CERAWeek '13: Water treatment technology drives unconventional gas growth

By Ben DuBose
Online Editor

HOUSTON -- The development of unconventional energy sources will depend on progress made in water treatment technologies and wastewater management, the CEO of the oil and gas division of Siemens Energy said Wednesday.

Adil Toubia spoke at an IHS CERAWeek strategy session on the globalization of unconventional resources. He noted that over the next few years, the largest unconventional growth outside of North America will be in the gas sector -- led by China, Argentina and Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia is particularly intriguing, the Siemens executive said, because it has the resources and know-how to “make a big bet” on unconventional energy.

However, further technology development is needed to compensate for the lack of water in arid countries.

Toubia said that Siemens has a global footprint and is open to partnering with companies in new unconventional plays around the world, but stressed that Siemens will base investment decisions on the potential for “return on investment” and “proper focus”.

The panel, which included executives from Santos, Repsol and Statoil, agreed that unconventional development requires a new type of corporate mentality and focus for oil and gas companies.

In particular, it will require an even greater emphasis on having the right technical expertise and supply chain management, as well as an increased willingness to seek partnerships, the panelists said.

From a broader standpoint, the panelists expect unconventional production to expand globally. But they cautioned that the pace of development will be slower worldwide than in North America because of regulatory constraints, inadequate access to land and unattractive commercial terms.

The IHS CERAWeek conference continues through Friday at the Hilton Americas in downtown Houston.

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