Norm Gilsdorf – President & CEO, High Growth Regions, Middle East, Russia and Central Asia talks about the opportunities Honeywell sees in the region in the OPEX sphere
The Middle East is very important to Honeywell. We have a big presence across the entire region employing nearly 2,000 staff. Dubai is where our regional headquarters are based but we have offices and staff on the ground across all Gulf states including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, as well as in places like Iraq and Egypt.
In the region we have three main focuses. One is technology from UOP, second is process solutions from HPS, and finally the whole safety products covering mobility products that link into making the industry safe and efficient.
I think the reality of the US$50 price for oil has set in now, which means people and firms have started to plan around it. This is good as for a year or so we were stuck with a higher budget versus a lower price point. Now I think we will be seeing more decisions and this could free up capital with some projects going ahead now.
I think now downstream will start to come back and we are seeing more interest and activity in the downstream sector. We are seeing people re-looking at delayed projects and maybe reconfigure them on the costs side. This is a good sign.
We are seeing this new operating model taking hold across the Middle East. In Saudi at the new Jazan Project there is a big focus on operational readiness. It is a mega project in a new development area of Saudi Arabia and we are a big part of. This will be a major focus for us.
We see Egypt has better stability and we have already been successful in refining there and we are now driving the petrochemicals side to upgrade the feedstock and help them develop industrialisation.
Focus on OPEX
What has been strong all along has been the industry’s focus on OPEX because everyone started focusing on OPEX once the price fell. It is more than just cost - it is about getting the most of out of the asset, improving reliability, worker engagement and connectivity.
Now reality has set in, they know OPEX is here to stay and we need to keep driving it in the upstream and downstream sectors.
We see this as a great opportunity for us with our long presence and breadth of presence. We are now bringing our big focus on what we call the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things). To us this means connected plants and the connected worker. The IIoT now enables organisations to break through their vertical silos. There is a lot that can be done in this space that can drive value, reduce cost and improve product quality.
We bring in mobility now as it enables the worker to be better connected. This is why at ADIPEC this year we announced the Honeywell Pulse App. We see this as some of the technology in other industries working its way into the industrial side of the oil and gas sector.
We need to start embracing this technology to get the oil and gas sector better connected. We see new technology embraced as early as or earlier than in other parts of the world. This is because the assets are newer so you aren’t dealing with legacy equipment.
In the Middle East there has been a focus on having state-of-the art control rooms and centres. You see ADNOC companies are paying real attention to this. Companies like us to bring our technology.
Orion control suite we had at ADIPEC….it is critical for us to be part of ADIPEC. All our customers are here. ADIPEC is global…we now see China, India, Pakistan and Russia. This to me is the biggest key event in the upstream side but it is also growing the downstream side.
If it is a new capital project we can change the collaboration model with something we have called ‘operational readiness’ that we employed here in Abu Dhabi. We brought all the stakeholders in at the start of the project and we had the EPCs, automation providers, the licenser etc planning together from the beginning. By doing this we changed the role of many people and had a very effective start-up, which was ahead of schedule and on stream. Now they are ready to do more.
I think with this operational readiness combined with operational excellence and connected plant and worker – a lot of value can be created.
Development of talent
Another important part of ADIPEC is that it is where the students come. This is where the young engineers come. It is important that they can see, touch and feel technologies. That is why we are so big on bringing demonstrations to ADIPEC.
Training is crucial and we need local talent to be able to support the industry. Every country in the region is focused on developing their local talent. Here in the UAE we are very involved with Injaz, Emirates Foundation, etc. It is about building that legacy and getting young kids interested in science and technology.
The fundamental is that as an industry we need to engage the younger worker. We have a big automation college in Dubai. We have other ones in Saudi and Kuwait, a small one in Oman. These are critical as we have certification programmes at all levels.
This interview appeared in the January issue of Pipeline