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May 20, 2013 at 1:05 pm #1660
Dr. Bela Kelemen was a keynote speaker during AspenTech’s Optimize users group. He is a senior vice president for the Hungarian company MOL Group. He noted that the energy world is now diverging into three distinct regions—North America, Europe and Asia. Somewhat humorously, Dr. Kelemen labeled America as a returning rock star, Europe as a retiring pensioner and Asia as a hungry youngster.
Dr. Kelemen would not be surprised if 30% of Europe’s refineries were shuttered due to financial woes. Meanwhile, he noted that Asia’s impressive economic growth over the last ten years shows no signs of abating. To demonstrate Europe’s problems, he used his own company as an example. He said that before the market crash of 2008, MOL Group was producing $10 to $12 of profit per barrel at its refineries, but then that plummeted to around $4 post-crash. Still, he retains optimism about the future. He believes that the magic trinity of business is technology, process and people, overlaid by the knowledge that the most important thing is always the voice of the customer.
Refiners face a litany of challenges in the realm of scheduling and distribution, Dr. Kelemen said, so it therefore quite important to place events in the right sequence. For this, he said that a feasibility test is crucial. The constant drama in the refining business is measuring what is optimal vs. what is feasible. Interruptions, unexpected events and opportunities are a day-by-day occurrence, and the refiner that copes well with such challenges will the refiner that is still in business in the future.
“Knowledge is the right combination of information and experience,” he said. “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
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