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INTERVIEW

Talent, technology blend ‘vital for gas firms’

Manama, August 9, 2012

A powerful blend of talent and technology is vital for Middle East oil and gas companies to compete positively against their rivals and ensure that they get a significant slice of market share, said a top official.

"The oil and gas industry forms the foundation of economies throughout the Middle East," said Mohamed Ghuloom,  general manager of the engineering division at Bahrain Petrochemicals (Bapco) in the article 'The Middle East Oil & Gas Sector - Talent & Technology' released by the UK-based company AspenTech.

"Recent analysis indicates that the region's exporters account for roughly 40 per cent of oil and 20pc of natural gas traded internationally. There is strong and growing demand for energy across the region.

"At Bapco, we believe the answer lies in developing a powerful blend of talent and technology. One of our core strategic objectives is to continue to build a skilled and motivated workforce. Recruiting the right people can be challenging.

"There are technical graduates that have sufficient skills, but unfortunately many have been lured away from the process industries by higher pay packages elsewhere.

"Training is, therefore, vital in our industry. Investment in job-specific training has shown to drive employee motivation and good training needs to be targeted not just at young recruits, but also at older and more experienced staff.

"If oil and gas operators are to optimise the way they do business and drive commercial advantage, investment in people needs should be matched by investment in technology solutions across the entire operation.

"Operators should review software products on merit. In the process industry there is a strong preference to implement proven technology that not only meets business objectives, but also demonstrates robust and secure benefits.

"Ideally, to meet their commercial goals, operators need specialist software rather than solutions that are bundled in with hardware to ease the sales process. Operationally, most oil and gas providers in the Middle East share the same strategic focus.

"There is an ongoing emphasis on achieving energy-efficient operations and delivering reduced environmental impact. Software application tools can support this requirement.

"Typically, there are stringent performance targets to meet. Feed maximisation is an important metric in the wider industry," he said.

"At Bapco, for example, our prime focus is based more on guaranteeing reliability, achieving a minimum level of unplanned shutdowns and delivering against product quality specifications, which are both seen as key operational metrics.

"We are actively using optimisation software from AspenTech, a leading software provider in engineering, manufacturing and supply chain sectors.

"More specifically, Aspen HYSYS is the modelling tool Bapco uses for conceptual design, optimisation, business planning, asset management and performance monitoring for oil and gas production, gas processing and petroleum refining," he said.

"Aspen PIMS also helps Bapco facilitate enterprise-wide planning through optimisation of feedstock evaluation, product slate production, plant design and operations, enabling its plants to run at maximum efficiency and profitability.

"Powerful analytics offered with the software facilitate better and faster evaluation of feed stocks that help capture market opportunities in a timely manner," he added.

"Oil and gas operators in the region are increasingly investing in automated Advanced Process Control (APC) solutions that help reduce workload on plants and drive up operational efficiency and profit margins.

"APC can assist significantly with change in a plant. This is important because it is an automatic process that assesses every minute quality of products produced, temperatures, pressures and flows, having a predictive, multi-variable model of control on a closed loop process. APC enables decision-makers within the plant to respond to change as best as possible," he said.

"From Bapco's viewpoint, AspenTech's DMCPlus has been implemented to help maintain tight quality specifications for products and operating conditions as well as improve operating stability and constraint handling, resulting in less unscheduled plant downtime.

"Companies are increasingly realising that without the right software they are likely to miss out on commercial opportunities to optimise processes." – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | Bapco | technology | talent |

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