Biofuel, China’s downstream market and more: interview with Director, Technology at Chevron Lummus Global

Entering China’s downstream market as a licensor, approaching potential clients at oil and gas events and switching to biofuels: Dan Gillis, Director, Technology at Chevron Lummus Global gave an interview on these and other topics in a new episode of BGS Talks show. Watch the interview, read the highlights and subscribe to BGS Talks YouTube channel for new episodes! 

One of CLG’s projects is your ISODEWAXING technology implemented in China. Can you tell more about it?

Certainly. We've sold many ISODEWAXING projects in China. But talking on the side a bit, the Chinese market is very interesting. In some ways, they can be challenging, but in some ways, it's very enjoyable working with them, too. The Chinese refiners are very interested in obtaining the latest and the most advanced technologies for their projects. But, we also see that Chinese refiners are less risk-averse to new ideas and technologies than refiners in other parts of the world, they are more flexible. China has a growing economy. Therefore, there is a greater need for lubricating oils for the transportation industries. And with the higher quality vehicles the type of lubricating oils has to be better. What ISODEWAXING does, it produces Group III lube oils which is the highest standard quality lube oils used today and parallel to this the Chinese customers are phasing out the old solvent-based Group I lube oil.

Despite all the advantages in working with the Chinese market, many companies say that it's quite difficult to start working with it because they are very selective.

That depends on what you have to offer and what their needs are. The Chinese refining community is actually very strong and technically advanced in many areas. But there are areas where they desire to obtain the latest technologies from companies like ourselves.”

If, for example, I have created a new technology and I do not have experience yet, there is a kind of chicken and egg problem. I don’t have the experience, but I can't get it because nobody wants to talk to me as I don’t have a portfolio. What should I do? 

Well, there are some processes that do look promising and they can be tested. What you have to do is to get the technology into a commercial or semi-commercial environment so you can really see if it works. Sometimes there are processes that are joined to our main technology that are a little bit different than the ones we are using and they look very promising. We're looking at ways to work with some of these organizations and companies like us would listen to them because we are very interested in increasing the performance of our technology offerings. And many times someone working on a small but important part of what we're doing can really make a difference in our technology being selected.”

Talking about low-carbon future which is a key trend on the market nowadays. I know that CLG also positions themselves as one of the most environmentally friendly companies in the world who offers a lot of technologies for biofuels as well. In your opinion, how difficult  it can be, in terms of effort and cost for oil and gas companies, to switch to biofuels? 

The switch to biofuels is ongoing in certain ways. First of all, we have to put in perspective that biofuels are very important for reducing the carbon footprint of transportation fuels supplied to our customers. But we don't expect them to make a high percentage, over 50-70%. That's because the ability of biofuels is limited. For example, to produce a 1000 barrels of biofuels, such as carinata oil, it may take 5000 acres of land to do so. Now there are some biofuels projects that are using algae, but they're going to be limited. Put that in perspective that a typical refinery these days process around 200 000 barrels a day and maybe producing 150 000+ barrels per day of transportation fuels. But even though they are going to be a small part, they are important, maybe 5-10% of the total mix of transportation fuels produced. Being a part of that we see it as important in reducing the carbon footprint, and we are doing our part with the technologies in biofuels, that we think will be attractive to customers.”

Follow the link to the full interview to learn more about cost-effective refining and petrochemical projects meeting IMO 2020 requirements, biofuels production technologies, leading and motivating your team, and get a piece of advice on what to consider while dealing with the Chinese market.


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