Baker Hughes – Independent Spirit
Baker Hughes is striking out with a bold new vision as an energy technology leader.
Talking to Adogbeji Oseragbaje, Vice-President Sub-Saharan Africa for Baker Hughes Company (Baker Hughes), formerly Baker Hughes, a GE company, it is clear he has had an eventful year.
We’ve formally separated from GE,” he explains. “Following the completed secondary offering of shares in September 2019, General Electric ownership in the company fell beneath 50%.
This change means more than just a change in shareholder ownership and branding. For Baker Hughes, this is an opportunity to chart a new, bolder course as an energy technology company, whilst adhering strongly to its values.
Oseragbaje explains “The separation has given us the ability to stand on our own two feet, which we were already doing in many respects, but that wasn’t as visible because we were on the GE brand” Oseragbaje explains. “As the new Baker Hughes, our employees, customers, investors and community partners have increased clarity around our purpose and commitments to take the industry and energy forward—making it safer, cleaner and more efficient for people and the planet”
Baker Hughes is committed to achieving some ambitious goals to reduce its carbon footprint and to assist its customers through the energy transition as they seek to reduce their carbon footprint as well. It’s a decision that proved to be timely.
“We’ve taken on a very aggressive target to reduce our carbon equivalent emissions by 50 per cent by 2030 and to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050,” Oseragbaje tells us. “Our 2050 target aligns with the Paris Climate Accord and shows our shared commitment to the planet at a time when our industry is under increased scrutiny to reduce the carbon intensity of its operations. Our voluntary commitment to pursue net-zero emissions by 2050 is something our employees are very proud of. Coming out as the new Baker Hughes, looking at the differentiated energy technology portfolio that we have, we are well-positioned to focus on the dual challenge the energy industry faces: to bring energy to the world when demand is continuing to increase, but also addressing the obvious challenges around climate change through our technology.”
“We continue to seek opportunities to lower not just our own internal carbon footprint, but the emissions generated by our products and services,” Oseragbaje says. He explains “We are looking at both big projects and small projects. In our factories, there are all kinds of relatively minor things we can do to reduce energy consumption across processes. We are also manufacturing and engineering our products differently. “One thing we’ve done is to invest in additive manufacturing, allowing us to 3-D print customer equipment parts. By digitalizing product design, we’re able to reduce the amount of iteration in the product design cycle and use fewer materials in the manufacturing process.
“Additionally, if I look at one of the products that we introduced a couple of years ago, the Aptara™ TOTEX-lite subsea system, comprising lightweight, modular technologies designed for the life of the field, is lighter and re-engineered to cut the total cost of ownership in half. The system requires less energy to manufacture and uses less material—which all combined means 30% shorter lead times,” Oseragbaje explains.
“We’re also looking at internal process efficiency improvement options from a global enterprise-wide perspective as well as regional or local initiatives e.g. in transportation, vehicle idling generations have an impact on our ongoing carbon footprint. Our technology development and efficiencies advancement are evident across our product portfolio. For instance, with our global leadership position in the LNG space, we recently deployed our industry-leading rotating equipment, NOVA LT16 – the very first two deployed in Sub-Saharan Africa.
A New Sense of Purpose
While the goal of achieving net-zero emissions is worthy, it has also played a valuable role in our shared purpose for Baker Hughes. It’s a message Oseragbaje is keen to spread throughout the company Sub-Saharan Africa region.
“Our commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050 and to assisting our customers with technology to support the energy transition to lower carbon energy solutions is a positive for our company. It gives a purpose to the entire organisation and is something we can all focus around,” Oseragbaje tells us. “The ambition of bringing energy to the world in a safer, cleaner and more efficient way is something the whole company has been able to rally around. The task for us going forward is getting employees to connect to that on a practical level in terms of the day-to-day activities, changing behaviours or identifying ways they can contribute. Not everyone can be in manufacturing or research, so if I work in procurement in Mozambique how do I contribute to that pursuit? So, we have to ensure everyone continues to feel connected to that goal and do their part.”
“Some of these things are simple – each location is starting to define a baseline of our footprint facility by facility. This allows each facility to find that baseline and go through the ways to make best practices and allow each facility to work through those guidelines and find things they can do,” says Oseragbaje. “They’re setting targets we can measure, with a timeline to reduce that carbon footprint, such as the amount of plastic waste they generate, diesel or petrol consumption. It can be something as simple as this.”
A New Challenge
For now, however, Baker Hughes is facing a new challenge, along with many other companies responding to the COVID-19 global pandemic and current oil price environment. “As you can imagine, we’re working through some of the more immediate challenges to ensure we continue to deliver for our customers,” Oseragbaje admits. “In this period of significant uncertainty in terms of the pandemic, despite the downturn facing the industry and the cost-out initiatives, we are executing, our corporate strategy remains focused on being the leading energy technology company to help the industry facilitate the energy transition. This includes pursuing net zero emissions from our operations and developing technologies to help the industry reduce emissions.”
“The current global uncertainty and commodity price volatility make it more important than ever for energy companies to diversify and drive efficiency improvements. In fact, many of the technology trends that reduce emissions – such as improving energy efficiency, reducing waste, implementing remote operations and capturing fugitive methane emissions – are also good for the bottom line.” He added.
“Now more than ever, our customers will demand technology and solutions for increased productivity and efficiency, to achieve their carbon reduction goals and to navigate the current macro environment. This gives us an opportunity to engage with them on new commercial models focused on outcomes, and new technical and operational solutions focused on improving efficiency and maximizing value.”
He further explained “Digital transformation technologies have come to the forefront as not just strategic, but fundamental to navigating today’s market realities and tomorrow’s uncertainties. The industry must find ways to reduce operating costs, maintain critical asset reliability, and enable remote operations in order to survive.
Software, and specifically artificial intelligence, will be necessary to meet these objectives. Unlike the last market downturn, fast deployment and adoption of enterprise-scale AI today is both technically and economically feasible”. Oseragbaje added “The technology is further developed, and the industry has made strides with the necessary data and infrastructure preparation. For Baker Hughes, our work with the BakerHughesC3.ai joint venture alliance is critical to delivering new efficiencies we need as well as a portfolio of AI solutions that oil and gas businesses can use today”.