Boosting Up Energy Efficiency for the Petrochemical Industry

June 1, 2010

   Introducing energy-efficient technologies could slash Russia’s energy consumption by 45 percent (in other words, as much as France consumes per year), estimate global experts in the field of energy efficiency.

   In the summer of 2009, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev identified energy efficiency as a priority in the technologic development of the nation’s economy. This was followed by the law “On Energy” saving and improving the energy efficiency of Russia, which has been in force since early 2010 and requires large and medium Russian companies to tackle the issue of reducing energy consumption. The country’s energy consumption is to drop 40 percent by 2020.
Yet in real life, despite actively promoting energy conservation, not all Russian companies are aware of the practical importance of improving energy efficiency. Furthermore, there are no existing guidelines or recommendations for answering the questions of “why” or “how.”

Energy Efficiency – Practical Benefits for Petrochemical Companies

   Various estimates show that oil companies spend from 10 to 50 percent on energy that is used for technical processes, power, transportation and other industrial and in-house needs. In 2008, Lukoil’s spending on energy and transport services increased $420 million, or 33 percent. The share of energy in the cost of petrochemical products is constantly rising and this in turn impacts a products’ profitability and competitive position on the market. These facts indicate that improving energy efficiency is a key factor in the successful and sustainable development of the petrochemical industry in general.

   Taking into account the fact that the average Russian refinery is over 60 years old, one can argue that modernizing companies and introducing energy efficient technologies today will determine the strategy for the industry tomorrow.
In contrast to merely saving energy, energy efficiency means making better use of energy and financial resources, rather than simply “cutting consumption.” The term “the fifth fuel,” which is becoming increasingly popular for the process of energy efficiency, best reflects the essence of this approach.

   Intellectualization, targeted management of energy streams and continual monitoring form the basic principles of an effective power system, and can be used not only to optimize the operating costs of specific company, but also improve the efficiency and reliability of production processes in general.

“You Can’t Improve What You Can’t Measure,” or Four Steps to Energy Efficiency

   Introducing an energy efficiency program requires implementing four main steps:
Step one is the audit. The company must start by taking a series of measurements to identify the most energy-intensive processes of its operations. Such an analysis gives a clear idea of how efficiently a company is using its energy and at the same time highlights areas upgrades should be made and preliminary earnings calculated from implementing energy-efficient technologies.
Step two is the evaluation of basic, fundamental problems: to stop leaks of steam, water, gas, and electricity, ensuring thermal insulation, etc. – without this work, it makes no sense to implement any energy-efficient technology.
Step three is the implementation of power automation systems: lighting,