Interview with Zaid Elyaseri, Iraq Country Manager, BP Iraq

The CWC Group’s Director, Nawar Abdulhadi interviews Mr Zaid Elyaseri, Iraq Country Manager, BP Iraq ahead of the 11th edition of the Iraq Petroleum Conference in May.

Mr Elyaseri shares with us his experience working in the Rumaila oilfield, how BP is optimising and innovating in the current market and his outlook for the future of the industry in the country:

Nawar Abdulhadi: Why is Iraq such an important market for the Oil & Gas industry?

Zaid Elyaseri: As well as being the fourth largest oil-producing country in the world, Iraq’s reservoirs harbours approximately 145 billion of oil reserves, so the country today is clearly an important market for the oil and gas industry and how the world meets its energy needs.

Moreover, with OPEC’s recent decision to curtail oil production supply, there is now clearly an emphasis on extracting oil that delivers values for money for both national governments and IOCs.

In the case of the Rumaila oilfield – which accounts for over a third of Iraq’s total oil production – the lifting cost per barrel is relatively low, making Rumaila’s oil production among the country and the world’s most competitive oilfields. So, despite its many challenges and because of this access to prolific and low-cost oil-production, Iraq is likely to remain a key player in the international oil market.


Nawar Abdulhadi: How does the Government of Iraq and the oil and gas industry work together to drive innovation?

Zaid Elyaseri: Innovation manifests itself in different ways. And in times of austerity the industry in Iraq has had to learn to work smarter.

In the face of a deep operational budget cut, at Rumaila we’ve had to reassess the way we work across the operation. We’ve had to look at where we could optimize processes – for example we now take a lot less time to drill a new well, to put on production and to complete a workover. Innovation at Rumaila has been about doing the same job better, in less time and for less money. I’d add that in many ways, the greatest innovations take place out on the field: the daily jobs that maintain and maximise production in what is largely a brownfield operation.

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