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Last Updated: July 24, 2019
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Muscat, July 21 2019Held under the auspices of the Ministry of Oil and Gas of the Sultanate of Oman, the 10th annual World Heavy Oil Congress & Exhibition (WHOC) will host over 80 international senior heavy oil experts. Industry leaders from Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), TDA Research, Unipetrol, Indian Oil, Occidental of Oman (Oxy), Ejaad and Baker Hughes, a GE Company are confirmed to address conference delegates at the Strategic and Technical Conference sessions across 3 days of the congress.

The congress and exhibition will be held from 2 – 4 September 2019 at the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre and will feature participation from international exhibiting companies including NOCs, IOCs and technology providers. Leading experts and professionals from the entire heavy oil value chain will convene at WHOC 2019 - an annual platform for the entire industry to collectively exchange knowledge on the latest technologies and solutions for sustainable production and upgrading of heavy oil and crude resources. 
Occidental of Oman (Oxy) return to the event as Gold sponsors and are joined in the same category by JP Global Digital and Maha Energy as Silver Sponsor.

Specialists joining the Congress include Dr SM Farouq Ali, Professor of Petroleum Engineering at the University of Houston, and a widely respected veteran within the heavy oil and oil sands sector, who will address conference attendees on crucial topics including heavy oil development in the era of increasing shale production.

Sami Al Baqi, Technical Director at Petroleum Development Oman, Said Al Balushi, Senior Vice President – Technical at Occidental of Oman and Ayman Khattab, President & CEO – Gulf & North Africa, Baker Hughes, a GE Company will jointly address the topic of “Producing more with less: Leveraging new technologies & realigning strategies to improve recovery in current economic climate”.

Speaking on the topic of “Upgrading and marketing heavy oil through advanced innovation in refinery operations, infrastructure and technologies”, Jiri Hajek, Director of Development and Innovation, Vice Chairman of the Board, Unipetrol and Girish Srinivas, Vice President, TDA Research and educating the audience on the establishment of efficient R&D partnerships, AlMuatasim Al Bahlani, Business Development Manager at Ejaad address bridging the gap between academia, industry, and government to address the evolving needs of the energy sector. 

The congress will also provide an important platform for earlier confirmed speakers, Junaid Ghulam, Field Development Manager at Petroleum Development Oman, and Dr Saleh bin Ali Al Anboori, Director General of Planning & Studies at Oman’s Ministry of Oil & Gas to share their insights on radical industry shifts and how the industry can cooperatively unlock new value from existing crude resources.

In addition to the top line Strategic Conference, the Congress will host a technical conference presenting 18 categories of discussions across three days. Technical conference speakers have been invited to share their first hand experiences and findings on pilot projects, existing field operations, new research, and existing and potential technologies for the heavy oil sector. Technical sessions will focus on Advances in Chemical Flooding, Technologies for production maximization, Role of R&D in advancement of heavy oil utilisation, Driving efficiency in brownfields, Data Analytics and Integration, and Emerging methods in EOR and heavy oil production amongst others.

Showcasing representation from over 41 countries, the technical conference will feature shortlisted technical speakers from Petroleum Development Oman, Sasol Performance Chemicals, Bechtel, Engineers India Limited, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Saudi Aramco, Ace Energy Group, Basra Oil Company, PDVSA, PEMEX, Petronas, Salamander Solutions Inc. and Occidental of Oman.

While the Technical and Strategic Conferences are accessible to conference delegates only, a new feature introduced this year will allow visitors to take advantage of new content presented at the event. The E-poster Presentations will take place on the Exhibition Floor across three days and feature over 20 presentations covering the entire heavy oil value chain.

Over 10 Omani Local Community Contractors have confirmed their participation at the PDO LCCs and SLCCs Pavilion, including Al Baraka Oilfield Service, Al Shawamikh Oil Services, Dohat Al Khaleej LLC, Berba, Mideast Integrated Drilling & Well Services, Peace Land Energy, and MSTC Oman.

WHOC 2019 will open doors to over 3,000 attendees, 500 conference delegates and 80 participating companies from more than 50 countries. Considered the world’s leading heavy oil congress and exhibition, the conferences focus on upstream, midstream, and downstream heavy oil operations. The Congress and Exhibition will be hosted in Oman for the second year in a row is hosted by Petroleum Development Oman.

“With Oman’s vast unexploited heavy oil resources, investor friendly environment and transparent business practices, Oman is definitely a place where we want to be. We are very pleased to be part of the 2019 World Heavy Oil Congress and Exhibition and look forward to sharing our industry knowledge and gaining some valuable insights from the world’s most influential leaders,” said Jonas Lindvall, CEO and Managing Director of Maha Energy.

The Congress will include a two-day strategic conference and three-day technical conference alongside a three-day international exhibition. The event will include panels, interactive sessions, and networking opportunities with top oil and gas industry leaders, technology providers and professionals from around the globe.


About The World Heavy Oil Congress & Exhibition (WHOC)

Held under the auspices of the Ministry of Oil & Gas, Sultanate of Oman, the World Heavy Oil Congress & Exhibition delivers a global platform for the entire heavy oil value chain to convene, connect, and engage in conversation. The event offers heavy oil professionals unparalleled opportunity for knowledge exchange through a three-day technical conference on topics from upstream, midstream, and downstream heavy oil operations, and heavy oil research and technology.

Join the Sultanate of Oman’s Ministry of Oil & Gas, Petroleum Development Oman, and the global heavy oil sector in Oman from 2 – 4 September 2019 for the largest congregation of heavy oil professionals globally.

For more information, visit https://worldheavyoilcongress.com/

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Royal Dutch Shell Poised To Become Just Shell

On 10 December 2021, if all goes to plan Royal Dutch Shell will become just Shell. The energy supermajor will move its headquarters from The Hague in The Netherlands to London, UK. At least three-quarters of the company’s shareholders must vote in favour of the change at the upcoming general meeting, which has been sold by Shell as a means of simplifying its corporate structure and better return value to shareholders, as well as be ‘better positioned to seize opportunities and play a leading role in the energy transition’. In doing so, it will no longer meet Dutch conditions for ‘royal’ designation, dropping a moniker that has defined the company through decades of evolution since 1907.

But why this and why now?

There is a complex web of reasons why, some internal and some external but the ultimate reason boils down to improving growth sustainability. Royal Dutch Shell was born through the merger of Shell Transport and Trading Company (based in the UK) and Royal Dutch (based in The Netherlands) in 1907, with both companies engaging in exploration activities ranging from seashells to crude oil. Unified across international borders, Royal Dutch Shell emerged as Europe’s answer to John D Rockefeller’s Standard Oil empire, as the race to exploit oil (and later natural gas) reserves spilled out over the world. Along the way, Royal Dutch Shell chalked up a number of achievements including establishing the iconic Brent field in the North Sea to striking the first commercial oil in Nigeria. Unlike Standard Oil which was dissolved into 34 smaller companies in 1911, Royal Dutch Shell remained intact, operating as two entities until 2005, when they were finally combined in a dual-nationality structure: incorporated in the UK, but residing in the Netherlands. This managed to satisfy the national claims both countries make on the supermajor, second only to ExxonMobil in revenue and profits but proved to be costly to maintain. In 2020, fellow Anglo-Dutch conglomerate Unilever also ditched its dual structure, opting to be based fully out of the City of London. In that sense, Shell is following the direction of the wind, as forces in its (soon to be former) home country turn sour.

There is a specific grievance that Royal Dutch Shell has with the Dutch government, the 15% dividend tax collected for Dutch-domiciled companies. It is the reason why Unilever abandoned Rotterdam and is now the reason why Shell is abandoning The Hague. And this point is particularly existentialist for Shell, since its share prices has been battered in recent years following the industry downturn since 2015, the global pandemic and being in the crosshairs of climate change activists as an emblem of why the world’s average temperatures are going haywire. The latter has already caused the largest Dutch state pension fund ABP to stop investing in fossil fuels, thereby divesting itself of Royal Dutch Shell. This was largely a symbolic move, but as religious figures will know, symbols themselves carry much power. To combat this, Shell has done two things. First, it has positioned itself to be at the forefront of energy transition, announcing ambitious emissions reductions plans in line with its European counterparts to become carbon neutral by 2050. Second, it is looking to bump up its dividend payouts after slashing them through the depths of the Covid-19 pandemic and accelerating share buybacks to remain the bluest of blue-chip stocks. But then, earlier this year, a Dutch court ruled that Shell’s emissions targets were ‘not ambitious enough’, ordering a stricter aim within a tighter timeframe. And the 15% dividend tax remains – even though Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s coalition government has been attempting to scrap it, with (it is presumed) some lobbying from Royal Dutch Shell and Unilever.

As simplistic it is to think that Shell is leaving for London believes the citizens of the Netherlands has turned its back on the company, the ultimate reason was the dividend tax. Reportedly, CEO Ben van Buerden called up Mark Rutte on Sunday informing him of the planned move. Rutte’s reaction, it is said was of dismay. And he embarked on a last-ditch effort to persuade Royal Dutch Shell to change its mind, by immediately lobbying his government’s coalition partners to back an abolition of the dividend tax. The reaction was perhaps not what he expected, with left-wing and green parties calling Shell’s threat ‘blackmail’. With democracy drawing a line, Shell decided to walk; or at least present an exit plan endorsed by its Board to be voted by shareholders. Many in the Netherlands see Shell’s exit and the loss of the moniker Royal Dutch – as a blow to national pride, especially since the country has been basking in the glow of expanded reputation as a result of post-Brexit migration of financial activities to Amsterdam from London. The UK, on the other hand, sees Shell’s decision and Unilever’s – as an endorsement of the country’s post-Brexit potential.

The move, if passed and in its initial stages, will be mainly structural, transferring the tax residence of Shell to London. Just ten top executives including van Buerden and CFO Jessica Uhl will be making the move to London. Three major arms – Projects and Technology, Global Upstream and Integrated Gas and Renewable Energies – will remain in The Hague. As will Shell’s massive physical reach on Dutch soil: the huge integrated refinery in Pernis, the biofuels hub in Rotterdam, the country’s first offshore wind farm and the mammoth Porthos carbon capture project that will funnel emissions from Rotterdam to be stored in empty North Sea gas fields. And Shell’s troubles with activists will still continue. British climate change activists are as, if not more aggressive as their Dutch counterpart, this being the country where Extinction Rebellion was born. Perhaps more of a threat is activist investor Third Point, which recently acquired a chunk of Shell shares and has been advocating splitting the company into two – a legacy business for fossil fuels and a futures-focused business for renewables.

So Shell’s business remains, even though its address has changed. In the grand scheme of things, never mind the small matter of Dutch national pride – Royal Dutch Shell’s roadmap to remain an investment icon and a major driver of energy transition will continue in its current form. This is a quibble about money or rather, tax – that will have little to no impact on Shell’s operations or on its ambitions. Royal Dutch Shell is poised to become just Shell. Different name and a different house, but the same contents. Unless, of course, Queen Elizabeth II decides to provide royal assent, in which case, Shell might one day become Royal British Shell.

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