Seifi Ghasemi, Chairman, President and CEO, Air Products spoke to Pipeline Magazine’s Julian Walker about the growth opportunities in Egypt and the importance of hydrogen fuelling plants in the future
This is your first time speaking at EGYPS, can you tell us, how important is the Egyptian oil and gas sector for Air Products?
We at Air Products see ourselves at the heart of one of the greatest global challenges today: meeting the world’s need for clean, sustainable energy…energy that protects our environment and moves us all towards a better future. We are driven to innovate alongside our customers and help make them more sustainable.
As the Egyptian oil and gas sector embarks on some of its Clean Fuels and Bottom of the Barrel projects, we are keen to leverage our investment appetite and technical expertise in the production and supply of industrial gases which are essential components for the success of these projects.
Generally speaking, there is tremendous growth potential across the oil and gas sector in Egypt and throughout the Middle East. As a global company, we are well positioned to support that growth, because our core competency at Air Products is our ability to develop, engineer, build, own and operate complex industrial gas facilities that transform the resources available to our customers into engines of economic growth and social development.
Air Products has earmarked the Middle East as a key global growth market. As such, Egypt being an important economy in the region, Air Products is keen to invest in the local economy in the next 3 to 5 years by supporting on-going downstream oil and gas projects.
What is the future for hydrogen fuelling plants looking like?
Our world needs a sustainable system to address environmental challenges while also meeting growing energy demand. Hydrogen and fuel cell technologies are well positioned to be part of the solution.
We have prioritised hydrogen for mobility and energy transition as a significant, sustainable growth area. Air Products is a leading global hydrogen provider, involved with 250+ fuelling projects in 20 countries. Our SmartFuel technologies fuel cars, trucks, vans, buses, forklifts, locomotives, planes, cell towers and material handling equipment. This past year, in partnership with Saudi Aramco, we launched the first-ever hydrogen fuelling station in the Middle East and look forward to building on that success.
Where do you see innovation and digitalisation creating possibilities for new technology advancements?
With respect to digitalisation, the innovative uses of data and digital technologies are fundamental to our long-term competitiveness. Within the Middle East, we continue to demonstrate our commitment to advancing digitalisation, recently establishing a new Process Intelligence Centre at our world-class Technology Centre in Saudi Arabia. The Process Intelligence Centre is the only location in the Middle East to provide mentored operations and dynamic simulations for operator training as well as other advanced technologies such as Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT), Digital Twin and high-performance computing for advanced modeling. Engineers in this center will be able to remotely monitor plants and equipment performance, allowing for quick diagnosis and enable real-time solutions.
Where are Air Products principle areas of expansion in the Middle East?
Air Products has had a presence in the Middle East for over 50 years, and a presence in Egypt since 2009 through our wholly owned Air Products Gases S.A.E, with an office in Cairo and production site in Sadat City. Over the years, we have become a trusted supplier for specialty gases to the refinery and chemical industries and have provided several equipment solutions to Egyptian companies.
Over the last decade, we have made several investments in our merchant gases business, and recently, we have grown through large projects and initiatives: completing the world’s largest ASU complex at Jazan, Saudi Arabia; announcing plans to form an integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) joint venture at Jazan; building our core competencies in the region through our world-class technology center in the Dhahran Techno Valley; and signing an MoU between the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu and Air Products Qudra to establish world-class industrial gas production facilities and distribution networks.