7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
Business News

Energy conservation urged

MANAMA: There is a growing need for energy conservation in the refining sector due to falling oil prices, Energy Minister Dr Abdulhussain Mirza said yesterday.

He was speaking after opening the "Options for Energy Conservation in the Oil Refining Industry Conference", organised by the Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (Oapec) in co-operation with Japan Co-operation Centre Petroleum (JCCP) and National Oil and Gas Authority (Noga).

It was attended by industry experts, engineers and senior technicians involved in various oil refining phases.

He said energy conservation was a necessity for the refining industry, which uses about half of all the energy consumed by the oil and gas industry.

The minister said though energy efficiency and conservation were distinctly different, both played important roles in reducing energy use, lowering investment and operating costs.

The World Energy Investment Outlook 2014 published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) revealed more than $1.6 trillion investment in 2013 to provide energy to the world, with a rising investment share in end use energy efficiency projects, he said.

It said the share was expected to be $8trn by the end of 2035, the lion's share going to secure efficiency in transportation and building, and 10 per cent to be invested in finetuning oil refining.

Dr Mirza said there was a need to increase this investment percentage, in spite of the challenges in implementing energy efficiency programmes, especially in old refineries.

There are growing global concerns about the massive quantities of energy consumed in fuel production, the minister added.

He said energy intensity in production had increased with the advent of more non-conventional methods, and advanced high energy intense refining processes.

He added it was encouraging to see refineries now proactively reducing energy intensity by switching to more efficient technologies, equipment or processes, which would not only improve productivity and lower operating costs, but would also reduce environmental impacts.

Some experts claim oil and gas industry activities in extracting, processing and marketing fuels account for more than a quarter of the world's total primary energy use, he said, pointing out that some upward pressure on the overall energy intensity in the refining industry could be due to the stringent standards and demand for lighter products.

"Production processes in challenging offshore and heavy crude oilfields used additional energy to harvest same volumes, whereas energy intensive secondary and enhanced recovery techniques also consumed more energy."

Dr Mirza said oil and gas companies had to do more than invest heavily in more efficient technologies all along the supply chain. They had to reduce flaring or venting of the associated natural gas and strengthen the distribution infrastructure.

He pointed out that Bahrain was on the right path in designing environment compliant projects, such as the newly commissioned gas compression station at Banagas, which ensured a clean harvest from the Bahrain Refinery operations.

The minister praised organisations world over that have started energy management programmes to ensure effective energy usage in their current and future projects.

He pointed out that successful energy management strategies improved energy use.

Japan Ambassador Kiyoshi Asako, Oapec secretary-general Abbas Ali Al Naqi and JCCP special adviser Eiji Hiroka also spoke at the opening session.

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