George Costache: Siemens – Best-in-class supplier for the oil & gas industry
By supplying high quality services globally and having superior safety principles, Siemens offers the oil and gas operators an extensive range of products and services for extracting, transporting and processing oil and natural gas. The portfolio includes compressors, processing and automation systems or innovative solutions for water management and IT integrated solutions. With over 40 years experience on the offshore oil and gas market, the company is supplying monitoring services, control and offshore-onshore data transfer integrated information systems, energy distribution, process management. Siemens has been present on the Romanian market for more than 100 years and is continuously investing in the development of the company’s nine divisions, positioning itself along the electrification, automation and digitalization fields. Siemens Romania CEO, Mr. George Costache, speaks about the Siemens solutions for oil and gas industry in the context of the dynamic evolutions in the area of exploitation of unconventional hydrocarbons resources globally and the development perspectives of the company for the future.
Petroleum Industry Review: The unconventional hydrocarbons extraction progress in the United States has drawn the attention of Siemens, which recently announced it has reached an agreement to acquire the turbine and compressor producer for oil industry Dresser-Rand on the US market. How do these evolutions influence the Siemens objectives and its market strategies? Is the interest for oil industry on the rise?
George Costache: The oil industry is very important for Siemens. The development plan at world scale for this industry is founded on internal resources as well as on acquisition and integration strategies at Siemens for complementary products and services. The Dresser-Rand’s acquisition is a natural step within the strategy and we are pleased the takeover was openly greeted by all involved parties.
Dresser-Rand is a top supplier for the oil and gas market as well as for other energy infrastructure industries, having an extensive portfolio of compressors, steam turbines and engines. Being a premium brand in industry, Dresser-Rand is the perfect fit for the Siemens portfolio. We believe the combined activities of the two companies will create a first class provider for the oil and gas industry.
However, the most important issue is that, for certain, this transaction will offer added value to customers. It is a unique opportunity to serve them better, concomitantly with the global aim to maintain the company’s brand and to selectively move products from the Siemens current offer to Dresser-Rand’s one.
Petroleum Industry Review: One of the three fields of activity for Siemens Romania is energy. What specific solutions is Siemens offering for the oil and gas industry?
George Costache: The oil and gas industry requires personalized solutions, adapted to specific needs. Thus, at Siemens Romania the portfolio of solutions dedicated to this segment is managed by a team of specialists with lots of experience in the field. We have an approach through which the development of products and solutions for oil industry, as well as their promotion to customers, is done in close relation with the specific processes and its segmenting.
Siemens is an integrated provider of solutions for the entire value chain in the oil and gas industry. We take special pride in our projects in the oilfields, in those for refineries and in the solutions dedicated to water treatment. Traditionally our products and solutions are classified in the following way: automation (DCS systems, SCADA, ESD, process instruments, fire and gas detection), electricity (distribution individual equipments for high, medium and low energy, UPS converters, etc.), security (access control, surveillance, alarm), communication (industrial IT networks, telecommunications, radio), equipments (compressors, engines, gas or steam turbines, convertors) and services (design, engineering, project management, process safety analysis, site services).
Petroleum Industry Review: How would you assess the oil and gas industry in Romania, from the point of view of the business environment, but also of the training of the work force?
George Costache: In 1857, in Ploiesti, ‘Fabrica de gaz’ (Gas factory) was inaugurated, the first one of its kind in Romania and in the world. Romania’s history in this area is long, as the vast resources allowed considerable development.
For Siemens there are numerous opportunities on the market and we see great potential for business in its development. As Romania has mature oil fields, one future direction for Siemens is related to redevelopment projects, to the increase of the oil recovery factor, where energy efficient technologies, the automation ones, as well as the Siemens owned process technologies (e.g. the treatment of the produced water and its reinjection in order to maintain the pressure within the deposit) all concur to the optimizing of extraction costs. All the same we are very interested by the opportunities revealed by the Black Sea deposits and we are closely monitoring the evolution of the project in view of identifying business opportunities.
The labour force in the field is highly educated. Thus, in Ploiesti we have one of the company’s biggest working points within the Petrobrazi refinery. In 2012 the Siemens Group decided to open in Bucharest a regional centre for engineering, specialized processes safety management in the oil and gas industry. Named CES (Conceptual Engineering Services), this department enjoys international recognition within the group as well as from clients such as British Petroleum, Sinclair Oil, Sabic Kemya, Saudi Aramco and ConocoPhilips.
Petroleum Industry Review: The Oil & Gas Division’s activity practically started with the operations for the Petrobrazi refinery. How did the activity evolve and what other important projects is this division conducting in Romania? Are there any projects concerning the Romanian Black Sea shelf?
George Costache: We opened the Siemens Petrobrazi working point in 2007. According to the frame contract with OMV Petrom some 100 people are responsible for the maintenance works for electrical equipment, instrumentation and automation for the most important equipments of the Petrobrazi refinery. Seven years have passed since and our work is very much appreciated by the client. For example, this summer, the Siemens team (along with subcontractors) took part in the general maintenance of the Petrobrazi refinery with almost 100,000 hours of work without any HSE incident; thus the target ‘Zero working accidents’ has been successfully accomplished. Also in the exploration and production field we are coordinating the wells’ electric maintenance project and for all the devices and compressors’ stations in the area of Videle – Asset 4 – Moesia Sud. Another reference project in this field is the supply of a complete water treatment station for the OMV Petrom wells at Oprisenesti. The project aims at pressurising the deposit and at increasing the oil output. It is a flexible solution and, depending on the variations in water necessities, the client can relocate each unit to other oilfields. Last but not least, an important internal project was setting up the engineering regional centre (CES) process safety management. For two years our teams of engineers have been developing solutions for international clients all over the world. The benefits of the high-performance safety management are production optimisation, efficient use of equipment and, of course, cost cuts.
We are interested in the opportunities presented in exploiting the Black Sea deposits, where we could use the Siemens experience in similar projects carried out in the North Sea.
Petroleum Industry Review: What concrete form is taking the company’s preoccupation to improve the general work safety conditions and to reduce the HSE risks?
George Costache: Work safety is the most important aspect of our business and has represented a priority ever since the company was founded. In 1890, Werner von Siemens, the founder himself, said: “preventing accidents is not to be seen as a legal provision, but as an exigency of human sense of duty.”
Every one of us should be working in a safe environment so that, at the end of the working hours, everyone is to return home in good health, to the family and friends. This is the very purpose of the “Zero Harm Culture @ Siemens” programme, which is constantly improving the Siemens employees’ line of conduct policy. At company level we feel responsible for our employees’ safety, while clients, suppliers and the authorities expect us to keep the highest standards in this regard.
In order to reach this target we make no compromises in regards to health and safety at work. Periodically we have extensive communication and awareness campaigns on HSE principles, trainings for our employees and we encourage (and reward!) our colleagues to send proposals/notifications to improve the Labour Safety and Security activity (SSM). The HSE regulations and principles are even more important as part of our work is carried out on the field or within a refinery.
More than that, the management and the employees are responsible for knowing and applying the regulations. Before starting any project we need to be assured that the risks have been identified and that prevention rules have been set, that all employees are trained and that the protection equipments are in use. Nevertheless, equally important is the fact that the management team is constantly preoccupied to ensure the implementation of these measures, leading by example (on site visits or transparent dialogue with the employees are just two of these measures).
Petroleum Industry Review: What are the most important projects Siemens has implemented in Romania or those you have been part to?
George Costache: In all our fields of activity we have projects we are proud of. Speaking about the energy sector, we have taken part in upgrading a considerable number of power stations belonging to Transelectrica, throughout Romania. Furthermore, we took advantage of the opportunities offered by wind energy and we commissioned Siemens turbines in four wind parks in the country. In the transportation sector, Astra Vagoane Calatori is producing the first Romanian tram with Siemens technology. Oradea city has the same transport conditions as Vienna, thanks to the Siemens ULF tram with ultra-low floor. In the infrastructure area, our teams are participating in the construction and electrification works for the IV pan-European corridor. Buildings such as the Palas Hotel in Iasi have automation systems, fire protection and integrated access control by Siemens. For customers in the cement industry, metallurgy and general goods, as well as for important public utilities, our Industry sector is renowned for its products and solutions, but also for post-sale services. The presence of Siemens medical equipments in clinics and hospitals in the public and private sectors are the best proof of our contribution to the modernisation of the Romanian health system.
Almost 1,000 employees are working for our four plants in Sibiu and Buzias to export products made in Romania. Regional or global centres as the Corporate Technology division and Siemens Industry Software in Brasov, Evosoft in Cluj-Napoca or Conceptual Engineering Services (CES) are serving clients all over the world in the field of software development, IT research or engineering.
Petroleum Industry Review: What directions are targeted by the company’s development policies in the next period of time in Romania and in the region?
George Costache: Starting October 1, 2014 Siemens has a new structure that allows us to be more flexible and more efficient. Due to the global strategy ‘Vision 2020’ the company’s portfolio was organised along the automation, electrification and digitalisation growth fields. This meant organisational simplification and the consolidation of business in nine divisions. For clients, the reorganisation means less bureaucracy, more transparency and a more efficient decision-making process.
In Romania we have a sound organisation that is providing the entire Siemens portfolio, has an important production capacity and is investing in the software and IT research development fields. All these directions are to be consolidated in the future.
As far as market opportunities are concerned, we are expecting the start of large scale investments in infrastructure, by accelerating Romania’s capacities to absorb EU funds (especially for research and innovation, IT sector development, sustainable transport systems or encouraging environment protection and the efficient use of resources).
Petroleum Industry Review: Which are Siemens’s main best cards and its basic values?
George Costache: We are a reliable German company with global presence, with a strong local footprint. We have been present in Romania for almost 110 years and our reputation comes from our teams of engineers, from our high quality products, from our access to global resources and from our responsibility in carrying every project. We have partners and clients that honour us with their trust for many years now and we deem we have developed simultaneously with Romania, also contributing to the modernisation of our country’s infrastructure. This is our aspiration: to further support the development of the Romanian economy and society.