A leader in LABFebruary 12, 2019
Ramon Areitio, general manager of Cepsa, talks to TOGY about how the UAE will become a global player in the linear alkyl benzene (LAB) sphere, the challenges of the Asia market and the company’s R&D initiatives. Cepsa is a Spanish energy company that works across the oil and gas value chain.
Can you update us on the development of the Umm Lulu and SARB fields?
The project is ongoing as planned. At this moment [December 2018], the asset is in the ramp-up phase. Full field development is expected for 2020, but we are doing our best, in co-ordination with our partners ADNOC and OMV, to achieve the plateau as soon as possible. The Cepsa team is rapidly deploying its capabilities on the ground in Abu Dhabi to contrib-ute to the success of the project.
How will your LAB facility benefit the UAE?
As the world manufacturing leader of LAB, Cepsa is bringing its technological, operational and commercial leadership to Abu Dhabi. Together with our partner ADNOC, we will work on the development of the new, state-of-the-art integrated LAB complex, similar to the one Cepsa has already developed close to its refinery in Puente Mayorga, Spain.
This project will integrate the whole LAB value chain, from raw material to the final product. Once the plant starts, the UAE will become a global player in the LAB business. The plant will mostly target the large markets of South Asia, where demand for LAB is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5% for the coming years.
Where does Cepsa see challenges in high-growth markets such as Asia?
Like every oil and gas company, we face intrinsic challenges in our industry: the volatility of crude oil prices; the deterioration of economic, financial and political conditions in the region we operate in; health, safety and environmental risks, etc. Operational excellence with an ab-solute focus on HSE, together with our solid integrated model and a balanced exposure to geographies and markets along the value chain, seek to mitigate the risks and uncertainties associated with our business.
What new technology is Cepsa working on developing?
Through Cepsa’s R&D department, we aim to develop new technologies to increase our business value, and also identify, analyse and implement the most advanced technologies to improve our existing projects – including the development of advanced catalysts, biofuels and chemicals.
An example comes from our partnership with Ionity in Spain, with whom we are developing the fastest EV [electric vehicle] chargers on Spanish highways so far. That will allow electric cars to recharge 85% of their batteries in only 15 minutes. The energy future is uncertain, but we at Cepsa seek to be prepared for whatever the scenario may be.