Easy Oil, Not So Easy: Middle East Partners with Global Companies for Tech Support

With a little help from their friends’ technologies, the Middle East can retain its title as the world’s largest oil and gas producer.

Mohamed Al-Hamli, Oil Minister of the United Arab Emirates, said on Monday at the World Petroleum Congress that technology is the “key to prolonging the lifespan of the reservoirs, and we’ve been doing this with our partners for a long time. We are forced to go down the road of enhanced oil recovery and using more advanced technology.”

So who are these partners? Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE:XOM), Royal Dutch Shell Plc (NYSE:RDSA), Total SA (NYSE:TOT), Chevron Corp. (NYSE:CVX) to name just a few as well as some other global producers. Together with state-owned companies, these entities will spend $40 billion in 2013 to establish Middle Eastern resources, representing an 18% increase from last year’s number, according to Reuters.

A lot of this money will go to the oil fields that need technology in Kuwait or Abu Dhabi.

Exxon and Total SA are working to gain access to crude deposits in Kuwaiti oil fields, while Chevron will look to utilize underground steam to heat crude between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia’s border and subsequently pump liquid.

In addition to the increased need for technology, the Middle East region will also see its demand for energy increase faster in the next two decades, more so than other Asian regions, according to the International Energy Agency. Increasing crude oil consumption and natural gas will at home will require Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E. and other nearby governments to have production stay high so it can keep export revenue that finances government spending.

While the Middle East countries lead in producing inexpensive and easy oil, international companies can help thanks to their experience in difficult  conditions. This is where technology will help.