What are some of the most recent developments at Siemens Energy?
Siemens Energy was spun-off from Siemens AG in order to leverage the business' strengths and to address the entire value chain of the energy sector. In September 2020, the company was publicly listed, and was promoted to the DAX, the main German stock index. Supporting our goal of making our own operations climate neutral by 2030, we also launched the Siemens Energy sustainability report, at the end of 2020. In addition, on a global scale 100% of Siemens Energy's electricity consumption should be met by power from renewable sources by 2023. In Oman, we also have a number of successful and recent developments; some 45% of the power produced in the Sultanate is by Siemens Energy's technologies. We have executed a number of strategic projects; with Liwa plastics and Salalah LPG, and have a strong footprint in oil and gas and transmission. Siemens Energy is providing the Duqm Integrated Power and Water project (DIPWP) with gas and steam turbines, long-term power generation services and digital solutions, to ensure stable energy supply and asset security. We want to energize society and ensure we are delivering stable, reliable, and efficient power across the energy value chain. It is not only about business transactions, but also about becoming a reliable partner that provides innovative technologies, creates jobs, helps communities, and has a positive impact on the growth of the economy. That is why we are a trusted partner and advisor to governments, especially on the energy transition journey.
What projects on the government side can help you achieve your aims in Oman?
Governments across the world are addressing the energy transition in order to build efficient, sustainable, affordable and secure energy systems, for society. Hydrogen is one key technology that is playing an increasingly important role in the energy transition and becoming an important component of the energy mix for most countries, governments, and businesses. We are working with our partners and customers to optimize efficiency and costs, reduce emissions, and therefore hydrogen can play an important role. We are investing heavily in green hydrogen and are also looking to collaborate with our strategic partners to advance the industry. We are engaged in several discussions in Oman on forming partnerships where we can develop green hydrogen projects. Looking at Oman's new targets, it is aiming to achieve 10% of renewable energy contribution by 2025. Oman is also focusing on diversifying the economy, and all of that is aligned with the energy transition. In order to achieve such ambitious goals, it is extremely important to select the right partners, ones able to bring investment, technology, and collaboration, to facilitate the energy transition journey. Siemens Energy's expertise and innovative technology makes us a partner of choice for companies and governments across the world.
How is technology changing the energy sector in Oman?
Innovation in technology is rapidly accelerating the development of the energy sector in Oman. However, the pandemic was an alarm and forced us to accelerate our digitalization and advanced technology strategy and become more flexible and innovative. Business continuity was extremely important in Oman as our work at strategically important infrastructure sites such as the Duqm, Salalah and Sur power plants, could not be suspended. We implemented digitalization and utilized advanced technologies, including in the form of remote services for field engineers, and at facilities, whilst adapting and updating our processes to uphold the highest HSE standards amid the pandemic. Aside from projects under execution, we also have several long term service agreements, which required us to mobilize field engineers to undertake vital inspections, maintenance and repair work at sites across Oman, to ensure stable access to power.. We needed to look at it from a logistics value chain perspective and tackle the obstacles. Everything was a lesson. Energy is something that cannot take on risk; everyone needs a stable, secure, and affordable energy system, so only businesses that decide to invest in the latest technology will remain. At the end of the day, you need technology that will support your transition. It is important to also ensure cybersecurity when working remotely; a plant has to be secure. In the coming years, we will continue to innovate new technology to enhance the operational excellence and the efficiency of plants.
Do you see a need to upgrade Oman's infrastructure? How can technology help with that in the midterm?
Oman has well established and diverse infrastructure, but like any other country, has its own challenges, like modernizing and upgrading ageing assets, transmitting electricity to remote villages, or across mountains. There are easy solutions, but they can be expensive, so we first need to do a complete study on the energy supply to see how it fits into the 2040 Vision. There are plenty of areas where the infrastructure can be modernized and made more efficient. We are already involved in a number of strategic projects where we will upgrade power plants and replace generators to increase efficiency and lower costs in terms of investment.
How can Oman boost its efforts to reduce reliance on hydrocarbons and move toward the 2040 Vision?
Oil and gas built the foundations of Oman, and it is now time to diversify its energy system and economy. Looking at the 2040 Vision, there are two fundamental aspects: investing in human capital and protecting the environment. The priorities to diversify the portfolio are centered on innovation, education, health, energy, and renewables. The renewable energy sector is broad and requires a diverse range of competencies, technologies, and skills, encompassing solar, wind, including both onshore and offshore; and the new business of hydrogen, whether green or blue. The country needs long-term partners with which it can work hand-in-hand and share its vision. It is not just about delivering turbines or transformers; there is also market access, knowledge transfer, partnerships, and creating business opportunities. Oman also needs to identify the sectors to invest in, where the gaps are, and which sectors will complement others. We are pleased to be supporting the country in the energy transition.
How much of a priority is sustainability when you're building infrastructure in special industrial zones such as Duqm?
Sustainability is core to our strategy and vision. We publish sustainability reports and our chief sustainability officer is our chief executive officer, highlighting the importance we place on the topic. We want to reduce CO2 emissions and the environmental impact of energy generation. All of that will be done by new and advanced technology. When that time comes, businesses will need a partner who has the technology. We are investing about EUR1 billion every year on innovation as a token of our commitment to the future.
What are your main priorities for Oman for the next 12 months?
We have a solid footprint in Oman in energy generation, transmission, distribution, and oil and gas. We want to maintain the installed base of our assets and extend their lifecycles. Second, we need to expand the energy business. We want to work with our partners to develop energy roadmaps and support them through the energy transition. When you diversify you need reliable energy. The new sectors will require new energy and this is where we see ourselves expanding our business. Part of the 2040 Vision is focused on the energy transition and diversification and we know we can add value and contribute there. That comes with creating jobs, working with universities, training students, and making a widespread positive impact. We “energize society” for a brighter future.