Schneider Electric has been operating in Saudi Arabia for:34 years
The move to smart industryNovember 30, 2015
Schneider Electric Saudi Arabia and Yemen country president, Ziad Mortaja, speaks to TOGY about the importance of energy management and automation throughout Saudi Arabia’s oil and gas industry.
How does energy management benefit oil and gas companies?
Saudi Arabia’s oil and gas industry requires safe, efficient, secure and reliable power sources that can accommodate the country’s extreme conditions in upstream and downstream operations. This area needs to be explored more.
Energy management is suitable for hydrocarbons operations in several areas. Energy management and control system, known also as power system automation, telemetry and supervisory control and data acquisition, can be used to monitor and control systems, allowing the industry to manage field operations across widely dispersed infrastructure. With these processes, energy companies are able to control remote equipment through systems operating with coded signals over communication channels.
What technological developments are most affecting oil and gas companies?
The hydrocarbons industry is concentrating on the digitalisation effort, such as replacing conventional electrical switchboards with smart switchboards to manage the power system of their facilities.
These smart electrical switchgears, along with the Intelligent electronic devices embedded in them, perform protection, control, monitoring for electrical generation and distribution system for the entire value chain of the oil and gas industry. The ability of this smart solution with asset performance managements and remotely enhanced operation efficiency brings in boundary less energy management. The evolution of cyber security gives end user peace of mind by ensuring secure electrical and process control systems.
The IT business is very important for petrochemicals plants, an area Saudi Aramco is exploring to increase energy savings. The hydrocarbons industry is evolving, and this evolution shows no signs of slowing. Technology brings new capabilities that change the industry’s existing business models. Companies that do not implement new technologies are likely to disappear, so the oil and gas industry is forced to adapt to these changes.
What technological shifts are taking place in the energy industry?
Historically, the energy industry was asked to provide the equipment for power generation, but there has been big shift in the direction of automation. For example, our fourth generation of manufacturing factories already have an automation level of around 70 percent, requiring less human interaction and more advanced software and hardware, networked solution with cyber security. This reflects the change in utility companies’ mindset and the energy industry in general.
Saudi Arabia must manage its energy consumption needs more efficiently to best utilise the country’s resources. The government is pushing to implement more efficient ways to generate power than using oil. Several initiatives and projects have been established as well as ratings and standardisation institutions, such as the Saudi Arabian Standards Organisation, in order to maximise the energy efficiency of end-use equipment.
The National Energy Efficiency Programme , launched in 2003 aims to raise the awareness of energy conservation and to address these challenges. Technology, automation and web-connected technology such as real-time information management systems, have become a must in today’s operating environment.
How should Saudi Arabia maximise its resources?
As the world’s energy centre, Saudi Arabia presents numerous opportunities for oil and gas operators. The country’s long-term goal is to develop through diversification, moving away from an economy dependent on crude exports and developing new production methods to achieve a long-term approach to resource exploitation. The country must optimise recovery at its brownfield plays to maximise the lifespan of these assets.
The country’s power generation industry uses tremendous quantities of crude oil. Saudi Arabia consumes more oil for power generation than any other country in the world. In order to tackle this challenge, Saudi Arabia must implement innovative techniques that avoid wasting precious crude resources.