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INTERVIEW

Mike Caliel and Franco Restelli

Invensys aims at Mideast power sector

Manama, October 2, 2013

By Salvador Almeida
Global technology company Invensys, which is already strong in the Middle East's oil and gas sector having assisted leading firms with high-tech process software and automation, aims to penetrate the region's power sector.    
 
The Middle East’s share of the Invensys software and industrial automation business is around 10 per cent of its global revenues, which were approximately $2 billion in 2012, a senior official said.
 
“We believe our share is growing faster than in other areas. The end market is aligned quite well with our large strengths in oil and gas, power generation, refineries and petrochemicals where the clients will typically recognise sophisticated technology and very sophisticated capabilities, and they place a premium on very safe and reliable operations,” said Mike Caliel, president and chief executive officer of the software and industrial automation division of Invensys, in an interview with Gulf Industry, our sister publication.
 
Franco Restelli, president, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Invensys operations management, was also present during the interview, held on the sidelines the  Foxboro & Triconex Global Client Conference in San Antonio, Texas.
 
Invensys has an installed base in the Middle East worth $800 million and Caliel said it was safe to say the base is growing ahead of market growth. 
 
Restelli said Invensys had technical offices in several countries in the region including one in Dubai and a big one in Dammam. “The core driver is distribution control. Everything goes round it. If you go to the Middle East they may not know Invensys but they know Foxboro and Triconex very well,” he said.
 
“In Saudi Arabia, we have a long-term relationship with Saudi Aramco. We have an operation base with more than 150 engineers functioning as a locally established company. We did the first fully Saudi executed job with Manifa and we did all the base automation plans and all the IT systems there.”
 
Invensys is strong in other regional markets also, said Restelli. The company is supplying in Kuwait, Oman and in Bahrain where it has a supply base. In Oman it made deliveries to the LNG business and at Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) it did the Triconex portion of a big plant extension of a refinery two years ago. Invensys is discussing software applications and software optimisation for one of PDO’s plants.
 
The company has an engineering excellence centre in Egypt with several hundred engineers on the rolls and is involved with joint ventures there. It is also delivering in Libya and Iraq. 
 
“These are some of our involvements; the list is vast,” said Restelli. The official added that Invensys aims to penetrate the power sector where it has capabilities but its involvement is not as strong as in oil and gas.
 
One of the success stories Restelli highlighted was Satorp, the joint venture world-class refinery between Saudi Aramco and Total. “For many reasons it is an important joint venture between two big players. They tried to combine the demands of both which was not easy because they are strongly process-oriented companies,” said Restelli. 
 
The project involved a number of EPCs but the official said the good thing was that Invensys was asked to have a common integration of the large automation project in one place with all the contractors in the picture. “On top of the automation, the requirement was a full integration of the IT portion with the integration of real time data with the transaction business,” he said.
 
Caliel said the innovation Foxboro Evo was a “momentum building” system of extensive research and feedback from the company’s user community and prospective users.
 
“We engaged in active dialogue over business issues, technical issues, maintenance issues and operational issues and through that process and the synthesis of all that information by industry and geography across functional areas of their respective organisations we came to some of the developments.
 
“So it was quite a thorough and rigorous process we worked through, incorporating not only client feedback but feedback from our people – our engineering and sales communities – and our assessment of competitiveness offerings as well.”
 
Was information presented by the Middle East oil and gas industry pivotal in the formulation of Foxboro Evo? “I think there are consistent themes that transcend the oil and gas industry regardless of where you are in the world. These are capital-intensive operations that place a high premium on security and reliability of operations. And that’s a theme that transcends, whether your operations are a refinery in Saudi Arabia or China or wherever. I think these issues are consistent with vertical markets wherever you are," said  Caliel.
 
“I think there are some issues that are unique in the region … the engineering environment, and the ability to engineer and deliver these projects locally is a critical issue,” he added.
 
About Schneider Electric’s move to take over Invensys, Caliel said his company was excited about the prospect. “I believe very strongly that some of the announcements made around Foxboro Evo and the momentum we’re building in the market place coupled with the potential of this transaction will really be quite exciting for the Invensys businesses.”
 
On projected growth emanating from the takeover, he said: “We’ve not even begun to talk about how the combined business will look and operate and where the investment will be and which investments will be accelerated and which will be repositioned and so forth.” - TradeArabia News Service
 
 



Tags: Software | oil and gas | technology | Invensys |

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