Working Towards India’s Energy Transformation

Working Towards India’s Energy Transformation

Bharat Goenka, director strategic customers, shares insights on India’s energy transformation and working with customers to produce cleaner fuels.

By Bharat Goenka on May 18, 2020

I’m Director Strategic Customers at Shell Catalysts & Technologies (SC&T). While based in New Delhi, India, I’ve supported SC&T and Shell Global Solutions since 2014. My role is unique in the organisation because my responsibilities encompass three key areas: the sales of licensing, catalysts, and services for customers in this region.

India is in the midst of energy transition due to population growth, modernisation of life, and being one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. At the same time, the Government of India has committed to implementing reforms towards an affordable, secure, and cleaner energy system.1

It’s interesting to observe first-hand how developing market economies like India — as well as China and parts of the Middle East — are contributing to overall changes in the global energy scenario.

Working with Customers to Produce Cleaner Fuels

In 2019, Shell Catalysts & Technologies won an equal opportunity tender through a government-owned oil and gas company. The customer’s refinery is one amongst the most technically advanced refinery complexes in India.

I had the opportunity to lead the deal for our successful bid including the largest single reactor, single train diesel hydrotreating unit (DHT) that Shell has licensed technology based on Shell’s design input.

Working with this customer illustrated many of the ongoing transformations happening in the region to produce more and cleaner energy. Faced with growing demand in the last decade, the customer had incrementally increased their fuel production capacity.

They were also working to comply with cleaner fuel initiatives to produce lower sulphur diesel. Refineries in India have been working to supply the world’s cleanest petrol and diesel across the country — evolving BS-IV grade fuel to BS-VI grade fuel (equivalent to Euro-VI fuel).2

As part of their expansion efforts to produce cleaner fuel, our customer was interested to build a new DHT unit. I worked with them for several months prior to tender issue.

The Shell Catalysts & Technologies team led a robust evaluation process to ensure the selection of demonstrated technology and to help with the customer’s goal to maximise profitability. We created a unit line-up designed to optimise catalyst volume and lower catalyst costs. I learned how important it was to align tender requirements with customers as early in the project as possible to understand their specific challenges and needs.

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Cost-effective Solutions That Meet Environmental Regulations

For our customers, I think the key to future success will be to make cost-effective solutions that meet environmental regulations. The global demand for energy is changing within a context of increasingly stringent environmental regulations and the impact of COVID-19.

Even before the pandemic, India was making great efforts to combat air pollution and support cleaner, renewable energies. The government’s stimulus for economic recovery can include long-term development strategies by encouraging companies to focus on cleaner refinery technology solutions and fuel efficiency.3

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I advise our customers to prepare for and adapt to regulatory changes. With the global energy scenario changing quickly, and with stringent environmental norms, I see the technologies that combine renewable and fossil fuels with output for internal combustion engines, electric vehicles, and petrochemicals as being the norm for the future.

As a result, I advise customers to focus on their future projects with an integrated approach. They will have to adapt to high flexibility on type of feed intake as well as variation in product demand.

The value drivers for customers are evolving continuously. The biggest value drivers for customers include both economical and environmental concerns. From my experience, I’ve observed that the economics behind the decision-making process must work in order for investors to support new developments and technologies. That is why I work with customers to help them find cost-effective solutions while preparing for dynamic changes ahead.

I feel motivated by my colleagues who build relationships with honesty and transparency. Shell is reputed to be one of the best employers in the industry, and my experience thus far has helped me create value for the company and for our customers through dynamic transitions.

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1 https://niti.gov.in/sites/default/files/2020-01/IEA-India%202020-In-depth-EnergyPolicy_0.pdf

2 https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/bs-vi-india-switches-to-worlds-cleanest-petrol-diesel-with-no-increase-in-prices/article31226210.ece

3 https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/04/after-covid-19-5-ways-india-can-pursue-sustainable-and-resilient-recovery