Energy firms success spurred on by talents and tech
With Middle East region's exporters now accounting for roughly 40 per cent of oil and 20pc of natural gas traded internationally, and strong demand growth for energy seen across the region, the outlook for the region's oil industry is optimistic.
The questions that follow are: How can the region's operators capitalise on this positive outlook, compete positively against their rivals and ensure that they get a significant slice of market share? In an interview with UK-based enterprise software major AspenTech, Bapco General Manager Engineering Division Mohamed Ghuloom said the answer lies in developing a powerful blend of talent and technology.
"At Bapco, one of our core strategic objectives is to develop 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," he averred.
The general manager went on to say that, "training is, therefore, vital in our industry." According to him investment in job-specific training has shown to drive employee motivation and good training needs be targeted not just at young recruits, but also at older and more experienced staff. "Yet, if oil & gas operators are to optimise the way they do business and drive commercial advantage, investment in people needs to be matched by investment in technology solutions across the entire operation." Elaborating on the role of software solutions, Mr. Ghuloom said, "Operators should review software products on their merits. 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 simply 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 & delivering reduced environmental impact. Herein, software application tools can support this requirement," he added.
Looking ahead, the general manager said, "With globalisation and market volatility, margins are diminishing. In the future, software tools and packages will need to be further integrated into operators' working practices and IT infrastructures, so that users waste less time moving data into different formats. This needs to be in line with a general push towards ramping up levels of automation on their plants. Simulation software will become more sophisticated, so it is critical that it remains user-friendly and fast to implement.
According to him software solutions are likely to become ever more important to the region's operators. "Companies are increasingly realising that without the right software they are likely to miss out on commercial opportunities to optimise processes. Business operates in an incredibly challenging and highly capital-intensive, energy consuming environment." Reiterating the need for owner operators to make sound judgments on design options for their asset investment decisions, Mr. Ghuloom said, "As industry leaders seek to successfully make the most of their existing assets and maximise the potential of their resources, a combined investment strategy of talent and leading-edge technology will help to achieve commercial goals in a highly.
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