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Interview


Samir Rawal
"A future of non-dependency on fossil fuels and a carbon controlled world would need the chemical industry to come up with innovative and drastic developments in energy and feedstock efficiency."

Samir Rawal
Country Manager, Indian Subcontinent, Huntsman Corporation

Indian Power Sector Has Lots To Offer


September 20, 2018
Amidst the current global oil and gas market, India is seen with tremendous potential for the power sector. There is a major economic opportunity for developing economies like India in exploring renewable energy. In the recent years, India has made significant strides in the renewable energy space. Issues around global warming and climate change have been pushed by the government for cleaner and sustainable power. Samir Rawal, Country Manager, Indian Subcontinent, Huntsman Corporation, talks about the various emerging energy segments, new trends and the developing Indian energy space.

By Namrata Nikale Tanna, Oil Asia Journal

OAJ - What are the different businesses in the energy segments looked by Huntsman in India and how has been the experience so far?
Rawal : Huntsman Performance Products participates in both conventional energy markets such as Oilfield and Gas Treating, and also renewable energy such as Wind, Energy Storage for Electronic Vehicle and Solar. In Indian subcontinent, Huntsman operates actively in Gas Treating, Oilfield and Wind Energy segments.

Huntsman has been a leader in gas processing technology for more than 60 years. The company offers a broader portfolio that ranges from gas treating products to oil refineries and gas plants wherein the products remove undesirable compounds from refinery and natural gas streams in order to make their products safe for domestic or industrial use. Huntsman has been educating and promoting its wide range of specialty JEFFTREAT solvents that absorb unwanted acid gases such as hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide without compromising on reliability.

With the growing concerns about energy security, Huntsman’s chemistries are helping to optimize the exploration and production of hydrocarbons throughout the oil production industry. The company supplies specialty chemicals widely used in oilfield operations by formulators of finished oilfield products and major oilfield service companies. Most Oilfield formulators in India explore various low-cost formulations that improve yields as well as maintain their production efficiency. The methodology presently use in the market is less sophisticated as compared to chemicals used in some of the developed oilfield markets. This create opportunities for Huntsman to leverage the technical expertise of its team to offer specialized technologies that deliver superior performance in this region.

By taking a holistic, full process approach from product concept through to commercial large-scale production, Huntsman is well-placed to deliver proven and sustainable oilfield solutions into the foreseeable future in India.

OAJ - According to the sources, wind and solar power are set to surge to account for almost 50 per cent of world generation by 2050, could you please share your opinion on the same?
Rawal :The chemical industry has a significant demand for the electrical and thermal energy due to the continuous production process. The industry also faces multiple challenges on an on-going basis and is moving towards adapting sustainable measures thereby reducing CO2 emissions. A future of non-dependency on fossil fuels and a carbon controlled world would need the chemical industry to come up with innovative and drastic developments in energy and feedstock efficiency. Moreover, the electrification also offers promising opportunities to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the industry and improve its competitiveness.

The chemical industry also needs to retain a strong-hold to fully utilize the potential of electrification but the road to electrification is tough and full of barriers, one of them being the economic unfeasibility. To address the barriers, low cost technologies should be made available at an industrial scale. Over the years, the major corporations and governments across the world have started to realize that renewable sources of energy are better, not only in terms of environmental impact but also in terms of cost.

Electrification has the potential to realize major progress in sustainability and reduction in fossil energy and feedstock use. At the same time, it offers possibilities to strengthen the competitive position of the chemical industry. Having knowledge, expertise and capital resources to convert raw materials into products and fuels, the chemical sector is well positioned in the transition to renewable electricity as an energy resource.

Huntsman Performance Product Division has been consistently participating in wind industry as a key player in the value chain. The company has invested significantly in capacity expansions to meet growing demand from the wind energy so that the industry growth is unhindered and sustainable.

OAJ - In the current market scenario, what are the business opportunities and risks currently in the Indian renewable energy space?
Rawal :There is a major economic opportunity for developing economies like India in exploring renewable energy. In the recent years, India has made significant strides in the renewable energy space. Issues around global warming and climate change have been pushed by the government and decision makers to prepare a detailed plan for clean and sustainable power for all. Apart from the solar energy, the country is also exploring hydro power potential in the north-eastern states. Innovative technologies clubbed with growing investments will ensure clean and affordable energy to everyone in the country.

A lot of global and domestic companies have pledged to generate energy across solar, wind, biomass-based power in India over the next decade. For example, the International Finance Corporation is planning to invest about $6 billion by 2022 across several sustainable and renewable energy programmers in India. Moreover, the Indian power sector has an investment potential of ` 15 trillion over the next four to five years, which brings with it immense opportunities in power generation, distribution, transmission and equipment.

Huntsman works continuously to innovate new products for the wind industry to cater to changing needs/dynamics such like longer blades, off shore production etc. Huntsman has recently completed the expansion of its Singapore plant, doubling its capacity to support the fast growing APAC market including India. This investment also included capability to produce raw materials which were earlier imported across continents leading to reduced lead time and quick to market response.

There are plenty of capital chasing opportunities in the renewable sector but at the same time there are several risks that need to be kept in view. Renewable energy projects face challenges related to the weak credit quality of off-takers, evolving regulatory framework as well as financing and execution risks and despite all the benefits, going green is not an easy task at all.

OAJ - We would request you to share the significant projects undertaken by Huntsman and also the portfolio that focuses on increasing the efficiency of renewable energy?
Rawal :Huntsman Performance Products is a global market leader to the Wind Turbine & Blade producers with JEFFAMINE® epoxy curing agent which increases operational efficiencies and provides the necessary material properties required in the production and operation of wind turbines. With the drive to reduce the LCoE (Levelized Cost of Electricity) to compete with traditional fossil fuel energy, Wind Blades are becoming longer to produce more electricity per turbine. This requires specialized longer "open time" amine curing agent systems which Huntsman has developed.

OAJ - With the government’s push for alternative energy following the Paris climate summit to achieve the target by 2022, how has been Huntsman contributing in the initiative?
Rawal : Wind energy capacity addition is estimated at about 3-3.5 GW in FY 2019 and the viability of bid tariffs and inter-state connectivity will be key headwinds for developers, ratings agency ICRA said today. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) along with the distribution utilities in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have awarded wind-power capacity of 7.6 GW over the past 15 months and another 10 GW each are proposed to be awarded in FY 2019 and FY 2020.

This is in line with the trajectory of project awards announced by the MNRE in November 2017 to achieve the cumulative wind capacity target of 60 GW by FY 2022.

The completion of Huntsman’s facility expansion on Jurong Island in Singapore last year, doubling the site’s capacity to 50,000 tons, has further strengthen our leadership position in amine technology. This allows us to manufacture more complex and a wider range of polyetheramines to meet the growing global demand needs for specialty amines in the global Wind Market including India.




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