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Sat. December 15, 2018
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IA Forum Interview: Nadia AlZeabot, Kuwait Oil Company
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IA-Forum: You've been a key member of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation's Upstream Center of Excellence (CoE) project.  Would you provide a brief history of the project and its goals? 

Nadia Al-Zeabot: The Upstream Center of Excellence (CoE) was successfully implemented to enhance collaboration and technical expertise shared between Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), Kuwait Gulf Oil Company (KGOC) and Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (KUFPEC). The Six CoE Operational Disciplines of Tight Reservoir Stimulation, Heavy Oil, Water Management, Corrosion & Integrity, Artificial Lift and Improved Recovery Techniques have proven real value that can be leveraged from within the upstream entities. From its initiate phase back in 2013 to its full implementation in the incubate phase, CoE has successfully managed to stand as a platform for teamwork for addressing challenges, collaborating ideas and seeking suitable solutions, with tangible results and varied value opportunities.

IA-Forum: The CoE project has completed its implementation stage.  What have been your lessons learned since its inception? 

Nadia Al-Zeabot: Managing change effectively was identified as the most crucial lever of success for the Upstream CoE. It was important to embed CoE as a way of working across Upstream subsidiaries and ensure that value from CoE was realized and recognized across all stakeholder groups. To develop a ‘best-fit’ change approach for the Upstream CoE, a change vision that comprised of the following dimensions was identified:

- Ensure CoE is recognized and used as a tool in upstream strategy definition

- Ensure stakeholders are motivated and accept CoE as an integral part of the organization

- Institutionalize CoE through the operating model, organization structure, processes and systems

In addition & due to growth in CoE’s size, increased interactions between upstream K-companies’ experts and limitation of email extents, the CoE Team recognized the requirement to establish an “e-Platform” to raise awareness and importance and for easy, fast and effective communication across the 3 upstream entities. With the help of available IT resources, the CoE Team managed to design a dedicated website and IT Tool, for better collaboration and correspondence within the Upstream K-Companies.

IA-Forum: How has the team managed coordinating efforts and gaining consensus among the subsidiaries?

Nadia Al-Zeabot: Success of CoE demanded different levels of alignment from different stakeholder groups across Upstream subsidiaries. To build a targeted stakeholder engagement plan, a number of stakeholder groups were identified. These groups were prioritized based on their influence and impact of CoE on their mandate. The desired degree of alignment for these prioritized stakeholder groups was then identified on the alignment scale. As a result, various change management interventions including organization-wide communications, focus on value creation, incentives, and capability development were implemented to build commitment and manage different stakeholder groups. Specific messages were deployed through high impact communication tools to build wider stakeholder support.

IA-Forum: What are the next steps for the project?

Nadia Al-Zeabot: We are currently moving towards the Expand stage as the long term vision for the CoE was to expand into an independent external entity that provided expert advisory services, supported technical capability development, facilitated expert resource deployment, and led sharing of technical knowledge and expertise across upstream.

IA-Forum: What knowledge management tools is the project utilizing?

Nadia Al-Zeabot: For knowledge management, two dedicated tools were established for the CoE:

CoE Website:

This is a public website, introducing CoE, its History, Objectives, Mission and Vision. It also shows the Governance structure and briefly explains its 6 operating disciplines with their objectives, mission and vision. It also features an Announcement column which displays upcoming events/ workshops/ Experts connect series, etc. The website also features a Media and Publication tab where the visitors can view pictures and media coverage for major CoE activities. 

CoE IT Tool: 

The IT Tool is first of its kind application across Upstream K-Companies developed to interact in real time. Unlike the website, this is a limited forum for active experts within the CoE Pool, to share information, presentation, minutes of meetings, Action Plan, future Road map, technical papers, etc. The tool has 6 segregations (one per discipline) for its experts’ queries and knowledge sharing. The tool also features a separate tab for cross disciplinary interface and sharing relevant data. The CoE Team holds the admin rights to all the IT related activities and is responsible for updating and uploading information in the respective domains.

In addition, we had initiated "Expert-Connect" series for knowledge sharing and capability building among CoE experts as well as external parties.

IA-Forum: Would you discuss feedback loops you're implementing to facilitate change management efforts?

Nadia Al-Zeabot: We had launched a survey at the beginning of the project to collect stakeholders feedback & expectations. Results were analyzed and mitigation plan was developed. After around 8 moths, same survey was launched and a comparison between the new and the old responses was conducted to measure the success of implementation.

Moreover, we had created a generic email ID for the project (upstreamcoe@kockw.com), where inquiries, feedback, and suggestions are collected and addressed.

IA-Forum: What attributes do you feel strategic planners should have to successfully work on a project like CoE?

Nadia Al-Zeabot: If the Center of Excellence include technical activities/disciplines, it is essential that the strategic planner involved have a technical background. He should be a team player and strong in project management.

Finally, he should have experience working on projects that involved change management activities.

Mrs. Nadia AlZeabot will be a session leader at this month's Association for Strategic Planning Annual Conference. She is a Senior Planner in Kuwait Oil Company. She is a professional woman, entrepreneur, a geoscience and petroleum engineering expert with 15 years of experience working with research and development, exploration, field development & drilling teams. Mrs. Nadia has an extensive knowledge in Strategic Management, Planning Processes, Leadership, Change Management, Petroleum Geology & Petroleum Engineering. She has worked closely with consultants from British Petroleum (PB), Schlumberger (SLB), IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN), ChevronTexaco, Robertson, Flour, BHI and others on various technical projects.

Mrs. Nadia is a certified internal auditor for ISO 9001: 2008 from Global Quality Institute for training with experience in delivering to multi-cultural audience in both English and Arabic. 

Mrs. Nadia earned a Bachelor and a Master degree from Kuwait University in Petroluem Geology. She also earned a Master in Petroluem Engineering from University of Southern California, USA, and an MBA Specialized in General & Strategic Management from Maastricht School of Management, Kuwait.

She is a Harvard Alumni and completed the full program for leadership development.

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