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You have re­cently taken over as Man­ag­ing Direc­tor at UOP In­dia Pvt. Ltd. Tell us about your re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in this new role. How do you feel about mov­ing to In­dia?

I took over as Man­ag­ing Direc­tor, UOP In­dia Pvt. Ltd. in April 2014 and I am very ex­cited about mov­ing to In­dia. My re­spon­si­bil­i­ties en­com­pass strate­gic lead­er­ship, sus­tain­ing growth in the re­gion and strength­en­ing UOP In­dia’s brand eq­uity. In ad­di­tion to this, I spear­head the en­gi­neer­ing op­er­a­tions of UOP In­dia; di­rect field op­er­at­ing ser­vices, tech­ni­cal and con­tin­ued ser­vice; tech­nol­ogy sales sup­port and li­cens­ing; new ven­tures and busi­ness devel­op­ment and gen­eral man­age­ment.

Honey­well’s UOP has com­pleted 100 years in the pe­tro­leum re­fin­ery sec­tor. Share with us UOP’s suc­cess story in In­dia and glob­ally, and the com­pany’s role in In­dia’s oil and gas sec­tor.

We at UOP are very ex­cited about achiev­ing this very sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone. Across the world, we have been cel­e­brat­ing the com­ple­tion of 100 suc­cess­ful years in the re­fin­ery sec­tor. UOP is ex­tremely proud of its his­tory, par­tic­u­larly in the field of oil re­fin­ing and petro­chem­i­cals, where we have had our most sig­nif­i­cant im­pact. In many ways, UOP’s his­tory is syn­ony­mous with the his­tory of the oil and gas in­dus­try.

We started our jour­ney in Chicago, IL, on June 17, 1914, with an in­no­va­tion that would change the re­fin­ing in­dus­try at that time – the com­mer­cial­iza­tion of the Jesse Adams Dubbs’ ther­mal crack­ing process, the first con­ver­sion tech­nol­ogy for up­grad­ing oil. The Dubbs Process quadru­pled the yield of gaso­line from crude oil at the mo­ment mass pro­duc­tion was in­tro­duced to au­to­mo­bile manufacturing. It en­sured that tens of mil­lions of peo­ple would have ac­cess to the fu­els that al­lowed them to travel wher­ever and when­ever they wanted. This was a revo­lu­tion that changed so­ci­ety. UOP’s tech­nolo­gies were in de­mand wher­ever there was oil – in Ja­pan, In­dia, Europe, the United States. From then on, in­no­va­tion and en­gi­neer­ing have been at the fore­front of UOP.

Soon af­ter, we made a foray into petro­chem­i­cals, where we de­vel­oped tech­nolo­gies that en­abled our cus­tomers in the pro­duc­tion of polyesters for ev­ery­day use, out of oil. We fo­cused on in­creas­ing the yield of the prod­uct be­ing de­rived from an oil bar­rel. This we did through our Plat­form­ing tech­nol­ogy and FCC tech­nolo­gies that cre­ate more value with the same bar­rel. The most re­cent ad­di­tion to th­ese tech­nolo­gies is Uni­flex, which has broad ap­pli­ca­tions even in In­dia.

We share a long his­tory and fas­ci­nat­ing as­so­ci­a­tion with In­dia’s re­fin­ing in­dus­try since its in­cep­tion. UOP li­censed the Dubbs ther­mal crack­ing process to

pro­duce gaso­line at In­dia’s first re­fin­ery – the Dig­boi re­fin­ery in As­sam (1928-31), cur­rently op­er­ated by In­dian Oil Cor­po­ra­tion. The tech­nol­ogy ran from 30s through the mid-90s, when it was fi­nally shut down as part of a re­fin­ery mod­ern­iza­tion project, a tes­ta­ment to our long term vi­sion and com­mit­ment to cus­tomers.

Over 50 per cent of the crude oil in In­dia is re­fined us­ing UOP pro­cesses, just as over 70 per cent of the coun­try’s gaso­line (petrol) pro­duc­tion and over 85 per cent of its biodegrad­able de­ter­gents are pro­duced us­ing UOP tech­nolo­gies. We con­tinue to closely work with most re­finer­ies and petro­chem­i­cal com­pa­nies in In­dia to bet­ter un­der­stand how our tech­nolo­gies can be lever­aged in the re­gion and en­sure that our con­stant in­no­va­tion con­tin­ues to ben­e­fit our cus­tomer’s chang­ing needs. For ex­am­ple, UOP was the man­ag­ing li­cen­sor of one of the largest re­finer­ies in the world - Re­liance Jam­na­gar fa­cil­ity, and we con­tinue to part­ner ma­jor re­finer­ies in the na­tional and pri­vate sec­tor.

Kindly shed light on the ge­n­e­sis and ap­pli­ca­tion of UOP’s Uni­flex tech­nol­ogy.

Tra­di­tion­ally, not ev­ery bar­rel of crude ends up as fuel. All over the world, pe­tro­leum re­fin­ers want to add value from resid­ual fuel oil, also called the “bot­tom-of-the-bar­rel”. For many re­fin­ers, this rep­re­sents the last frac­tion of crude oil that has not been up­graded to more use­ful prod­ucts, so the right tech­nol­ogy is im­por­tant to max­i­mize its value.

Higher crude prices, cou­pled with in­creas­ing de­mand, has meant that many coun­tries in­clud­ing In­dia end up spend­ing a sig­nif­i­cant share of their bud­get on crude im­ports. Re­fin­ers and coun­tries are thus faced with the chal­lenge of max­i­miz­ing pro­duc­tive out­put from ev­ery bar­rel of ex­pen­sive im­ported crude. With UOP’s his­tory and years of ex­pe­ri­ence in the re­fin­ing in­dus­try, we in­tro­duced the UOP Uni­flexTM Process. Uni­flex is a high con­ver­sion tech­nol­ogy, that pro­cesses low-qual­ity residue streams, such as vac­uum residue, to make very high-qual­ity dis­til­late prod­ucts.

This tech­nol­ogy has been de­vel­oped based on years of ex­ten­sive tri­als and has been suc­cess­fully li­censed.

What are the ben­e­fits of Uni­flex com­pared to tra­di­tional solutions?

Uni­flex tech­nol­ogy of­fers sig­nif­i­cant ad­van­tages com­pared with al­ter­na­tives. It al­lows re­fin­ers to min­i­mize pro­duc­tion of fuel oils, which are con­sid­ered low value and max­imise pro­duc­tion of use­ful fu­els. From a re­finer’s per­spec­tive, this trans­lates to in­creased yields or re­turns per bar­rel of crude, which can ei­ther mean higher rev­enues or lower costs. In ad­di­tion, this process can read­ily in­te­grate into ex­ist­ing fa­cil­i­ties thus cut­ting down on capex.

The tech­nol­ogy can be used world­wide to help re­fin­ers max­i­mize their re­turn from ev­ery bar­rel.

How do you see the po­ten­tial of Uni­flex in In­dia?

It is not pos­si­ble for avail­able nat­u­ral re­sources to in­fin­itely sus­tain en­ergy sup­ply. While the coun­try has abun­dant coal re­serves, it con­tin­ues to im­port ex­pen­sive crude to meet ris­ing de­mands. In­dia is the world’s 4th largest oil con­sumer, and ris­ing in­ter­na­tional crude oil prices have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the im­port bill. For in­stance, in 201213, the coun­try’s im­ports were val­ued at US$491 bil­lion, of which oil im­ports ac­counted for US$164 bil­lion. With the de­ple­tion of fos­sil fuel re­serves, fuel sup­ply is a grow­ing con­cern. As re­sources are in­creas­ingly be­com­ing scarce, it is crit­i­cal to make in­tel­li­gent use of ex­ist­ing re­sources. This in­di­cates a dire need to max­i­mize con­ver­sion of crude oil pro­cessed in the coun­try through the devel­op­ment and early adop­tion of in­no­va­tive tech­nol­ogy that not only helps in op­ti­mum uti­liza­tion of avail­able re­sources, but also pro­vides some in­su­la­tion from reg­u­lar fuel price fluc­tu­a­tions.

If de­ployed across all re­finer­ies in In­dia to­day, Uni­flex tech­nol­ogy could gen­er­ate 260,000 ad­di­tional bbls/day of trans­porta­tion fuel - ef­fec­tively adding one medium size re­fin­ery ca­pac­ity with­out the capex in­vest­ments and save ap­prox­i­mately US$9 bil­lion in crude im­ports costs an­nu­ally.

In view of in­no­va­tions and its award-win­ning staff, what is the com­pany’s an­nual tech­nol­ogy devel­op­ment spend in In­dia?

In­dia is an in­te­gral part of Honey­well’s global growth strat­egy. Close to 10 per cent of our work­force is present here and is com­mit­ted to de­liver in­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies to cus­tomers and help them im­prove en­ergy ef­fi­ciency, clean en­ergy gen­er­a­tion, safety, se­cu­rity, and pro­duc­tiv­ity, which are key im­per­a­tives for In­dia. Each of the com­pany’s global busi­nesses – Aero­space, Au­to­ma­tion and Con­trol Solutions, and Per­for­mance Ma­te­ri­als and Tech­nolo­gies – has a sig­nif­i­cant pres­ence in In­dia. Honey­well’s In­dia com­mit­ment is ev­i­dent in six state-of-the-art manufacturing and en­gi­neer­ing op­er­a­tions, and five global cen­ters of ex­cel­lence for tech­nol­ogy devel­op­ment and in­no­va­tion. Honey­well em­ploys close to 13,000 peo­ple across 50 lo­ca­tions in­clud­ing Delhi, Pune, Ban­ga­lore, Hyderabad, Chen­nai, Gur­gaon and Madu­rai.

Honey­well’s as­so­ci­a­tion with In­dia dates back to the early 1930s, when UOP en­tered In­dia and

li­censed the Dubbs ther­mal crack­ing process to pro­duce gaso­line at the Dig­boi re­fin­ery in As­sam. Since then, PMT has played a sig­nif­i­cant role in the growth of In­dian in­dus­tries. To­day, Honey­well PMT alone has around 300 em­ploy­ees in In­dia, and is head­quar­tered in Gur­gaon, Haryana. PMT launched a state-of-the-art fa­cil­ity - the Honey­well In­dia Tech­nol­ogy Cen­ter (HITC), in Fe­bru­ary 2012 fol­low­ing an ini­tial in­vest­ment of US$34 mil­lion. The cen­ter de­vel­ops and ac­cel­er­ates new tech­nolo­gies in key ar­eas such as oil re­fin­ing and petro­chem­i­cal pro­cesses; high mois­ture-bar­rier pack­ag­ing for the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try; high­per­for­mance blow­ing agents for re­frig­er­a­tion ap­pli­ca­tions; pro­cess­ing ad­di­tives for as­phalt; and ny­lon and plas­tics pro­duc­tion. Over­time, the cen­ter has ex­panded its ca­pa­bil­i­ties and quickly be­come one of Honey­well’s key tech­ni­cal cen­ters em­ploy­ing ap­prox­i­mately 100 chemists, en­gi­neers and tech­ni­cians.

For clean-burn­ing bio­fuel used to gen­er­ate heat and power in burner ap­pli­ca­tions, the rapid ther­mal pro­cess­ing (RTP) tech­nol­ogy ef­fec­tively re­duces green­house gas emis­sions by up to 90 per cent. What are the (other) pros and cons of this tech­nol­ogy?

RTP is a sig­nif­i­cant part of our re­new­able en­ergy and chem­i­cals busi­ness, and is a tech­nol­ogy based on biomass. Be­ing an agri­cul­tural coun­try, In­dia pro­duces a lot of agri­cul­tural waste. RTP could po­ten­tially uti­lize this agri­cul­tural waste and con­vert it into green fuel. This fuel, when used for burn­ing, for power gen­er­a­tion, or even as a green fuel in­ter­me­di­ate for con­ven­tional pe­tro­leum re­fin­ing, helps in re­duc­ing green house gas emis­sions by up to 90 per cent. RTP holds im­mense po­ten­tial in In­dia ow­ing to the avail­abil­ity of biomass feed­stock in the coun­try, mainly agri­cul­tural waste and sugar mill residues. The main chal­lenge is lo­cat­ing such biomass and bring­ing stake­hold­ers to­gether such that it can be sup­plied to the RTP unit ev­ery day, all sea­sons, round the year, in scal­able quan­ti­ties for use as a feed­stock. RTP can be put wher­ever the sup­ply is, even in the re­motest of ar­eas.

Since we have en­tered the golden age of gas and stud­ies show that by 2035, global gas use will rise by over 50 per cent and ac­count for more than one-quar­ter of global en­ergy de­mand, what mea­sures would you sug­gest to de­velop ex­ist­ing, proven re­serves and tap into the world’s vast un­con­ven­tional gas re­sources?

There is in­deed a gas revo­lu­tion hap­pen­ing across the globe, and recog­nis­ing its po­ten­tial and im­pact on in­dus­try, UOP has been de­vel­op­ing tech­nolo­gies spe­cific to this sec­tor. The big chal­lenges for those in­volved in this in­dus­try are time to mar­ket (es­pe­cially when fields are lo­cated in re­mote ar­eas) and main­tain­ing gas qual­ity in line with cus­tomer re­quire­ments.

Un­der­stand­ing th­ese cus­tomer needs, UOP has in­creased its ef­forts in de­liv­er­ing con­tam­i­nant re­moval tech­nolo­gies that can be de­ployed on­site faster than the con­ven­tional sup­pli­ers. Our mo­du­lar units (branded as UOP Rus­sell) al­low our cus­tomers to cut down on project sched­ules and make money faster in ad­di­tion to de­liv­er­ing gas of the req­ui­site qual­ity.

Does UOP have any tech­nol­ogy for mon­etis­ing the vast re­serves of coal in the coun­try?

Cur­rently, In­dia ranks third in coal pro­duc­tion be­hind China and USA. There is a lot that In­dia could do with the nat­u­ral re­source. Olefins, es­pe­cially propy­lene, is used ex­ten­sively in the plas­tics in­dus­try. So, In­dia could mon­e­tise its vast coal re­serves through UOP’s Methanol to Olefin (MTO) tech­nol­ogy and pro­duce olefins.

UOP’s MTO tech­nol­ogy en­ables pro­duc­tion of high-value petro­chem­i­cals from coal or nat­u­ral gas in­stead of naph­tha, to uti­lize coal as a petro­chem­i­cal feed­stock, the first step is gasi­fi­ca­tion of coal to syn­the­sis gas, and by us­ing MTO, this syn­the­sis gas can be con­verted to Methanol and then petro­chem­i­cals. This ap­proach can help chan­nel valu­able crude oil im­ports to­wards fu­els while sup­port­ing petro­chem­i­cals growth in In­dia.

The MTO tech­nol­ogy al­lows re­gions that are rich in coal or nat­u­ral gas to cost-ef­fec­tively and ef­fi­ciently con­vert those re­sources into high yields of valu­able petro­chem­i­cals to meet grow­ing world de­mand. To­day, UOP is suc­cess­fully help­ing China meet its petro­chem­i­cals de­mand with this break­through MTO tech­nol­ogy.

How do you see the po­ten­tial and vi­a­bil­ity of shale gas in In­dia? Can the US suc­cess model be repli­cated to meet the coun­try’s need for fuel?

Shale gas is not quite a proven re­source yet in the coun­try, al­though there are pol­icy de­ci­sions re­lated to shale gas be­ing dis­cussed. How­ever, it’s too early to say if the suc­cess­ful US model could be repli­cated in In­dia. There are pos­si­ble re­serves but they have not been suc­cess­fully iden­ti­fied.

What is In­dia’s share in Honey­well UOP’s global busi­ness?

Honey­well In­dia ac­counts for more than US$1 bil­lion in do­mes­tic sales and ex­ports. In 2013, Honey­well’s global sales stood at US$39.1 bil­lion.

SN Goel MD & CEO, IEX Ltd Nasir Mu­lani MD, Citec In­dia M G Raoot MD, PXIL Su­nil Mehra CMD, Tractebel En­gi­neer­ing Pvt Ltd, In­dia

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