Leveraging Technology to Streamline Energy Transition
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Leveraging Technology to Streamline Energy Transition

Layla El Hares – Egypt Managing Director,Siemens Energy
Layla El Hares – Egypt Managing Director,Siemens Energy

Layla El Hares – Egypt Managing Director,Siemens Energy

What are the major challenges and trends that have impacted the oil and gas industry lately?

The oil and gas industry is synonymous with boom and bust, it is never stable and it is one or the other. While today we are focused on the crisis in Ukraine and the ensuing price peek, we need to remember that this is not the first crisis we go through and probably will not be the last. Here is a short overview of the previous threats to the stability of the oil and gas industry.They are generally:

- Geopolitical: Such as the 1973 oil embargo and to a large extent what we see as a result of the Ukraine war today.

- Supply driven:This is what we witnessed in the mid-80s with the production accelerating in the North Sea and Alaska and where demand had not yet caught up.

- Financial: A good example is the financial crisis in the early 2010’s which led to demand destruction.

- Technological:Such as the shale oil boom in the USA in the late decade

- And lastly, the energy transition which is an existential threat. I will elaborate more on that later.

So the challenges are many and varied. Energy is intertwined with society, growth, politics and geopolitics – that is what is fascinating about it.

Currently we’re in a situation where the oil and gas industry is working to decarbonize. On a superficial level, we’re seeing companies rebrand and change their names and corporate identities. But we’re also witnessing oil and gas companies diversify into other energy industries such as renewables. We’re also seeing oil and gas companies increasingly focus on improving their efficiency and reducing their emissions.

The energy industry is most likely going to continue to be a relevant part of everyday life for decades to come. We cannot simply switch from powering our modern lives using oil and gas, to using renewables, overnight. But what we can do is accelerate this transition and work to ensure that the oil and gas that we are using has the highest level of efficiency and lowest carbon cost possible.

What keeps you up at night when it comes to the major predicaments?

We are currently witnessing price volatility in the oil and gas markets that have real and negative impact on people’s lives. Not only are the recent price spikes increasing people’s energy bills, but are also adding to inflation and raising the price of household goods. For families on low incomes around the world this can have severe and long-lasting affects.

As a result, energy security is increasingly becoming a real issue for many countries around the world.

Aside from this global impact, oil and gas challenges are many and varied. However, they can be addressed through innovation, resilience and human capital.

Despite these challenges that often arise, I sleep well because I know that we, at Siemens Energy, have the right technologies and expertise to address them. We work alongside our customers and partners to create the solutions of today and innovate the technologies of tomorrow to ensure that as we progress through the energy transition, we are ready to tackle any challenges that arise.

Siemens Energy’s technologies are used in around one sixth of all electricity generated. We have a global team of more than 91,000 dedicated employees across 90 countries. Together, we're responsible for meeting the growing energy demand while ensuring our climate is protected. We strive for sustainability in our decarbonization journey, innovation centered on future technologies, and transformation among future focused offerings, portfolio and mindset. That is what reassures me when it comes to facing challenges. This is how we shape the energy of tomorrow.

Can u tell me about the latest project Siemens Energy in Egypt has worked on?

We have a long legacy in Egypt, stretching back over 120 years, with a proven track record delivering small and large projects throughout the country. Through these projects we are helping to energize society and provide stable, reliable and affordable energy to households, businesses, and community services. We successfully built and are now maintaining the world largest three highly efficient natural gas combined cycle power plants in BeniSuef, Burullus and New capital. This mega project enabled Egypt to boost its power generation capacity by 40 percent in less than three years, whilst delivering electricity to over 40 million Egyptians.

We are also supporting the country’s strategy to strengthen and increase the reliability of the national grid, to power new cities, and drive the country’s economic and social development. These new cities will help drive Egypt’s economic and social development. Cities such as New Mansoura, New Alamein and Bashaer El Kheir, with their strategic locations and huge potential to accommodate millions of Egyptians are electrified by Siemens Energy substations.

Recently, Siemens Energy combined advanced power transmission and digitalization solutions for the electrification of Cairo’s new metro line to ensure seamless and sustainable performance. The electrification package for the expansion of Line 3 of Cairo’s metro expansion was inaugurated last August.

In the oil and gas sector, last year we signed a long-term preventive maintenance contract with the Egyptian Ethylene and Derivatives Company (ETHYDCO), for its industrial complex in Alexandria. This is one of Africa’s largest petrochemical plants. We are providing ETHYDCO with a 10-year service contractcovering three Siemens SGT-800 industrial gas turbines, which are an essential component of the company’s production processes and have been operating since 2017.

We are also working to support the decarbonization of the domestic oil and gas sector. We are diligently implementing business models to address the growing demand for energy while responsibly shaping the path to a climate friendly energy future for Egypt. A recent successful example of this was at the GASCO Dahshour Compressor station, where we are collaborating with Turboden. This project will reinforce availability and boost natural gas supply to support the South of Egypt. By capturing waste heat and converting it into power, not only is this project improving compression capacity of 25 percent, without any additional fuel consumption, but it is also reducing CO2 emissions by 120,000 tons per year, and saving more than 65 million cubic meters of natural gas per year.

Which are some of the technological trends which excite you for the future of the Oil and Gas industry?

The oil and gas industry is an pioneering and exciting sector, driven by technological advancement. The people working in this field are among the most creative and innovative people I have had the pleasure to work with.

We have been talking about the demise of the oil and gas industry for the past 20 years but through technology we were able to re-invent in two main directions, lowering the cost of production and increasing recovery.

Those are and will continue to remain the challenges. However, through technology the industry can and will adapt as it has in the past. No doubt the energy transition will reduce our dependency on hydrocarbons and through technology we can lower costs and improve our carbon capture. At Siemens Energy we help by providing the necessary compression and monitoring to make carbon capture a reality. In fact we recently formed a strategic partnership with BASF to accelerate commercial implementation of new technologies designed to lower greenhouse gas emissions. We are combining BASF’s technological expertise with Siemens Energy’s innovative product and services portfolio. Several pilot projects at BASF’s Ludwigshafen site are under discussion. Possible pilot projects include the construction of a PEM (proton exchange membrane) electrolyzer for hydrogen production with an output of 50 megawatts with the possibility of modular expansion. We are also examining the installation of a high-temperature thermal heat pump for generating process steam from waste heat at a production plant. In addition, a modernization of the power grid at the Ludwigshafen site using digital and CO2-optimized products from Siemens Energy is being evaluated. Furthermore, a study is underway to assess the potential for common system and catalytic converter development in an effort to boost the efficiency of the PEM electrolysis plants and for collaboration in generating electricity from wind energy. 

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