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New Energy World
New Energy World embraces the whole energy industry as it connects and converges to address the decarbonisation challenge. It covers progress being made across the industry, from the dynamics under way to reduce emissions in oil and gas, through improvements to the efficiency of energy conversion and use, to cutting-edge initiatives in renewable and low carbon technologies.
This month’s Energy People article explores the career and insights of Energy Institute (EI) member Sudeep Roy CEng MEI Chartered Energy Engineer and an Operations Advisor for Qatargas Operating Company, based in Doha, Qatar.
Q: Tell us your background and when you first became interested in energy?
A: Energy consumption is considered an indicator of a country’s prosperity. I was not aware of that whilst growing up in India, but nevertheless, the importance of energy was obvious even then.
My father’s background and career fuelled my interest in engineering. However, my interest in energy may have started when I visited an industrial facility with him; the canteen was totally run on renewable energy, a mix of solar and biogas, something unheard of in India in the 1980s. While these are considered normal now, it was fascinating to learn that we could produce energy from sources other than those conventionally available, namely hydro and fossil fuels.
Q: Tell us a little about your current job and industry?
A: I am an Operations Advisor in Qatargas Operating Company. Qatargas is a fully integrated LNG company and, with a capacity of 77mn t/y, the largest producer in the world.
My primary role is to lead and advise in the management of issues and interfaces in and between the various assets and departments – technical, operational, commercial and HSE [health, safety and environment].
My department manages the operations of a producing field supplying gas to the existing grid along with other value-added products. It is also managing a new project comprising four mega LNG trains with an additional capacity of 32mn t/y in the period 2025–2027. The new trains are equipped with a carbon capture facility to ensure a lower carbon footprint. My role is split between the operating facilities and the upcoming project – troubleshooting, optimisation, and improving the performance and reliability of the current operations, plus ensuring operational readiness for the new projects.
Q: How has being Chartered and MEI benefitted you in your career?
A: My association with the EI started as an Associate Member after an EI training session on floating and subsea oil and gas technologies and installations in October 2012.
It took me quite some time to go through the motions of applying for CEng and MEI for various reasons. Eventually, I submitted my application in 2021 and my election was confirmed in 2022. There has been a change in the perception of people I interact with during my job and professionally; it’s subtle, but it seems that the audience is more receptive if they are aware of the CEng status.
Otherwise, it is too early to ascertain the benefits of Chartered and MEI in my career. As of now the biggest gain has been the satisfaction of being assessed by the EI and elected. Having seen more lows than highs in my career in the recent past, this is a morale booster. The association also keeps me on my toes in every aspect of my job – analysis, decision making and competency. In hindsight, I do think that it would have been more fruitful had I completed the requirements earlier.
In the transition towards net zero initiative, the EI provides a perfect platform that can be leveraged in terms of direction, audience and outreach.
Q: How are your role and being part of the EI contributing towards a just transition to net zero?
A: I have been in the industry for over three decades now. The energy industry and its perception has changed significantly over this period, mostly due to the advancements in technology but also due to public awareness. There are different views regarding the subject, but the oil and gas industry has a big role to play in the energy transition.
While the concept of net zero is a relatively recent development, I have always endeavoured to reduce emissions in my job. During my career, I have envisaged different projects to reduce the carbon footprint of ongoing operations.
In one of my assignments, I developed the concept of offshore mini-GTL [gas-to-liquids] plant for an isolated platform as a means of reducing flaring – an opportunity for value addition, reducing emissions and developing new technology. I discussed the concept in detail with various technology providers who agreed to participate in a pilot project. It was unique and ahead of its time as the concept of FLNG [floating liquefied natural gas] had not been envisaged then. The company did not proceed with the concept, but I was surprised to see the same concept proposed by the World Bank a few years later as a flare gas mitigation measure.
In my current role, I continuously strive to reduce emissions from ongoing processes and systems during normal operations, upsets and turnarounds. The EI has been actively involved in launching initiatives in support of the industry for years. In the transition towards net zero initiative, the EI provides a perfect platform that can be leveraged in terms of direction, audience and outreach.
Q: Can you provide examples of where you have reduced emissions during your current role?
A: The emissions in a gas plant are typically low. Being a relatively new plant and given the strict environmental requirement, it’s very rare to find scope for improvement. One of the initiatives I have proposed is to use nitrogen for preventing burn back of flare stacks instead of steam; reduction of steam consumption will directly reduce the consumption of the fuel used to produce it.
Another proposal is the recovery of process seal gas used in turbines and turbo-expanders; in a typical design, some of this gas is routed to flare for disposal.
Q: Ahead of COP28 later this year, could you provide a couple of key changes you believe the oil and gas industry needs to make to ensure we achieve net zero?
A: In the past couple of years, it seemed that the oil and gas industry was actively working towards a net zero outlook – diversifying and investing in non-renewable energy, reducing investment in fossil fuels, amongst others. However, based on some recent decisions by the IOCs [international oil companies], it seems that they may be changing their stance.
It is a known fact that oil and gas will continue as the primary source of energy for some time to come. Given the expertise, technology and resources available to them, they can use it both inside their operations and also extend it to other industries, either in curtailing emissions or developing greener ways of doing business. Policies and strategies are proposed and discussed every year with a target and end date in mind.
However, there doesn’t seem to be any monitoring and follow-through. There are no incentives for the few who follow and no penalties for the majority who don’t. The only way to ensure we achieve net zero is to ensure that governments, industries and all stakeholders deliver on their part.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author only and are not necessarily given or endorsed by or on behalf of the Energy Institute.
You can find more information about EI Membership and the Shining a Spotlight on Energy People series here.