oil and gas, energy transition, digital transformation, sustainability

How Capital-Intensive Organizations Across the Middle East Can Drive Sustainability

April 08, 2021

As we approach the holy month of Ramadan and celebrate Eid al-Fitr, for many in the Middle East it is a time to reflect and refocus after a very demanding year. AspenTech is hosting its bi-annual industry event just after the official dates for Eid. This year the entire conference is virtual which provides a unique opportunity for our Middle East customers to enjoy the high level debate and conversation ‘on-demand’ as everyone returns to work after the EID holiday refresher period.

Sustainability is a key theme at OPTIMIZE 2021 , our premier global event for executives, operational leaders and users in capital-intensive industries looking to accelerate their digitalization journey in response to volatile and uncertain markets. In the Middle East there has been a growing focus on sustainability over recent years. In 2019, Saudi Arabia launched a $28 billion renewable energy funding initiative. The UAE has allocated over $163 billion to meet its goal to increase the contribution of clean energy sources in the total capacity mix to 50% by 2050. 

The big players across the capital-intensive industries, and notably including oil and gas are increasingly putting their efforts behind sustainability initiatives. A recent ARC survey found that around 90% of global energy and chemical companies have sustainability initiatives in place. 

In November, for example, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) signed a framework agreement with energy company, Total for a joint research and development (R&D) partnership to realize opportunities for renewable energy operations and carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) with the end objective of decreasing CO2 emissions. 

Through this partnership, ADNOC has also announced plans to expand the capacity of its Al-Reyadah (CCUS) facility by a factor of six, which would result in the capture of 5MTA of CO2 from its gas plants by 2030. Saudi Aramco has been working on a range of energy transition strategies in recent times. These include support for renewables blue hydrogen and a shift to gas production.

COVID-19 has changed the game and corporate momentum has shifted perceptibly towards more aggressive sustainability targets for the global energy and chemical industries. These often ambitious targets are already driving investment in digitalization initiatives to support the need for accelerated innovation and change. Globally, the energy transition has gained strong momentum and inevitably this will accelerate as we move through .  

At AspenTech we see three key areas of focus for capital intensive businesses across MENA as they look to drive sustainability initiatives. Delivering resource efficiencies involves reducing the use of non-renewable resources, including water used to generate energy, or as feedstocks and decreasing emissions from operations. Energy transition typically involves a shift to zero carbon energy sources from fossil-based ones, together with a focus on increasing the use of renewables and lower-carbon sources in the energy mix. Finally, the circular economy seeks to decouple economic growth from the consumption of finite resources while increasing use of renewable raw materials and renewable energy resources. 


Process and technology

Chemicals producers can make use of process simulation tools to find new ways to decrease unwanted by-products and model and gauge the viability of new approaches to recycling. Advanced modeling tools can also cut the number of experiments required in new product development and associated waste generated as part of the process. 

Predictive maintenance capabilities enabled within asset performance management (APM) tools can help plant operators in oil and gas and chemicals sectors as well as manufacturers across the capital intensive industries to prevent shutdowns that cause environmental damage, as well as enabling them to raise safety levels.


Setting the controls for 2030 

All the above technology areas and the business strategies they drive will be center stage at OPTIMIZE 2021.

This year’s online event will see a plethora of presentations devoted specifically to the theme of sustainability. Agenda topics include ‘Digital Solutions for the Circular Economy’ right through to a discussion of how Industrial AI will enable a new era of autonomy to drive a more sustainable, reliable, and therefore more profitable business.

The event will also put the spotlight on the Self-Optimizing Plant. One OPTIMIZE 2021 presentation offers the opportunity to discover how production and value chain optimization lays the foundation for the self-optimizing plant, closing the gap between planning and operations. 

One of the great attractions of an event like OPTIMIZE 2021 is that it offers attendees the opportunity to interact with businesses from over 60 countries across the world which are faced with similar challenges and opportunities. 


It is a tremendous opportunity to hear like-minded, global organizations share experiences and best practices and as the event is virtual this year, attendees will have the opportunity to tune in in their own time zones, as well as on demand to hear global use cases. Click here to register.






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