Editor's Comment: Importance of science and technology in downstream industry

Technology leaders consistently redefine the way people think, work and create value.

Martin Menachery, editor, Refining & Petrochemicals Middle East.
Martin Menachery, editor, Refining & Petrochemicals Middle East.

Refining and petrochemicals manufacturing industry has always been technology-driven. Technology innovations are necessary in plant design, equipment making and process operation in order to make large-scale manufacturing activities commercially viable. Technology leaders consistently redefine the way people think, work and create value. Their pursuit is exploring the ways in which technological and engineering breakthroughs can be applied to fulfil the needs of their customers.

Evolution of the downstream industry is directly related to science and technology. Historically, new products in the refining and petrochemicals manufacturing industry have usually emerged out of laboratory research. Laboratory research, however, does not provide information to scale up production to commercial level. Optimal size is determined by the inferences drawn from experimental data provided by pilot plants which differs from one product line to another. Like any other science-based industries, technological innovation has proved to be the most important factor for growth in the downstream industry.

Global downstream industry is confronted with restricted resources, enhanced global competition, instantaneous transfer of information, and technology that offers a level playing field. The advantage of such a scenario is acceptance of self-imposed discipline. It enables them to become more productive when faced with the restricted budgets. A consolidated effort to create awareness among industry, academia and society about the importance of R&D and the role of science and technology in determining the future of human well-being is an absolute necessity. The role of science and technology will be the most decisive factor in the progress of global downstream industry in the future.

I hope 2018 will bring in transformational catalysts and technologies for the refining and petrochemicals manufacturing industry to become more productive, profitable and environmentally sustainable.

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