Refining & Petrochemicals Middle East
MIKE BROOK, GLOBAL DIRECTOR FOR ASSET PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT (APM) AT ASPENTECH
Refining & Petrochemicals Middle East delves below the corporate strategy to understand what really makes industry leaders tick
Please tell us briefly about your operations, and what brings you here?
We come along with our APM product portfolio, which is equally effective in addressing some of the concerns of the businesses here. We have been doing these things in the petrochemical industry for decades, mostly designing and optimising equipment. When we started with the APM portfolio, it became apparent that you could not optimise anything if your equipment was not running.
Around 10% of the overall manufacturing business is lost every year due to equipment failures. I believe equipment failure is probably one of the biggest problems faced by the global manufacturing industry, including petrochemicals. So, we think we have something extra to offer to the regional refining and petrochemical industries. We can ensure that businesses keep running and there is a minimum loss because of equipment failure. It is the number one cause of margin losses in any business. Our products are designed to stop machines from breaking.
What will be your strategy to create awareness about ‘APM4’ products, particularly among your targeted clientele in the region?
We try to make industry people aware of your products and services through a number of BLT activities, including some media promotions. Besides this, I have also written lots of blogs and pieces to make them aware of our offerings, and to provide some thought leadership because the end user can look into the back mirror but cannot tell you by looking forward how different things can be going forward. It has been a big focus of our company to enable subject matter experts, who know the domain, to choose a better path to achieve higher efficiency.
Looking at the current volatility in the world economy, do you believe industry captains will be interested in investing money further improving efficiency with the help of a technology company like yours?
The overall economic environment is challenging across the world. I don’t think businesses in the GCC region are distinctly different from other parts of the world. I think the people who control the business want to get the best value out of their business, and that is also our focus. If you have a cracker unit that goes down, it will take down a third of the whole operation. No one wants to lose such a huge amount of money. The only difference here is that businesses here don’t focus much on energy efficiency. Refining and petrochemicals industries based here also want to make sure that operations are not disturbed by equipment failures. Nearly all stakeholders agree that equipment failure is one instance where the maximum loss of margins takes place. Preventing equipment failure is the key focus of our ‘APM 4’ strategy.
The downstream industry in the GCC region is passing through a transitional phase, people aren’t sure what products will be needed in the future, and in such environments, what is your outlook for the industry?
There are changes coming, and we all know about the increasing popularity of electric cars. But I believe the demand for petrochemicals will remain strong despite a projected decline in transportation fuel. We believe demand for products such as ethylene, which are used in making different products is going to increase further. We can understand the future challenges associated to the new product development and we can help companies through our applications.