Five minutes with Jim Moshi, general manager for Middle East, Honeywell UOP

Digitalisation of the refining and petrochemicals industry will continue to gain momentum, says Jim Moshi, general manager for Middle East, Honeywell UOP.

Jim Moshi, general manager for Middle East, Honeywell UOP.
Jim Moshi, general manager for Middle East, Honeywell UOP.

Why are you participating in ME-TECH 2019?

The industry is in one of the most transformative periods in its history. Rapid changes in demand, feedstocks, and pricing are redefining how the oil and gas business operates. ME-TECH 2019 is a great venue for Honeywell UOP experts to discuss new process technologies and innovations that make customers be more competitive and profitable, and that provide more sustainable growth. It also lets us continue conversations with customers in the region and learn what challenges and trends are emerging within the sector.

What products and services are you looking to showcase at the event? What are some of the key points that are going to be highlighted?

Honeywell has a full range of technologies in the oil and gas value chain, including refining and integration with petrochemicals production, and with new connected plant software capabilities that improve plant reliability and optimisation. We will show Honeywell UOP’s Uniflex technology, which converts about 90% of vacuum residue into cleaner-burning transportation fuels with minimal by-products. This is far more efficient than traditional bottom-of-the-barrel upgrading technologies.

Also new this year is Honeywell UOP’s full range of hydrotreating catalysts for demetalisation and naphtha and distillate hydrotreating, and FCC and hydrocracking pre-treat. These catalysts are designed to provide longer cycle lengths and meet new clean fuels specifications.

We are also showing new technologies for the production of aromatics, where Honeywell UOP is the world’s leading licensor. In fact, Honeywell UOP has licensed more than 700 aromatics units, including more than 300 CCR Platforming process units globally.

Our technical sessions will cover performance-based services that make plants smarter, more responsive, and more profitable. We will discuss end-to-end catalyst solutions that make process work more efficiently, new developments in aromatics technology, our research and development pipeline and innovation update, and much more. The seminar is open to oil refining and petrochemical operators.

What are some of the key trends in downstream technology that you think the industry should be paying more attention to? And why?

One major trend is increased integration between refining and petrochemicals, as petrochemical products generate more value than fuels, and we develop new technologies to convert crude into chemicals. In addition, demand for cleaner-burning fuels is rising even as demand for fuels overall is slowing.

Another area is heavy oil upgrading to derive more value from residual fuel oil, and new International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations limiting sulphur content in marine fuels. Both require more sophisticated conversion and hydrotreating processes.

We speak of the ‘refinery of the future’ as one with the flexibility to quickly switch production to a wide range of products from an equally wide variety of feedstocks. This is a refinery that is more energy efficient and produces less waste.

There will continue to be important advances in chemistry, metallurgy, and all the other mechanics of refineries and petrochemical plants. The major next move in the industry is being governed by new technological capabilities enabled by digitalisation. This shift involves connecting processes, equipment, and the people who operate it to make operations more reliable, more profitable, and more secure than ever before. This allows operators to continually redefine the benchmark of optimal performance and reliability. Here, Honeywell UOP can provide immense benefits to the refiners based on the insights gained from reliable performance data captured over a century of operations, under different conditions, and with a very wide variety of feeds.

Have you got any predictions for the refining and petrochemical sectors in the Middle East in 2019-2020?

Digitalisation of the refining and petrochemicals industry will continue to gain momentum. Many of our customers are investing in digital technologies and data analytics to improve their operations. This trend will be pre-eminent in the Middle East this year and next.

Our customers are becoming more interested in managing outcomes such as productivity and costs. For the oil and gas industry, this includes better leveraging the capabilities of workers by equipping them with the skills and tools they need to put their data to the best use.

With the right technology, our customers can generate the most value from every drop of oil and every cubic foot of natural gas they have. It requires the best process technology and configurations, the best catalysts and adsorbents, and the software solutions to make it all run at the peak of their capability.

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Editor’s Comment: Digital transformation as a key enabler
One of the stimulating outcomes of digitalisation for the chemical plants of the future is that it easily connects expertise across company boundaries during the project planning and execution phases