Director's Blog

October 2023

Hisham Zubari

A Dynamic Decade Ahead of SPE MENA

I would like to begin this message with heartfelt condolences for the families and communities who have been affected by the recent tragic events in Morocco and Libya. The earthquake in Morocco and the devastating flood in Libya have claimed numerous lives and left profound permanent impacts on these nations. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who have lost loved ones and are dealing with the challenges brought about by these natural catastrophes. May they find strength and support during their time of need.

We extend our deepest appreciation to the brave emergency responders who swiftly arrived by road, air, and sea from all over the world, including aid groups that reached remote areas in Morocco's mountains to assist with search and rescue operations and the evacuation of people stranded by the floodwaters to safety.

While the shift towards renewable energy is important for the long-term well-being of our planet, it is equally important to recognise the immediate and life-saving role of fossil fuels. These resources provided the energy necessary for prompt transportation of emergency responders, power generation, infrastructure maintenance, heating, shelter, water purification, communication, supply chain sustenance, and medical equipment such as ventilators and surgical suites, as well as medical care delivery.

Two New MENA SPE Sections Born

Congratulations and many thanks to the leaders responsible for the establishment of 2 Sections in MENA region: The SPE Tunis Section in Tunisia and the SPE Libya Section in Libya. We wish you all the best serving the community.

Twenty SPE Members from MENA Received Recognition Awards

The SPE Recognition Awards celebrate outstanding individuals whose contributions have added value to the community. Congratulations to each recipient for the exceptional service to the community:

  • Completions Optimisation and Technology: Ahmed Bukhamsin, Saudi Aramco
  • Data Science and Engineering Analytics: Serkan Dursun, Saudi Aramco
  • Drilling Engineering: Alexey Ruzhnikov, SLB
  • Formation Evaluation: Abdallah Alshehri, Saudi Aramco 
  • Management: Dalia Abdallah, ADNOC
  • Production and Operations: Tao Chen, Saudi Aramco      
  • Projects, Facilities, and Construction: Raja Srinivasa Rao Aita, ADNOC
  • Reservoir Description and Dynamics: Subhash Ayirala, Saudi Aramco
  • Sustainability and Stewardship in the O&G Industry: Abdelwahab Noufal, ADNOC
  • Distinguished Achievement for PE Faculty: Emad Walid Al-Shalabi, Khalifa University of Science and Technology
  • Public Service: Sultan Ahmed Loobari, Al Yasat Petroleum Operations LLC 
  • Young Professional Member Outstanding Service:
    • Maissa Souayeh, Sultan Qaboos University
    • Shamma Alshehhi, ADNOC
  • Service:
    • Oumer Tahir, Hunting Energy Services     
    • Khalid Javid, ADNOC 
    • Amena Saeed Al Shehhi, ADNOC
    • Umer Farooq, ADNOC     
    • Mohamed Mahmoud Abdelrahman, Dana Gas Egypt
    • Hafez El-Shamy, Egyptian General Petroleum Corp
  • Distinguished Corporate Support Award: Saudi Aramco

Two Must-Attend Major SPE MENA Events Coming Up

ADIPEC 2023 | 2–5 October 2023 The ADIPEC is the world's largest energy industry event, bringing together over 2,200 companies worldwide to showcase the latest energy innovations and strategies. It includes 54 key industry players and 30 international country pavilions, all focused on accelerating decarbonisation and fostering collaboration. ADIPEC features four specialised zones—Decarbonisation, Maritime and Logistics, Digitalisation, and Manufacturing and Industrialisation—aimed at strengthening partnerships and driving future industry growth.

IPTC 2024 | 12–14 February 2024 | Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ( The IPTC is sponsored by four industry organisations and societies, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG); the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE); the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG); and the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE). IPTC 2024 has attracted a record number of abstracts of 5,241 from 402 organisations and 62 countries; unprecedented in the history of SPE.

MENA Contribution to has Increased

The above 2 MENA prominent events, among numerous others featured listed on the Events Calendar (Events Calendar (, have made substantial contributions to the Global number of papers published through SPE events. Such contribution underscores the enduring commitment of the scientific and technical communities to SPE and signifies the industry's robust recovery.

The graph below provides a visual representation of SPE's increasing vitality, as evidenced by the rising number of publications on Additionally, it underscores the expanding appeal and impact of MENA events on the global community, emphasising the region's expanding role as a hub for knowledge exchange and dissemination—core principles upon which SPE was originally established. MENA events share of global publications has increased from 26% to 40% in 4 years.

Graph showing MENA region's positive contribution to OnePetro


Six Universities Prequalified to the Petrobowl Finals

It's with immense pride that we extend our congratulations to the exceptional universities that have earned their place in the prestigious International Petrobowl finals that will take place in San Antonio during the ATCE later this month. Congratulations to:

  • Suez University
  • The American University of Cairo
  • University of Khartoum
  • Texas A&M University at Qatar
  • University of Tripoli
  • Sultan Qaboos University

A Dynamic Decade Ahead of MENA

A decade from now, we will witness a different energy landscape and ecosystem, reshaping our lives, perspectives, and mindsets. In MENA, sustainability initiatives are flourishing, solidifying the region's dedication to leading global energy transition. Remarkable progress is being made in sustainable and renewable energy ventures, encompassing visionary projects. The Green ESG and Sustainable Financing instruments have experienced a surge in popularity in GCC; from $605 million in 2021 to $8.5 Billion in 2022 in the forms of bonds and Sukuk. These are some of the ongoing initiatives at MENA:

  • The UAE has approved 78 environmental initiatives in preparation for hosting COP28 later this year, encompassing strategies to reduce carbon emissions, regulate solar energy usage, promote sustainable tourism, and foster eco-friendly development.
  • Saudi Arabia unveiled 13 new renewables projects, including the construction of the world's largest green hydrogen plant and the largest BESS at NEOM, and (my favorite) the Middle East Green Initiative.
  • Qatar shared plans to build the world’s largest blue ammonia plant, with a remarkable annual production capacity of approximately 1.2 MTPA.
  • The Sultanate of Oman has signed six agreements worth a total of $20bn with international developers to build green hydrogen production plants inside the country.
  • Egypt signed the Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework 2023–27 with the United Nations in May. Egypt furthermore sealed financial closure agreements for 4 renewable energy projects by 2030 that include establishing a new wind farm in the Gulf of Suez with a capacity of 500 MW.
  • Morocco has set a bold target of achieving a 52% renewable energy share in its electricity mix by 2030, building upon its existing of over 4 GW renewable energy capacity from wind, hydro, and solar projects.

These are just a few examples of a larger number of MENA initiatives that are not only revolutionising the regional energy sector but are also establishing MENA as a worldwide leader in sustainability. The Middle East hosting both COP27 and COP28 underscores its resolute commitment to combating climate change and championing global sustainability. MENA is making significant strides not only in Oil and Gas supplies to the world for energy but also in sustainable and renewable energy initiatives. For MENA, it's not going to be a matter of choosing one energy source over another; instead, it's about embracing an energy mix that will bring prosperity and wealth to their citizens at minimum emissions.

In Memoriam: Before we conclude, let us observe a moment of silence to remember and honour the lives lost in the recent natural disasters in Morocco and Libya. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families, and we stand in solidarity with the affected communities during this challenging time.

Hesham Zubari
MENA Regional Director