Qatar Petroleum, the integrated state owned petroleum company of Qatar, is the custodian of Qatar’s oil and gas reserves, both onshore and offshore. Its principal activities include exploration, production, sale of crude oil, natural gas and gas liquids, refined products, synthetic fuels, petrochemicals, fuel additives and liquefied natural gas (LNG).
As of 2018 Qatar Petroleum was the third largest oil company in the world by oil and gas reserves and revenues from oil and natural gas combined amounted to over 60% of the country’s GDP.
The State of Qatar is an 11,586 sq. km peninsula bordering the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia, with a population just below 2.75 million. The country has the world’s highest per capita income level, and enviable levels of state spending on public entitlements.
Vast crude oil and natural gas reserves (of 25.24 billion bbl and 24.07 trillion cu m respectively as of 1st January 2018) are its main revenue source, making the country highly vulnerable to global oil market fluctuations. This became evident during the exceptional volatility in crude oil prices between the peaks of 2011 to 2013, and the sharp fall in 2015.
Nationally, the Qatari government – in common with countries across the Middle East – was faced with an urgent need for fiscal tightening to reduce the budget deficit (not a simple matter given Qatar’s obligation to deliver the 2022 World Cup).
The result was widespread redundancies in central government, public administrations and state-owned enterprises including Qatar Petroleum.
Appreciating that the years of double-digit economic growth may be over, the Qatari government aims to reduce economic reliance on oil and natural gas. It has significantly diversified into non-oil sectors (notably manufacturing, construction, financial services, tourism and leisure) which now account for just over half of GDP.
Fulcrium’s upstream oil and gas benchmarking training project arose directly from these volatile market conditions. For the first time in generations, Qatar Petroleum was experiencing austerity. By deploying international strategic consultancy firms, it had cut overheads and headcount (30% of upstream staff including senior management) and made a number of process efficiencies. In common with the other top international petroleum companies, it had continued to purchase consortium-provider template benchmarking reports, but it was increasingly obvious that these did not provide the means to translate data into measurable value.
Invitations to tender were issued to a number of international strategy consultancies, to consortium benchmarking providers, to oil and gas industry specialist training course providers – and to Fulcrium.
It was clear from the start of the tender process that the highly sophisticated and astute senior team at Qatar Petroleum were looking for an entirely new approach. They had moved well beyond needing incremental improvements in efficiency and cost reduction. And they certainly did not want training to be an end in itself. They had already established an Upstream Benchmarking Centre of Excellence, but wanted to ensure that this translated to identifying value.
They therefore wanted a methodology that would equip their own staff and the staff of their joint venture partners to build benchmarking excellence into every aspect of the business. They explicitly wanted to acquire – and subsequently implement – the levers that would drive exceptional value and create value excellence.
Following the awarding of the engagement, Fulcrium spent four weeks developing a customised training course.
The requirements were for an in-depth, granular course for one hundred delegates from Qatar Petroleum; and for higher-level methodology insights for one hundred delegates from joint venture partners QatarGas, RasGas, ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Chevron, Total, GE Oil & Gas, and ConocoPhillips. This was delivered over four days in Doha.
Delegates were from many ethnicities and both genders, and were drawn from across the businesses including: drilling and completions, reservoirs and wells, maintenance and reliability, subsea losses, geology/seismic, projects and engineering, operations, logistics, assets, finance, legal, HSSE, and Technology.
Although its primary focus was on Upstream Benchmarking, the course also drew in other aspects of Fulcrium’s total benchmarking services, including Performance Benchmarking for Value Excellence.
Qatar Petroleum delegates were amongst the most enthusiastic, bright and professional people to whom Fulcrium has ever delivered training. The company overall was immensely impressive and progressive, clearly committed to radical improvements in its culture and performance to fully equip it for the 21st Century. It certainly lives up to its reputation as the “jewel of Qatar”.
Since the training was delivered the company has developed its own benchmarking methodologies, and Qatar Petroleum is more than happy with what the training course empowered: