Interview with Dominic Genetti, ExxonMobil Qatar’s President and General Manager about the company’s relationship with the State of Qatar that can be traced back more than half a century, and its work in the local community.
(September 7, 2021 – Qatar) – 1. ExxonMobil Qatar is largely involved in community development programs. Can you tell us why?
The work ExxonMobil does in Qatar is multifaceted and includes both our business activities with Qatar Petroleum and our community outreach programs. It’s driven by our commitment to building on the firm foundation of our relationship with the State of Qatar – that we can trace back more than half a century.
Over the years, we have built a relationship that has grown to become a close and strong friendship based on cooperation, trust and mutual respect; and our objective as an active participant in the local community is to help realize the National Vision 2030 and contribute to a better and brighter future for Qatar and its people.
We believe that one of the greatest contributions we can make in Qatar as a responsible member of the community is to work with local partners to help provide the energy to build human capacity and contribute to a thriving society. To this end, we rolled out a national outreach strategy in 2013 that focuses on longer term programs, and further enhances our commitment to supporting Qatar and its people now and in the years to come.
Our community investments are aligned with economic and social goals and emphasize science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education ,and capacity building and research. We also support programs that inspire healthy lifestyles within the local community.
Moreover, through our community development programs, we are committed to supporting Qatar in addressing the “dual challenge” of supplying the world with affordable energy while mitigating climate risk. Our efforts are focused on Qatar’s LNG value chain, but our research and methodologies have implications across a range of sectors in Qatar.
2. Tell us about ExxonMobil Qatar’s community development programs.
As I mentioned, education and STEM skills in particular are at the heart of our community development programs as critical components to ensuring today’s students are prepared for the jobs of the 21st century. We work closely with local partners to invest in meaningful programs that support the development of quality education, build human capacity, and promote active and healthy living within Qatar’s community.
Communities need excellent schools, universities and education systems. ExxonMobil is pleased to work jointly with its partners to further help Qatar build these communities and a sustained high quality of life for generations to come.
These partners include the Ministry of Education and Higher Education. In 2018, following our successful involvement in the Ministry of Education and Higher Education’s first science and technology secondary school, we took the next step in our partnership to support energy labs at two new STEM schools. The schools are part of a ministry-led initiative developed to build STEM-literate employees for Qatar’s workforce.
We have excellent collaboration with Qatar Foundation (QF). Our partnership with QF reached a new level in 2020, when we signed an agreement to build on our decade-long relationship and continue to help fulfil the objectives of the Qatar National Vision 2030. Some of our projects and initiatives with QF include: The World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), Education Above All, Pre-University Education Center, Al Shaqab Riding Academy, and Your Health First.
We also collaborate on programs that support Qatari educators through partners like Teach for Qatar (TFQ). ExxonMobil has been a supporting partner of TFQ since 2016. Our partnership provides opportunities for knowledge sharing at an advisory level, ongoing collaboration and specialized training for TFQ fellows at the annual Qatar University ExxonMobil Teachers Academy. TFQ aims to attract the best graduates and professionals in country and equip them with skills and knowledge to teach in government schools for two years through a “Leadership Journey” program. Close to 120 individuals have been trained as teachers, impacting more than 24,000 students to date.
Qatar University (QU) is another strategic partner in education, and we have worked closely with them for over two decades. Our partnership has produced several successful educational programs and initiatives, particularly in STEM, and continues to support high-quality teaching and learning opportunities in Qatar’s education system.
In 2012, we made a commitment to establish the Qatar University ExxonMobil Teachers Academy, the first ExxonMobil Teachers Academy launched outside of the United States. The academy helps teachers enhance their understanding of math and science content, builds on their expertise in facilitating student learning through problem-solving and inquiry, and uses links between math and science to support student learning. It also provides them with the opportunity to access the latest teaching strategies so they can better provide their students with enriching STEM opportunities, and the hope of successful futures in STEM that can benefit their communities.
With the support of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, the academy has reached over 380 teachers. These teachers have gone on to impact more than 18,000 students in Qatar’s independent schools, deepening their knowledge of math and science and improving the education field.
We also support programs that promote Qatar’s youth and culture. Our partnership with INJAZ Qatar was established when the organization was founded in 2007. We share common principles and values, and also believe in the capabilities of Qatar’s youth. Initiatives that we support, such as the INJAZ Mubadara Competition, offer Qatari youth the support they will need to succeed in a globally competitive and dynamic world. To date, more than 100,000 students have benefited from the programs INJAZ offers.
Our partnership with Qatar Museums (QM) is an extremely important one to us. QM shares a vision of preserving Qatari culture and heritage, and we are excited that it is supporting ExxonMobil Research Qatar’s (EMRQ) efforts to help protect Qatar’s iconic dugong population by hosting the Seagrass Tales, Dugong Trails exhibition that was held at the National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ). Conservation efforts can only truly succeed with society’s support, which is best achieved when society is well informed on the important role species play in Qatar’s unique marine ecosystem. This will bring us even closer to our objective of ensuring Qatar’s dugong population continues to thrive in its natural habitat for generations to come.
We are also honored to be the platinum sponsor of Qatar-U.S. Year of Culture 2021 – a Qatar Museums initiative. As a U.S. company and an active participant in the local communities of both countries, our participation emphasizes the strong partnership between the two countries that has extended beyond economics and grown into a true friendship.
As I mentioned earlier, our community development programs also include support for healthy lifestyles. That’s why, ExxonMobil has long been a supporter of many sporting activities in Qatar, inspiring healthy lifestyles within the local community, while supporting Qatar to grow on the world stage as a global sporting destination through partnerships with numerous Qatari sporting federations and entities.
We are particularly proud of our partnership with Qatar Tennis Federation (QTF) that started in 1993, and our title sponsorship of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open for 26 years. Our unique partnership has become a model of cooperation – one that began with a vision to stage a global event that appeals to tennis fans of all ages from around the world.
Today, thanks to collaborative efforts, the Qatar ExxonMobil Open has grown to become an outstanding and extremely popular tournament, attracting players, spectators and fans from all over the world and providing a stage for young, up-and-coming Qatari tennis stars.
3. ExxonMobil Research Qatar (EMRQ) is also a main component of the company’s national outreach strategy. Could you explain how?
EMRQ was established in 2009 to support Qatar’s research, safety, water reuse, LNG technology, geology and environmental efforts, and also help fulfil the objectives of its National Vision 2030. The center is located at Qatar Science and Technology Park and is one of its first anchor tenants.
Scientists and researchers at EMRQ – some of whom are Qatari nationals – have been advancing key research inenvironmental management, water reuse, safety, LNG technologyand modern geology, working in partnership with the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, Qatar University, Qatar Petroleum, Qatargas and others. Their efforts helped earn EMRQ the Qatar Petroleum HSE Excellence and Innovation Award.
EMRQ’s team has successfully developed new concepts and projects that have benefited the oil and gas industry in Qatar and around the world, while safeguarding the country’s unique environment and marine life, including Qatar’s iconic dugong.
Several studies have been carried out at EMRQ to explore ways to preserve Qatar’s dugong population and ensure its protection for generations by raising public awareness. Dugongs are IUCN-listed as vulnerable, which suggests that they are facing a high risk of extinction in the wild in the medium term future.
Looking ahead, the center will continue to push the boundaries of innovation and discovery, and remain focused on finding solutions for challenges in areas of strategic interest to Qatar and ExxonMobil.
4. Climate change is the defining issue of our time. Can you give us some insight into what ExxonMobil’s position is on this and what you’re doing about it in Qatar?
ExxonMobil has supported development of climate science in partnership with governments and academic institutions for nearly 40 years. Our four decades of research in climate science has resulted in nearly 150 publicly available papers, including more than 50 peer-reviewed publications, and nearly 300 patents for cutting-edge technological advances in emissions reductions and other related applications. Our scientists have been involved in the forefront of climate research, understanding and working with the world’s leading experts on climate.
We are committed to affordable energy to support human progress while advancing effective solutions to address the risks of climate change. That’s why we are working to be part of the solution. Since 2000, ExxonMobil has invested over $10 billion in projects to research, develop and deploy lower-emission energy solutions.
To support development of affordable and abundant solutions, in February, EM started a new company called EM Low Carbon Solutions, with an initial focus on three promising technologies: Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), Hydrogen, and Biofuels.
CCS promises the potential to reduce carbon emissions significantly at a competitive cost. CCS technology is mature and can be applied broadly where storage is available.
As a company, we have more than 30 years of experience in CCS technology, and a current carbon capture capacity of about 9 million metric tons per year. We were the first company to capture more than 120 million metric tons of CO2, which is equivalent to the annual emissions of more than 25 million cars.
In 2019, ExxonMobil launched the Qatar Carbon Management Initiative (QCMI) as part of EMRQ. QCMI is aimed at supporting Qatar in addressing the dual challenge of providing reliable, affordable energy while minimizing environmental impacts and the risks of climate change. Our efforts are focused on Qatar’s LNG value chain, but our research and methodologies have application across a range of sectors in Qatar.
We believe that QCMI will serve as a unique opportunity for collaboration in the Qatar energy sector towards developing a carbon management roadmap for Qatar and to help highlight Qatar’s decarbonization efforts in the energy sector to the rest of the world.
5. There is interest among local entities in plastic recycling. Can you tell us what ExxonMobil is doing to address this issue?
In 2019, ExxonMobil helped launch the Alliance to End Plastic Waste as a founding member. We worked with companies from multiple sectors to form the world’s most significant organization of business and non-profit partners to help address plastic waste. The membership has since grown to nearly 50 organizations that have collectively committed more than $1 billion to develop safe, scalable and economically viable solutions. The Alliance aims to accelerate additional investment by proving the effectiveness of these solutions, particularly in countries with the highest levels of plastic waste in the environment.
ExxonMobil shares society’s concern about plastic waste and agrees it must be addressed. Plastics are valuable, and they should not end up in our oceans or the environment. Solutions will require innovation and collaboration from companies across the entire plastics value chain, waste management companies, retail brands, NGOs, governments and consumers.
In its first year, the Alliance kicked off several projects targeting areas where the environmental impact of plastic waste is highest, including: RenewOceans for a project to divert 100,000 pounds of ocean-bound plastics from India’s Ganges River in the first year; Project STOP to design and develop an integrated waste management system in Bali province, Indonesia; and Plug & Play Innovation Network on the “End Plastic Waste Innovation Platform” to attract start-up applications that could address the plastic waste issue in Asia, Europe and North America.
Additionally, ExxonMobil is taking action to address plastic waste by increasing plastic recyclability, supporting improvements in plastic waste recovery, and minimizing pellet loss from our operations. We are also assessing technology options to convert plastic waste to petrochemical and refining feedstocks and reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions on a full lifecycle basis.
We have been engaged in conversations with key stakeholders in Qatar, including Qatar Museums, QP, and the MME, about our work in addressing plastic waste, and we are actively exploring ways in which we can collaborate in Qatar.
6. What do you have planned for the future of ExxonMobil Qatar’s community development programs?
It has been a privilege and an honor for ExxonMobil to work with the State of Qatar and to see and be part of its remarkable growth and success. Whether its advancing the LNG industry, strengthening the education system, or protecting the environment, we are Qatar’s steadfast partner in pursuing sustainable goals for the future.
As a committed partner and active member of the community, we’re constantly looking for ways to provide support in areas where we believe we can be of most help. This is why we created our national outreach strategy, and when we look at all that we have accomplished, we see just how far we have come.
We will continue to work with our longstanding partners, and look forward to building more synergies, creating further opportunities and exploring new ways that we can support and help realize the objectives of the QNV 2030.