then they were champions
from each department that went and presented
our strategy to everybody in the organization
trickle down all the way to the workshop. So what we wanted to do is to make sure that it’s everybody’s strategy. So when they opened the paper and say that we are in Lebanon, they will not say, what
are they doing there? Why? They should be, “oh that’s
following our strategy. “That’s fine.” Okay, so everybody should be part of that. So Lebanon is definitely there but you know sometimes
you like going or not technically or commercially. That was the only reason. – [Man] Perfect, thanks. – A question here and then we go back. – And we are on Amman. – [Man] As-Salaam-Alaikum,
Yususf from Amman. I’m glad really to be here to be a guest for the Georgetown. (mumbles) We are really proud about
what we are hearing from you and just would like to know more about the diversification agenda of Qatar. We know that there is a lot of pressure in both supply side and
demand side of energy. Talking here about gas and petroleum, talking about the diversification away from maybe gas, away from
oil to new source of income. This is number one. This is the easy questions. The difficult one, how
you are getting the time to manage lot of tasks. You are the minister,
you are CEO of energy, you are, I’m sure a
member of a lot of boards. So that will be a good tips
for us to how to manage and get things done in a
good and efficient way. Thank you. – Your first question was
regarding the diversity? – [Man] Diversification agenda of Qatar. – Okay. So for us, our focus is gas. When we departed OPEC we
mentioned that, that’s real. After we departed OPEC, if you notice, we’ve gone into Mozambican
exploration for gas. We discovered gas in South Africa. We signed the largest
single export project ever signed in the US
where we own 70% ExxonMobil 30% to supply basically the world with 60 million tons of additional energy because we’re a big player in LNG. We believe long term gas is the future. Some people call it a transition
fuel to something else, which is maybe more renewable and so on. We have an absolute belief that renewables are going to pick up and
they’re going to really multiply and maybe double or triple or quadruple in the next couple of decades or so. But in any case, the
percentage of its contribution will still be small in relative terms. The gas revolution if you
will, or evolution in the US and around the world and the
people requiring more gas because it’s environmentally
the friendliest fossil fuel we have, we’ll continue, basically growing the gas business bigger. I think crude and other
fuels will be more challenged because you know, people
are going to electric cars, CNG cars and looking for more
environmentally burning fuels for power generation and so on. So oil is going to be
needed for a long time. It’s going to be needed
for chemicals and refining and a lot of things, but it
will be less of a growth curve, if you will, than gas. So I think we’re in the right business. We’re blessed to have a lot of gas and we’re focusing also
in growing our gas. So when we have the US volume
and you have Qatari volume when you think about, you know, we’re looking at this
as a worldwide growth, so the arbitrage possibility
where we have shipments that could go instead of
going from Qatar to Europe, we could send it from the US and then divert European to US and there is economic gain of doing that. And I think, you know,
it basically increases our capability of having a
bigger share of that market because we are quite strong there. So we want to build on that knowledge and strength and experience
that we’ve built over the years. Time is, I think, you know, I do, I’m member of the QIA or Sovereign Fund. I’m chairman of the Investment Committee of the Sovereign Fund, which
is a very important part and QP, I don’t sit on many boards. I mean there are things where you are as the minister obligated to
sit on the board so I’m about, I think going on four or
five boards is the maximum. I declined any other
boards I’ve been asked to go on many boards but I have declined due really specifically
to time management issues. But I think the key is is to be organized, have a good strategy and
have a great leadership team. And I think if you do that then you can manage your time better. It is when you’re bogged down with actually doing people’s work is when you cannot manage your time well. And it is again, the only thing
I take very big credit for is choosing the right people. And I think that’s ultimately
what makes or breaks the success of any organization. – [Woman] Thank you — – And we are, by the way, sorry. And we are in block 52,
which is the entire offshore between Amman and Yemen,
where with ENI exploring. So hopefully we’ll announce
oil or gas discovery in Amman in the next couple of years. (mumbles) No, that’s not Wednesday. (laughs) Oh, you remember Wednesday, okay. I forgot about Wednesday. I said, what is he talking about? Yeah, I shouldn’t have said that but anyway, stay tuned on Wednesday, okay. – [Woman] Thank you. So you started to touch
on this a little bit, but I’m interested to hear
more on your thinking about renewables and the sort
of context of developing this new solar investment that you have and in particular if
you’re thinking about that in any different manner, even though you are now in this position that is jointly energy
minister and head of QP, if there are different logics in those different sorts of positions, or if that logic in
thinking about renewables is very much the same. – But your question is what
about renewables exactly? Our strategy or? Can you be more explicit
on what do you mean by the question? I will answer you, I just wanna understand.
– [Woman] Yeah absolutely. So, what is, why start to
invest in renewables now when you know, you obviously have, as you said, you know,
there’s this expertise in this particular industry? So what is the logic for
branching into renewables at this point? – You see, if you think that renewables is not gonna be a part of the
future of society in general, then you’re living in a
different world, okay. Renewables is a fact. It’s going to happen. We’re going to have that as human beings living in this world. We want to have more
renewables to have a cleaner, basically environment. And if we want to reach
our CO2 emission targets and we want to reach the minus
two degrees and all that, if you’re really serious about that, then you’d have to be part of that. If you look at, honestly, if
you look at what we’ve done in Qatar and sometimes I say
things that maybe normally I shouldn’t say, but
I’m a very frank person. So in Qatar we’ve talked
about solar for ages. We said we’ll do solar reserve, we’ll do as many project, we’ll try different technologies, we’ll do different things. Okay. Again, I go back to being an
engineer, I’m an executer, I like to deliver, I like to go and say, “okay, this is the plan,
this is the time we’ll finish “and let’s do it,” you know. So talking about it too
much was a lot of the theme in Qatar. Okay, but nobody was really taking, like the Americans say
the bull by the horn and actually getting it done, okay. So, for me you know, I
believe in renewables, I think for us, you
know, solar is, you know, I think if you ask a
child in second grade, they’ll tell you Qatar
has sun all the time. Okay so it’s not rocket science that you have the best solar here, but nobody actually wanted
or actually went for it in a few words. So, I put basically I
talked to the company that we own, you know,
a good portion of QEWC, Qatar Electricity and Water
Company, it’s a listed company. They’re the power producer in the country. So they own a majority share
in all the power plants in the country. So, I brought them in
because they are the experts in power production. So I gave them 60%. We SQP took 40%, okay of that company. That’s a company that I
became the chairman of. So I appointed myself the
chairman of that company for the sole reason of getting it done and showing that I’m serious about it. It’s a very small company, I mean, but there was an objective there. So, if you go and do
solar and you approve, so what we’re doing is
an international tender. This company’s called Siraj. Siraj is like it’s light basically in some I don’t know in English exactly, but it’s light. It’s a lamp yeah. So, it is light and so
this is the company name. So there is an international
tender currently where we get the best technology. So we have a piece of land
that is already defined in the desert. So basically what we’re asking for is give us the best power output
from solar technology-wise and efficiency-wise per square kilometer because we have scarcity of
land, this is a small country. So that’s going to be
delivered as a project. So we’ll have first. So I don’t like to go small scale. You have to have economies of
scale to get the best pricing and so on. So when we do that, okay, so that’s gonna be done
by end of 20 or early 21, the promise of the country. So I went to 2022 and told
them cancel your project because they had a project
where they were pledging as part of the 2022 to have
100 megawatts of solar power. I told them I’m giving
you seven times that. So you know, you can do away with that. It’s basically the country’s production. It doesn’t matter where it comes from. So the plant, will be
starting in 2020 or 21, I forgot to say first quarter of 2021, but we’ll have an actual project. So the objective of that
is to have people trained and developed on the best
technology available today on actual plan that goes to the grid and that you are actually making use of. What does that do? It also liberalize gas
that could be needed in two, three years that
would have a power plant for that 700 megawatts. And I can set it for market price as gas. So I’m getting a double gain, if you will, as getting that competency, trying out a big plan and
gaining economic benefit from liberalizing some of the
gas that I would have sold. So does that cover your — and the person of CEO and
minister is the same person, so same thinking. Maybe that’s the answer to the second. – [Man] Your Excellency,
thank you very much. My question is about
another energy source. On the some kilometers away from here, the UAE is building four
nuclear power plants to 5.6 gigawatts. The Iranian said reactors in
Bushehr and Saudi’s are pending considering nuclear power as well. Could you share with us
your views on nuclear power for Qatar? – I hope they keep it very safe. That’s number one for
our waters in the region. So that’s the number one concern
I have is safety actually. But as far as nuclear for Qatar, we’re blessed with a lot of gas. You know, we don’t need
to get into nuclear now. We are a part of some of
the nuclear organizations and things that basically
keeps it appraised of the technology and knowledge and some of the knowledge of
what’s going on in that arena. But that’s something that
we are not looking at seriously now because we
don’t think there is a need for us to look at this at this point. – [Woman] My question is actually similar. I was just about to ask about
the future of nuclear energy because I know that in
December I think Qatar was thought of. There was a news report
about Qatar’s interest in nuclear energy, but
obviously it was December and now it’s February, so
perhaps you guys have moved. – This December? This last December?
– [Woman] This December, yeah 2018. – Where did this report come from? – [ Woman] I believe it was in, I don’t actually remember
which source it was from. – That’s fine. – [Woman] But it was just
Qatar expressing interest in nuclear energy, but not
necessarily any specific plans. – We’re in Georgetown,
could be politics also. Politicians talk a lot,
you know, so I don’t know. – [Man] So this is politics
and business I guess. Here at Georgetown we
like to think of ourselves as preparing students to deal with crisis that don’t yet exist, but we encourage them to
study responses to crisis so that in the hope that that
will inform their own thinking and decision making when
they’re professionals. And last year I had the
opportunity to listen to you address Georgetown Executive MBA students and you talked about
it was February, 2018. The response QP’s
response to the blockade. So now we are a year out from then and I wonder if you can share
a bit about QP’s response and then perhaps update us from where you left off last February. – Basically what happened
is after the blockade, you know, in oil and gas companies, you have business continuity plans and this is put in place,
there was a procedure, there are things that are very clear in most of oil and gas companies. And for us the biggest stress
test was actually having, you can never design a
drill to mimic what happened in the blockade because it
was really complete blockdown, a blockade of all the
resources or sources of Supply and especially Jebel Ali because
Jebel Ali was the main hub for everybody that was
re-exporting from the region. You know to everyone in the
region Dubai and Jebel Ali was really the base for the
redistribution and supply, whether it’s shipments,
containers, equipment, a lots of depots that
were there in Jebel Ali as a main headquarter for companies. So we had to deal with a
lot of that in the beginning where we put all, so basically
I met with all the CEOs of our companies. We put in place an emergency committee basically the headed by QP with
all the companies in place, everybody put in place or in action their business continuity plan
and executed it beautifully. And it was a great really, it was great. You know, we are a big
expatriate community country and for us in the oil and gas industry, you know, anywhere from 80
to 70% in different companies are expatriates. And we love having that
community of friendship and, you know, feeling of family where you have, you know,
80, 90 nationalities coming together and working
together as one family. And most of the people you work with, you stay with and talk with
more than your own families and sometimes. So it was great for
everybody to pull together. It was the effort of
everybody coming together. And that’s why I think,
you know His Highness, you know, and the UN
address thanked everybody in the country, you know,
expatriates and Qataris alike because he felt that, you know, I’m sure I never talked to him about it, but you know, it was very, very well, it was very clear to me that he recognized that because we recognize
that as leadership, of a lot of companies and so on. So it was really a group
effort to put that together to make sure it works. It worked very well. We had issues in the beginning where we had to air freight
some things and so on, but companies adapt and a lot of suppliers had to go to different supply sources. Our marine guys did very well in putting new direct shipping lines
from different countries that are sources of a lot
of the supplier and so on. And business people with business needs, I think match and they can
adapt them and change things. It became a little bit more
expensive in the beginning then it normalized back again. And the way we look at it, a
lot of countries are islands and they’re living, you know, very well. We’re very resourceful
country and we have a lot of you know, capabilities and
we touch a lot of people. One of the things that
you know, a few realize, I think a lot of people don’t realize how many countries we supply. If you look at the effect
Qatar has on lives of people. We talked about the
environment and renewables but the cleanest fossil fuel
known to mankind is gas. So we supply gas to countries
to use for household or use or electricity between five to 30% of different countries. And we supply, you know,
Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, Thailand, India,
Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kuwait, UAE, Jordan, Egypt. And this is all an LNG’s not pipeline. Even the UAE is not a pipeline. You know, we have a pipeline,
but that’s just an LNG. Turkey, Italy, Spain,
Belgium, Holland, Poland, UK and it’s between five to 30%. So imagine if the
production stops in Qatar. Okay. You see the countries that are affected. It’s quite amazing that
such a small country you know, we have had
12500 shipments of LNG. We’ve never defaulted one shipment. Okay. It speaks volumes about the
competency of our industry because, you know, safety, reliability and efficiency of operations
is paramount to everybody coz you want people that
are working in our you know, facilities to go back home safe and you want it to be done
efficiently in the right way and so. So I think you know, we
touch a lot of people and we’re very happy
that we are able to help environmentally a lot of people and a lot of countries
to achieve their goals. – Maybe we’ll have one — – Yeah, final question please. I think we have one more to there. I want to complete
everybody that wants to ask and then we leave. – [Woman] Okay, thank Your Excellency for such an insightful talk. My question is really
around workforce diversity and wanted to understand a
bit what QP is currently doing in terms of feminizing
it’s executive suite, in particular the board and the executive because this morning when
I was on your website, I couldn’t help but notice how
under represented women are on your board and executive
and wanted to get your view in terms of what you’re doing
to tap into that labor market. Thank you. – Yeah, on the board itself
or the manpower in general? – [Woman] I was more
concerned about the board because when you have females on the board that encourages other women
even in lesser roles to apply but when you look at the board and you see that women are under represented, that might actually intimidate you in terms of getting into QP. – If you to international
oil and gas companies, the percentage of women in
our oil and gas industry is higher than international. – [Woman] Yes, I do, yeah. – Yeah, and then, but you
see they started later, okay. So for you to reach a board level, if you look at the board of QP, Deputy Emir, Vice Chairman is myself, Minister of Finance, Minister of treasury, sorry, Minister of Commerce and you have the CEO of Qatar Gas, you have, the Ex Upstream
or the Ex CEO of QPI, okay, retired QP Upstream, retired
QP Operation Director okay. So for boards of this level
looking at the nation’s wealth and future you need representation that is extremely
competent in the industry and have the experience. So the two guys that, you
know, so between, you know, the three guys that are not the ministers are all, you know, 55, 60 to 65, okay. So you need experience. So these guys have 40 years,
45 years experience each in the industry. So to have a board, you know,
myself, 33 years of experience in the industry. So if you have people that are, so this started and these
guys that are there now have started in the 70s. In the 70, not many women wanted to get into the
oil and gas industry. They see us as a dirty
industry and roughnecks and you know, they don’t like us, okay. So, now we are much more
appealing to women, okay, because you know, they see the companies and the professionalism and so on. So now we’re attracting a lot of women. So we have managers and directors and we have board members that are in our companies that are
women, but not in QP board. But we do have women board members. We have women that are
in leadership positions. We have, you know,
leading, whether it’s HR, we have in finance, we
have in engineering, we have engineers in the field. I mean, women are very well
represented in our industry. And we don’t distinguish in
gender and employing, okay. We have a quota for Qataris that we want to bring in every year because, you know, when
you bring in Qataris you need people to develop
them and train them and so on. And we choose on competency
and that that’s how it works. But, you know, girls are, you know I don’t wanna say smarter,
than you know, guys in Qatar because they’re not. They work harder and our guys are lazy, some of them and they don’t work as hard. So you find girls are scoring higher so they get through,
you know, universities and they get better grades
and so on, which is great. But they’re all smart people. There’s just how dedicated
are you on yourself and developing yourself? So, you know, that’s
there but the workforce that’s coming in to our company
is much more women than men. – [Woman] Thank you. – [Man] Thank you Your Excellency. I think you said that you were
appointed as a CEO in 2015. – Yeah. – [Man] That was when the
first GC crisis happened. To what extent has the first GC crisis and the rumors back then
offer possible locate, contribute to the business continuity during the blockade of 2017? – Is a very good question, because actually before
that in the 2008 or 10, I forgot there was a
crisis even before that. That’s actually what started looking at as very good question
because that’s what started the whole issue of business
continuity on some elements. The normal business continuity
in companies is always there. As for manpower business continuity is for, you know, different
things that you look at. But one of the things we looked at was when there was a threat of Hormuz bloc and I don’t remember
exactly what year 10, 11 or something like that where
there was a Hormuz bloc you know, threat. And then we had to look
at, okay, can we sustain our own electricity, water and so on? If that lasts how long? And how can we sustain our own? And we did an exercise around that. But that was the beginning of it. The second was in the 14 where we looked at some of these elements, but not as extensive. We never thought it could
reach what the, you know, how extensive it was looked at or it became with this bucket. But we did well and I think
it’s opened opportunities. It helped us look at different things. If you see the program that
we just launched last week called tawteen or
rationalizing, if you will. We have looked at all our
supply chain and said, “okay, this bottle, I have
the raw material for it. Can I — You see the Baladna Milk, they were bringing sheets of
plastic to make the bottles from outside. We had just a small transformation and a plant of specs and all the bottles are now the plastic bottles
for Baladna are manufactured in Qatar from our own factories. So there are things that we were saying, there were a lot of things
where the government was telling us don’t
get into this business because we don’t wanna compete
with Saudi Arabia or Kuwait because we are one economy. Okay, so we were trying to
protect that we have an economy we’re okay, we have milk in Saudi Arabia and that’s good business for the region. So we don’t compete with that factory or, and in different things. So in tawteen we have 100 factories where we saw that we
have the supply source, we need that product for
the country or for QP. And now we’re saying we’re
going to offer to actually buy and have an off take agreement
with you for five years to give you a sustainable business. So that we wanna start
some of these companies where they are in the free zone. The majority would be in the free zone where they can learn how to
become you know, good business. If QP buys, if the bloc
isn’t gonna last forever, Aramco, ADNOC, Saudi, sorry,
Iran, Arab, we’ll need this these products. So we want them to have a second factory that will have an export capability and then you’re creating
good SME and so on. The other element is we’ve
introduced in-country value. in-country value is basically
everybody that comes in and has a tender that, you know, we have everything in open competition for all our products and supply chain. So when you apply, you’re gonna
have basically a certificate that says your ICV number,
in-country Value number is x. So that number if you have it, the higher it is, the more
discount you will be given in the eyes of the analysis commercially. So if you are 110 million in your bid, there could be somebody that’s 100 million and you actually look like you’re 98. I actually pay you 110, but that balance is paid
at the end of the term of the contract where I have had things that I judge you by. But ICV is like your auditors
is giving you this annually. So I look at training, how much are you training your people? Because I want my competency
of my contractors to be better. It’s how much are spending in-country. So it’s basically all the
money that you’re gaining. How much are you giving
back into the economy? So how many apartments are you renting? How much? How many workshops? Where do you bank? Where are your subcontractors from? So somebody coming out of
Dubai or UK or whatever and just has an agent here and supplies loses out basically in 10 to 15%. So you’ll always compete if
you set up shop in-country and then have a total economic game. And we think we can increase
the GDP by 1.6% annually by doing that. – Well, on this optimistic note, thank Your Excellency. – Thank you. (audience clapping)

2 thoughts on “Qatar’s Minister of State for Energy Affairs Discusses Qatar’s Energy Future”

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