Franco Restelli, President of Invensys Operations Management Middle East and North Africa, talked to Oil Review about the significance of the SATORP contract and new regional direction that the company is taking.
The announcement in September that Invensys Operations Management had been awarded a multi-million dollar contract to provide an integrated refinery information system (IRIS) for Saudi Aramco Total Refining & Petrochemical Company (SATORP) re-emphasised the huge potential that Saudi Arabia's oil and gas market can offer.
For Invensys it brought about a successful conclusion to a long tendering process and means, in combination with previous awards from SATORP in 2008, the company now provides a complete integrated management system for the whole plant.
SATORP, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Total France, will see a state-of-the-art, 400,000 bpd refinery built in Jubail, Saudi Arabia, that is expected to be operational before the end of 2013.
The deal puts Invensys in a long-term partnership with SATORP and provides a springboard for the global provider of technology systems, to re-jig its Middle East strategy. As Restelli said: "these kinds of deals are very much based on trust. We have entered into a real partnership."
Infusion control system
Restelli argued that the process management business is growing and over the past two years has been steady but unremarkable. "Invensys is growing faster" than the market, stressed, but the company was operating in "a challenging market which was undefined with a lot of incumbent players in the region."
One advantage that Invensys has in the market is that: "We offer the right combination of experience and technical knowledge," he added.
It is because of this combination that Restelli feels that the SATORP deal is great example of this winning formula and is a great demonstration of the top solution that Invensys can offer. This kind of real time application uses the best of its kind equipment. The technology we will implement, he said, will be delivered in real time
The SATORP deal saw Invensys enter in a strategic alliance with Wipro Arabia Limited, to provide an integrated InFusion enterprise control system solution encompassing total supply chain management; refinery planning and scheduling; operations management, including health, safety and environment management; quality control and assurance; and performance control and management.
Restelli explained the alliance with Wipro: "SATORP wanted a fully integrated system and was looking towards a full IT solution based on a bespoke programme. So during the ordering process, we thought it would be best to partner with Wipro to offer a joint solution."
Invensys Operations Management will also provide data validation and reconciliation, mass energy balance, utilities optimisation, electronic logbooks and control performance solutions to help SATORP achieve operational excellence.
He said: "The integrated refinery information system we are offering to SATORP through Infusion control system is a long term process solution."
"One key advantage of the InFusion enterprise control system is that it provides open integration, both horizontally and vertically - linking ERP, planning, operations and control systems - from Invensys and other suppliers alike, " he added.
Restelli said that one of SATORP's major demands was that they wanted to work alongside someone working on the ground. "This is why we have a local team based in Saudi Arabia. We have been working on this for two years and we have built a strong base," he noted.
Saudi Arabia is seen as a major growth market. As Restelli explained: "I see Saudi Arabia as a high growth market in the region in the oil and gas sector. Saudi Arabia is searching for new technical solutions and has the capital to fund vast projects".
"Our goal is to provide process solutions for the oil and gas sector which is really big at the moment, with Saudi Arabia heavily focusing on the petrochemical side."
Restelli emphasised that there was a lot of work on the power generation side with a lot of projects coming up in the water and renewable energy sector.
He pointed out that Invensys Operations Management is a very well known brand in the oil and gas industry. "We have a strong knowledge of process control and we have been known as a brand through our technology."
Franco Restelli who has been at Invensys since 1998, only took over his new role as President of the MENA region late last year. "I started my role last year and my first objective was to look at the whole region and spot opportunities for Invensys," he added,
Restelli discussed what the new role has entailed and what he wanted to start implementing. "Firstly, to re-organise the management team. Secondly, to make Invensys more visible to customers in the region. Thirdly and very importantly, I wanted to establish new strong partnerships in the region."
Restelli discussed one such partnership with Microsoft, with Invensys using Microsoft-based software in its various solutions. This strong partnership was recognised over the summer when Invensys was selected as Microsoft's industry partner of the year.
On the company's regional push, Restelli, outlined the new thinking. "We have an office in Dubai and we are looking at setting up a new office in Saudi. We are expanding and we are actively looking at the Iraqi market which appears very promising," he added. Invensys is also looking at setting up a new office in Abu Dhabi.
The company has interesting operations in Egypt. Invensys Operations Management joined ENPPI and GASCO in a joint venture to create Invensys Operations Management Egypt the first, 'Industrial Automation Engineering Centre of Excellence' in the country.
The sharing of Invensys Operations Management expertise both with existing engineers and Egypt's new engineering graduates is designed to generate a deeper understanding of process control in the Oil and Gas sector.
Restelli talked about the company's own upcoming OpsManage event that will be taking place on the 20th and 21st of November 2011. The event will enable clients to hear from senior Invensys leaders and industry experts, as well as attend general sessions and breakout discussions to help them improve and sustain their business operations. Clients will include major Oil & Gas companies in the Middle East.
"The first ever event was held in Saudi Arabia earlier in the year and we had a very positive response, so we wanted to hold another event at the end of 2011," Restelli concluded.
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