InterviewAPIC '13: Asia petrochemicals to focus on optimisation

11 May 2013 04:08  [Source: ICIS news]

By Tahir Ikram

TAIPEI (ICIS)--Asia’s petrochemical producers will need to focus on optimisation and integration, requiring greater automation to remain competitive in the market, senior executives at Siemens said late on Friday.

“They [petrochemical producers] need to go for bigger plants, and need standardisation to reduce time to market. This can result in time savings and cost savings,” said Axel Lorenz, vice president, process automation at the Industry Automation Division of Germany-based electronics and electrical engineering company Siemens.

He spoke to ICIS on the sidelines of Asia Petrochemical Industry Conference (APIC 2013), which was held in Taipei on 9-10 May.

Asia is rapidly growing and may soon become the largest portion of its chemical business in its Industrial Process Automation segment with several large projects coming up, including some in China and the Middle East.

Many changes are taking place in the petrochemical world, partly because of the emergence of shale gas as a cheaper feedstock in the US. Companies will need to adjust their strategies accordingly, said Lorenz.

There are some who think that shale gas is a great opportunity while others think its benefits are overrated, he said.

“It is an opportunity for Siemens,” Lorenz said explaining that existing petrochemical plants will have to optimise operations in order to compete the producers that use shale gas.

He said the latest trend among petrochemical companies in Asia is towards greater efficiency and higher productivity as well as energy savings, reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, and a move towards biofuels, bioplastics and bio-energy.

Siemens is therefore introducing new products and solutions that can help petrochemical companies achieve their desired results, he said.

"Customers are under pressure. Our goal is to increase efficiency and make them more productive. This requires more than just providing products but providing integrated automated solutions that can foster benefits in energy and resource usage, as well as improve controls and operations," said Lorenz.

"We aim to support the customer over the lifecycle of the plant," added Markus Lade, general manager of Siemens' industrial automation division in ASEAN.

The chemical sector represents around 40% of Siemens' industrial process automation business, and there is further room for growth going forward, said Lorenz.

“We see a lot of investment happening in Asia,” he added.

Siemens, which spent $5.5bn (€4.18bn) in research and development alone in 2012, is investing even more in this area this year in order to cope with new challenges the industry is facing, he said.

“We will be accompanying the refining and petrochemical industry as a reliable partner throughout the forthcoming changes,” he added.

Additional reporting by Joseph Chang in Taipei

($1 = €0.76)

By: Tahir Ikram
+65 6780 4359

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