Showing posts with label Industry 4.0. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Industry 4.0. Show all posts

Monday, November 11, 2019

ADIPEC Day I: Oil & Gas 4.0, efficiencies & VIPs

The Oilholic finds himself in the UAE for the 2019 Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference (ADIPEC), rounding up day one of the global event with more than a packed agenda to report back.

Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ANDOC) got things going on Monday noting how Industry 4.0 is creating a "paradigm shift in global growth and energy demand."

"Oil and gas will play, as an essential part of the broader energy mix, in enabling tomorrow’s global economy. We have to admit some realities - our industry is being disrupted by new technologies, new forms of energy, a new geopolitical order. This disruption is only beginning and will gather pace," he added. 

Rubbing shoulders with attendees, expected to number 150,000 over the next few days, were several VIPs both foreign and domestic, and day one included sessions with the OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo, Indian oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan, BP Boss Bob Dudley, Eni’s Claudio Descalzi, and Total’s Patrick Pouyann√© to name a few.

And former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told ADIPEC attendees the post World War II "established" economic model "is under strain [and] threat" from terrorism, cyber threats & global power rivalries. 

Away from the VIPs, quite a bit of "Oil and Gas 4.0" kit was on display alongside hydrogen cars, automation equipment and analytics platforms for integrated asset management, interspersed with nuts, bolts and pipeline joints.

Finally, day one was also timed to coincide with the official launch of the Abu Dhabi oil futures, that sees ADNOC partner with exchange group ICE, major oil companies, refiners and trading house Vitol.

The idea is an ambitious one of establishing Murban – Abu Dhabi's signature crude – as a potential oil benchmark. Here is some background to the development from the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. (MS Word Download here)

Elsewhere, at the ADIPEC Awards, BP's Dudley, who is due to retire as the oil and gas major's CEO next year, was awarded a lifetime achievement award for his commitment to the energy industry.

That's all for the moment folks, more from here over the coming days. The Oilholic will be moderating and speaking on days two and three as the event gathers further momentum. Keep reading, keep it ‘crude’!

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To email: gaurav.sharma@oilholicssynonymous.com

© Gaurav Sharma 2019. Photo I: Exhibition Hall at ADIPEC 2019. Photo II: Drone on display at ADIPEC exhibition © Gaurav Sharma 2019. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

Automation, AI and Robotics: On scare stories and opportunities


Automation, artificial intelligence and robotics keep cropping up in discussions, conferences and speaking engagements the Oilholic least expects them to these days – from trading seminars to oil and gas congresses, economics forums to academic debates. 

The energy industry talks of connected plants, exploration and production firms talk of advanced robotics, refineries and downstream companies send drones out to monitor facilities and traders fret over algorithms replacing them. 

So is this ‘Robocalypse’ or ‘Robotopia’? This blogger’s close industry colleague, friend and renowned economist Jason Schenker says mankind is somewhere in between, and has attempted to address the information gap via his book Jobs for robots: Between Robocalypse and Robotopia; a most impressive narrative summing up the tremendous opportunities as well as significant threats the future holds with a healthy infusion of pragmatism, analysis, wit and humour. 

The tone of this book, of just under 200 pages split by nine engaging chapters, is neither alarmist nor utopian about the fourth industrial revolution that's underpinned by technology or 'Industry 4.0' as some prefer to call it.

What the author is attempting to do is review the way forward – that is unquestionably fraught with challenges – and see how we can prepare ourselves, bridge the gap, especially the skills gap, between the rapidly evolving present and the imminent future.  

In parts, the narrative is blunt because it needs to be. Some jobs that exist today, will most likely disappear tomorrow. This isn’t something new, as the author points out. Past industrial revolutions led to millions of jobs disappearing, but also led to the creation of newer ones. Industry 4.0, Schenker stresses, will be no different with downsides and upsides. 

It’s how we embrace the upside and mitigate the downside via education, reforms and re-skilling so that individuals and society can reap the benefits from the upcoming age is what it’s all about. My overriding impression upon reading the book is that its for everyone. Afterall, it is discussing the future and how we should gear up for it – and that’s something that concerns everyone.

What is so brilliant about Schenker’s work is that its part analysis, part historical perspective, part futuristic, part career advice and part financial planner. And the sum of all parts makes it among the most informative and engaging works on future planning out there in the market, written in free-flowing simple language that would appeal to as diverse a readership base the Oilholic can possibly imagine.

This blogger immensely enjoyed Schenker’s book and is happy to recommend it to fellow beings eyeing what the future holds for us, and how we need to embrace and prepare for it. 

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© Gaurav Sharma 2017. Photo: Front Cover - Jobs for robots: Between Robocalypse and Robotopia by Jason Schenker © Prestige Professional Pulishing

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Back in Fujairah for EMF 2017

The Oilholic was delighted to be back in Fujairah, UAE once again to moderate sessions and participate in the deliberations at Gulf Intelligence’s Energy Markets Forum 2017 on 18-19 September. 

This year’s event was enhanced further with the introduction of the New Silk Road CEOs of the year awards in four key energy categories. Eelco Hoekstra, CEO of Royal Vopak - the largest international oil storage terminal operator in China, Singapore and Fujairah – won the award in the ‘storage’ category, while Ibrahim Al-Buanain, CEO of the wholly-owned trading unit of Saudi Aramco was recognised in the field of ‘Trading’.

Bakheet Al-Rashidi, CEO of Kuwait Petroleum International, received the accolade for ‘Refining’, and Capt. Mousa Morad, General Manager of the Port of Fujairah, bagged the award for the advancement of ‘Ports’ on the New Silk Road.

On the morning of the forum, after the gala evening before, Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar Al Luiebi sent headline writers into overdrive by opining that perhaps an OPEC production cut extension could be on the cards when the cartel next meets on 30 November, and that the cuts might well be deepened. He also dismissed criticism that Iraq was the ‘bad boy’ of OPEC that's constantly overproducing crude oil. Here’s the Oilholic’s more detailed take on the Minister's stance for Forbes.

Away from the Iraqi crude envoy's quip, delegates at the forum were largely in agreement that the oil price would average in the $50s per barrel range bracket in 2018. The EMF 2017 spot survey of 250 energy professionals revealed 61% felt the $50s range was about par.

The relatively bullish sentiment is of course supported by the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) forecast that global oil demand growth in 2018 will average 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd).


More so, 71% of survey respondents polled felt that OPEC should continue its supply cut agreement when it expires at the end of the first quarter of 2018, although doubts were expressed in several quarters about OPEC’s exit strategy, since a stronger oil price also benefits US shale players.


The Oilholic was also delighted to moderate two satellite sessions at EMF 2017. The first panel discussion centred on petrochemicals and what would be the top five strategies for the Gulf to align with Asia’s competitive appetite.

Among the panellists were the inimitable Dr. Sun Xiansheng, Secretary General of International Energy Forum, a regular on ‘crude’ speaking circuits, flanked by Ernest Rubondo, Executive Director of the Petroleum Authority of Uganda and Hetain Mistry, Managing Analyst (petrochemicals) at S&P Global Platts.


The second panel discussion involved a lively discussion on the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0 and what disruptive technologies the energy industry, particularly downstream, needs to take note of. 

The star cast of panelists for the session included Irina Heaver, Partner at Fichte & Co, Rabih Bou Rashid, CEO of Falcon Eye Drones and Salman Yousef, Managing Director of Takeleap.

Both sessions made for a fascinating afternoon of crude thoughts – with the dominant theme of the former panel discussion being China’s appetite for being the harbinger of things to come in the petrochemical landscape, and the dominant theme of the latter panel being divergent views on the actual pace of digitisation in the global energy industry in general and the Middle East in particular.

All in all, another fantastic few days of deliberations at an event that continues to grow bigger by the year, thanks to the efforts of the wonderful team at Gulf Intelligence. And that’s all from Fujairah folks! Next stop Dubai, before the journey back home to London. Keep reading, keep it crude!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2017. Photos (clockwise from top): Dyala Sabbagh of Gulf Intelligence interviews Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar Al Luiebi; Gaurav Sharma moderates EMF session on petrochemicals; EMF session on the 4th Industrial Revolution, Fujairah, UAE © Gulf Intelligence 2017.