Interview with Conference Co-Chair Roman Spitzer

EAGE Digital Talks: Interview with Conference Co-Chair Roman Spitzer

Why digitalization is the future? Conference co-chair Roman Spitzer, head of technology application, OMV Exploration & Production, talks about what we can expect at EAGE Digital 2022.

What is meant by this year’s theme – Leadership, Technology and Business of Tomorrow?

Digitalization has advanced more rapidly than any other innovation in history, enabling us with instant communication, generally enhanced connectivity and accessibility to information to take decision faster and more accurate. Not only the technological aspect that drives us today, but even more, the associated topics of changing business models (e.g., energy transition) and leadership styles (e.g., virtual teams) require special attention and new ideas. All three topics will be covered at this special event.

How would you describe the goal of digitalization, e.g., efficiency, cost saving, exploring and maximizing value of existing data?

Many organizations understand digitalization as a tool to save costs through increased efficiencies and project acceleration. This is partly true, it will save costs through less time spent on projects. However, the real strength of digitalization is to create optionality and opportunities through cutting edge technologies in combination with changed ways of doing business. The combination will allow us to make better analyses of our portfolios, make better choices about our investments and, ultimately, stay resilient to the globally ongoing changes.

For EAGE members attending which are the most relevant aspects of digitalization – machine learning, cloud, data lakes, AI, etc?

I think it is important to obtain a broad understanding of the complete petro-technical and digital challenges and excellency within our industry. Hence, machine learning, cloud, data lakes, AI, IT/OT, sensors, data science ideas, all of it is truly relevant. And on top of this, to envision and discuss future organizations, leadership styles and new ways of working – how digitalization creates value and will help us to stay a profitable and attractive industry sector.

How much of digitalization is new to geoscience and engineering professionals?

It depends on the time horizon. Starting my career as a geophysicist, I was waiting for automated data preparation and analytics for a long time. I was always frustrated about the time I had to spend preparing my projects and data until I could attend to my profession: subsurface characterization from seismic and well data.

Automation of tedious tasks is something that has significantly advanced during the last decade. Hence, data science and the maturity of machine learning products is good news to me. When you ask a young professional in the industry, for sure you would get a different answer. For them it is business as usual and they are looking at digitalization from a different, more mature and educated, perspective. Independent of industry experience, we will all agree that the development is increasing exponentially.

What is needed to prepare a new generation of digital

It is not so much about what is needed for them it is more about how we can attract them to join our industry. The new generation of geoscientists is ready and they come with all their G&G and engineering knowledge and data science skills. What they need is an exiting career perspective in the oil and gas industry. We need to tell a story that goes beyond conventional oil and gas business towards petrochemicals and energy transition.


Dominique Guérillot

President & CEO TERRA 3E

Prof. Dr Dominique Guérillot, former member of the Executive Committee of IFP and Program Director for the Upstream R&D of Saudi Aramco, he is focusing in Oil and Gas Exploration and Production including Unconventional, CO2 EOR and Carbon storage. After a PhD in Applied Mathematics, he joined IFP in 1982 in the Reservoir Engineering Dpt.

He started his career in the Exploration and Production sector developing Expert system for selecting EOR methods and Advanced Compositional Reservoir Simulators for EOR (CO2 and thermal methods).

In 1985, he began cooperating with geologists and he invented with the Paris School of Mines the first software package integrating reservoir characterization and flow simulations in porous media proposing innovative methods for upscaling absolute permeabilities.

After being the Director of the Geology and Geochemistry (95-01, in 2001, he became member of the Executive Committee of IFP and Managing Director of Exploration and Reservoir Engineering Centre with a total budget of 30 Millions of Euros. Consequently, IFP nominated him as board member of several Exploration and Production subsidiaries of IFP: Beicip-Franlab and RSI in France, IFP MEC in Bahrain, etc. He developed new strategic orientations for the business unit he was in charge modifying its business model to generate revenues based on royalties through the development of several strategic marketed software for IFP.

In 2009, he created a Young Innovative Company (YIC), Terra 3E, in Energy and Environment: developing innovative plug-ins in Petrel software among which the first tool for accurate calculations of fluids in place for gas and oil shales and upscaling transmissivities. From 2010 to 2013, he was senior expert for Petrobras, Brazil.

In 2012, he served the European Commission for selecting R&D projects on CO2 Storage. In 2013, Qatar Petroleum called Dominique Guérillot for developing their R&D Centre at the Qatar Sciences and Technology park in Doha, Qatar. He is currently full professor at Texas A&M University in their campus of Qatar.

He published more than 50 full and refereed papers, holds 5 patents, is member of the IJOGCT editorial team, the SPE and EAGE associations, is referee of the Oil & Gas Science and Technology (OGST), and member of the editorial board of the Petroleum Geoscience journal of the Geological Society.

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