Bridging the gap

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A more productive and sustainable world is a world with a higher standard of living and quality of life for everyone. At Rockwell Automation, resources are squarely focused on turning this aspiration into a reality. Through the power of industrial automation technology, it develops innovative solutions that help customers achieve smart, safe, sustainable operations in a wide range of industries throughout the world. To achieve success, Rockwell Automation had long back recognised the importance of connecting independent automation systems in manufacturing environments. In fact, its vision of The Connected Enterprise has guided the development of Integrated Control and Information Technology for decades. Now, with the convergence of plant-floor Operations Technology (OT) and business-level Information Technology (IT), the vision of The Connected Enterprise has become a reality.
According to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) World Energy Outlook 2012, global energy demand is expected to increase by more than a third by 2035, with China, India and the Middle East accounting for 60 percent of the growth, and more than outweighing reduced demand in developed economies.
The IEA also foresees the US replacing Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer by 2020, with North America becoming a net oil exporter by 2030. The region’s new role in world energy markets is likely to drive a change in the international oil trade towards Asia, and highlight the importance of securing supply routes from the Middle East to China and India, who are set to account for 60 percent of the 30 percent increase in global energy demand between now and 2035.
World energy consumption is projected to increase by 49 percent from 2007 to 2035. This kind of unprecedented demand means you need to maximise uptime, increase recovery from new and existing fields, and consistently drive innovation from new production technologies.
With this in mind, Rockwell Automation, the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation and information, had participated at Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC) last year to showcase the latest technologies and solutions called the Connected Production that can help the industry.
The largest oil and gas event outside of North America, ADIPEC, was held at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center. During the event Emirates Business had the opportunity to talk to one of the top officials of Rockwell Automations – Yahya Darwish, Country Director – Sales, Rockwell Automation, and Thony Brito Cardier, Regional Sales Manager, vMonitor, Rockwell

Excerpts from the Interview

How you look at ADIPEC in terms of business?
Yahya: ADIPEC is one of the most significant events for Rockwell Automation in the region. Our participation in 2014 had helped us generate new leads and projects, with greater customer contacts.
In 2015, we saw good number of participants despite the turbulence in the oil and gas industry. We are positive that this event will create more opportunities for us in the future as we showcase the Connected Production, an integrated solution for the digital oilfield. You’ll see a simulation of Rockwell Automation systems and solutions like the wellhead equipped with digital monitoring devices, PlantPAX (modern DCS), Optilift and OptiSIS and more in an actual setting.
In the forthcoming editions, we have decided to take our participation to the next level to educate and show attendees how they can optimise product processes, maximise the company’s profit, reduce operational costs and maintain sustainability.

What is your expertise and what are the factors that make you different from your competitors in the market?
Yahya: Rockwell Automation is known as one of the largest companies in industrial automation and
information. We continuously improve our portfolio in this field to help companies address their concerns.
A good example would be the acquisition of vMonitor that has expanded our focus in the upstream oil and gas production side. Our main aim is to put together a comprehensive solution that helps you monitor all types of management report and specify KPIs (key performance indicators) all the way down to the asset in the field. Thus, we have been placing technology and intelligent remote devices in the desert and in the offshore installation.
We have a comprehensive solution that will bring all the collected data to our collaboration area. It will be then processed to a multi-discipline stage, where people from different fields can operate and combine their knowledge and provide resources for the company.
Thony: The race is on to fully realise the promise of the fourth industrial revolution. Industrial initiatives are under way across the globe to fulfill the vision of smart manufacturing enabled by seamless digital communications and the Internet of Things.
While many challenges lie ahead, leading global manufacturers and industrial operators are laying the foundation for this transformation by converging information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) to create The Connected Enterprise.
Those pursuing this pathway are finding that tighter integration between industrial assets and the rest of the enterprise value-chain creates rapid value, and competitively positions their operations for future productivity opportunities.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Navigating new technologies and understanding their integration implications – such as the need for more secure networks and better data management across enterprises – requires guidance from automation experts and peers who have been there.
Rockwell Automation brings together global competency and Partners to create its own connected strategies, and how others can learn from their experiences.

The recent fluctuation in the oil and gas sector has been a major concern. How has the instability in the industry affected you?
Thony: The oil and gas industry has always been cyclical. Veterans of the field have lived through more than a few of this industry’s peaks and valleys. “Efficiency” is the name-of-the-game when prices are down. It impacts everything from production time to the bottom line. It represents one of the most significant sources of cost savings.
As new technologies continue to emerge in the industry, automation throughout the entire oil and gas supply chain continues to be a growing contributor to these increased efficiencies. Some would even say that automation is the key component to addressing the industry’s production challenges. Data analysis, drilling and wellheads, maintenance, and business operations represent a handful of the most significant automation
As an example, with more data available in the “digital oilfield”, companies now have access to real-time information on wellhead conditions, pipeline metering and other mechanical processes. Then, through increased enterprise connectivity, this data contributes to the overall customer interaction process, providing oil and gas companies with visibility into their entire supply chain from beginning to end.
With this type of connected enterprise in place, oilfield operations technology is converging with business system information technology, creating a more agile ecosystem for managing field operations, making decisions, and fulfilling customer needs.
While oil prices lay low, the players in this dynamic industry will continue to look for ways to reduce their costs and stay competitive. When leveraging automation technologies, being competitive starts by having real-time information, but it becomes a differentiator by having the systems in place to act on that information appropriately and quickly.
Contemporary operations management solutions can call on a diversity of tools and techniques which work towards optimal performance, incorporating end-to-end functionality and transparency for more efficient asset management, and providing a disciplined, collaborative environment for integrated production operations.
Appropriate support structures ensure that investments in equipment, processes and people deliver optimum return-on-investment and minimize operational costs. Additionally, onsite support services can include a complete evaluation and analysis of the condition and performance of control system equipment on an ongoing basis. The solutions available draw in data from process systems, mechanical condition systems, electrical systems and financial systems to provide business leaders, operators and maintenance personnel with visibility into the real-time status of asset performance and potential maintenance problems.
Yahya: The capital-intensive oil and gas industry is continually challenged to increase production while keeping the costs of sustaining operations down. Energy companies have implemented process instrumentation asset systems with the promise of optimizing their production by improving uptime. However, the energy industry has tended to lag other industries in the area of asset performance. When heavy industry firms are viewed on a global basis, world-class operations achieve an overall equipment effectiveness (oee) score of 91 percent. Historically, the oil and gas industry has been 10 or more percentage points behind this score.
Balancing increasingly stringent regulatory concerns with raising production demands and the need to optimize operations requires constant and ‘all-areas’ access to operational data. Providing the right information, to the right people, at the right time can have a fundamental effect on productivity, profitability and safety of operations. With a drive towards remote operations, and much of today’s critical equipment existing in remote or inaccessible locations, it becomes a challenge to monitor system health and ensure reliability.

Being a global company, where all do you have a strong presence?
Yahya: We are a leading supplier of automation controls and drive systems in the Middle East and have an infrastructure to meet the needs of customers doing business in this region. These are complemented by a network of local system solution providers and distributors in the
Region. Whether you’re an end user looking to procure automation products to support your business objectives, or an OEM looking to increase your business opportunities, we are a partner you can depend on. We serve the world’s leading manufacturers and local customers from our Regional Head Office in Abu Dhabi and offer Sales, Service, Repair and Technical Support expertise from our offices in Dubai, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Any major future project lined up for the upcoming year?

The EXPO 2020 is generating a lot of projects in the Emirates while the Utility sector in countries like Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar seem to be looking positive
in terms.

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