Refineries 'under pressure to cut operating costs'
Manama, October 3, 2013
Refineries in the Middle East are under enormous pressure to cut operating costs while maximising throughput and minimising inventories, a key official of a software and services firm said.
According to AspenTech senior vice-president and managing director for Mena John Hague, decision-makers have to deal with challenges ranging from operational issues, market forces and meeting the scheduled delivery of a product slate derived from an optimal economic plan, reported the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
"This has led to a great focus on the downstream supply chain management processes and tools, which result in significant benefits for the refinery," Hague told the GDN.
"The key is producing products to an exact specification to be made available as per a predictable, optimal plan," he said.
He was speaking on the sidelines of the Middle East Process Engineering Conference and Exhibition (MEPEC).
Held at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre, this year's edition of the event concluded yesterday. The US-based firm was platinum sponsor and member of the advisory committee of the conference themed 'Overcoming future challenges through engineering excellence'.
Hague said MEPEC brought together the international business community to review the experience of industry leaders in their implementation of groundbreaking technologies.
"The main topics covered were manufacturing and operational excellence, capital project efficiency, process automation and optimisation, process safety and risk mitigation, talent and technology development, clean fuel, environment and sustainability amongst many other key themes.
According to him, MEPEC continues to help process companies explore possibilities, discover solutions in process engineering and engage with hundreds of world-class professionals.
When asked to identify regional trends, Hague said one of the noticeable trends in the Middle East oil and gas sector is the design and construction of a growing number of mega-sites across the region.
"In refining, many revamps of existing plants are in response to more stringent petrol, diesel and sulphur regulations," he added.
This trend covers not only refineries, but also large integrated petrochemical plants. In much of the Middle East, the focus is continuing to extend the value chain," Hague said.
In petrochemicals, the Middle East is also becoming a producer of new, higher margin products. "We are seeing a push into speciality and fine chemicals,” Hague added.
Energy reduction and efficiency is increasingly a priority to oil and gas companies working in the region in terms of driving enhanced profitability and protecting the environment.
Together, the official said all of these developments are adding complexity to the industry in the region and driving demand for solutions that can deliver process optimisation and operational efficiency.
"For petrochemical and refinery plants, investment in software tools is essential to optimise their engineering, manufacturing and supply chain operations. That's the reason, the region's leading manufacturers are able to increase capacity, improve margins, reduce costs and become more energy efficient," he said. – TradeArabia News Service