PetroChem Summit 2024: Industry turns to digital & AI for business expansion

PetroChem Summit 2024: Industry turns to digital & AI for business expansion

Experts call for embracing digital technologies not merely as an option but a strategic imperative to unlock new avenues for growth and innovation

  • By Rahul Koul | February 27, 2024

In an era defined by rapid technological advancement, the petrochemical industry stands at a pivotal juncture. Traditionally characterized by its reliance on complex processes and large-scale operations, this sector is now undergoing a profound transformation propelled by digitalization and artificial intelligence (AI). As petrochemical companies increasingly recognize the potential of these technologies, they are not merely adapting to change but actively leveraging innovation to drive sustainable business growth.

 The leading experts discussed the latest trends around digital adoption by the industry at the second session, ‘Leveraging Digital and AI Technologies for Business Growth’ of PetroChem Summit 2024 organized by the Indian Chemical News in New Delhi on February 23, 2024 in New Delhi. The session was moderated by Pravin Prashant, Executive Editor, Indian Chemical News.

Sharing his perspective, Gaurav Vyas, handling PMO Digitization Initiatives, Lead-Strategy, Director’s Office, Reliance Industries Limited speaking on challenges in end to end digitization said, “One we have a legacy system, then we have legacy workforce as well, also new workforce comes with theoretical concepts and far from digitization industry is embracing. With multiple platforms and solutions which do not talk to each other, for end to end digitization we first need to creating a source of truth, an integrated data pool where data is conciliated. Further, its important for any digital solution, particularly for AI ones, to have right implementation strategy, process, change management, communication to integrate workforce and embracing of more usage to reap desired benefits. To embrace digital solutions which industry has to offer it is important to know and pick which will be most effective where and at what cost, what success would look like post implementation. Therefore, real optimization is required in the overall governance process and way we implement. Crux of digital transformation lies in economics and doing cost benefit analysis.” 

On the implementation of digital initiatives by his company, Vyas added: “What differentiates us from other Oil Majors and PetroChemical companies, we have our synergy of our own state of art data and digital technology company supporting us. We thus truly reverberate the theme of conference making India Self-reliant. Therefore, we have almost all IR 4.0 Digitization tools at one or the other place. For Digital transformation first comes people second process and last technology. We have used augmented reality to train our workforce, further video analytics and video surveillance team as a additional line of defence for our assets. We are contemplating and doing pilots to use Casual AI and GPT to enhance productivity, reliability, and safety. In terms of digital twins, we have several digital twins supported by diverse set of technologies and tailored technology configurations to suit business needs. We have operation centre capable of remote operations with near real time dashboards for agile decision support. I would suggest that every organization should come up with their own customized definition of digital twins to suit their needs rather than using Digital twin plug and play solutions.”

Manish Grover, Executive Director (Strategic IS & IS), Indian Oil Corporation Limited said, “There are five major pillars for digitalization including AI, robotic automation, custom tools, data management, value chain management. IOCL has developed more than 40 AI/ML programmes in house. It has been a game changer for us as many processes are handled by bots. There is a difference between end to end management and e-procurement. Digitalization is the way forward to optimize procurement. We are implementing lock chain technology and going forward we are looking for a sustainability platform. To optimize our current energy levels, we are switching over to renewable energy in select areas."

Vimal Goel, Head-IT, HPLC Mittal Energy Limited said, “We are looking at reducing utilization cost and building our own competencies in digital technologies, Generation AI is being used in maintenance manuals as they are currently very bulky. By embracing these transformative technologies, companies can not only enhance operational efficiency and productivity but also unlock new avenues for growth and innovation. As pioneers in this journey of progress, petrochemical firms have the opportunity to shape a future characterized by sustainability, resilience, and unparalleled value creation. Embracing digital and AI technologies is not merely an option but a strategic imperative for those committed to leading the industry into the next frontier of success.”

Ramesh Chandra Bagh, General Manager-IS Strategy, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited said, “We have over 6 lakh distributors and our in-house data is supplemented with additional data through digital technologies. Using ML techniques, we are forecasting the sales, getting an accuracy of 95% since last one year. In terms of Generative AI, we have LLM which can be used for contextual search. We have created a meta verse environment and Enterprise Data Repository. We have drones for monitoring and safety. We are exploring the use of drones for loading cylinders in trucks.”

Partha Sur, General Manager-Technology, Haldia Petrochemicals Limited said, “The technology development in digital technologies hasn’t been done in India the way China and US have done. We are mostly importing. Raw material suppliers, manufacturers, all stakeholders must get together to bring down the cost holistically. Digital helps you to compare and collaborate as every process has a time, life cycle management, and Opex as well as Capex. The data has to be validated first before put into the system. Hence, the validation and calibration of data is the key to accuracy.  In the journey of achieving digital maturity, each organization has a unique dimension and process.”

The PetroChem Summit 2024 themed, ‘A step towards making India self-reliant’, witnessed attendance by leading industry experts and stakeholders from the petrochemical chemical sector across India.

Gold partners of the summit were Ebara Elliott Energy, and Somaiya Vidyavihar University. Associate partners were Hindustan Petroleum and Jaaji Technologies.

Register Now to Attend NextGen Chemicals & Petrochemicals Summit 2024, 11-12 July 2024, Mumbai

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