Interview with Marcelo Kascheres

Marcelo Kascheres, Refinery Business Development Manager- Asia, Alfa Laval

Marcelo Kascheres is the Business Development Manager for Alfa Laval in Asia, based in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. He has spent the last 16 years working in the Energy and Chemicals sector, providing technical solutions to improve processes with a focus on Heat Transfer and Separation. He has been active in the implementation of projects in the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

Q1. What does the development of the renewables and alternative fuels market mean for refining in Asia?

There are companies who are focusing on bringing renewable fuels to market and are developing technologies to do so. We are aligned with several of them and have technologies in our portfolio that have a favourable impact on those processes. I believe that renewable fuels could hold a larger share of the market than what they do today, but it is unlikely that it will outpace traditional fuels anytime soon.  I see this as a long-term vision, first there needs to be a viable way to meet market demand with renewables. Examples of areas where we have worked with customers who produce renewable fuels are in the US and Brazil where ethanol is produced from corn and sugar cane, respectively. We have been engaged with customers in the renewables sector for a long time.

Q2. How important are energy costs and efficiency to Asia, global refiners and petrochemical producers?

Energy efficiency is a clear focus among our customers in Asia and in Europe where energy costs are relatively high. This is an area where Alfa Laval can provide solutions that make a difference and help companies to reduce their energy use. Reducing energy use has a positive impact on our customer’s profit margins and at the same time helps to reduce the impact to the environment by reducing emissions. If you consider cases where improvements in energy efficiency allow debottlenecking of process units and increased throughput, then the upside is even bigger for the producers.

Q3. Will we see an increasing move towards greater “digitalisation” in areas such as crude procurement, maintenance and supply?

From a process control and monitoring point of view, there are continued developments and this is being implemented to allow producers to track the performance of their process units. This allows them to optimize their processes and to better plan for maintenance activities.

Q4. Do you think that operational excellence still separates the best and worst performers in the refining industry?

Operational excellence is a clear focus for the best performers. This is important for their day to day operations, but there is also the need to tailor their operations to become aligned with the demands from the market; identifying needs and opportunities, and making investments to adapt. The best performers continuously invest in their plants to allow them to produce high demand fuels and petrochemicals efficiently, while at the same time reducing emissions. The trend is for refineries to increase their processing complexity as they strive to become top performers; this allows them to be more profitable in the long term and enables them to handle market cycles in a better way.

Q5. How do you think the Asia refining industry will remain competitive with the Middle Eastern Industry?

There are several cases where Middle Eastern companies are seeking strategic partnerships with Asian refiners. This provides the Middle Eastern companies the opportunity to increase their market share of refined products in Asia via these select partnerships, while at the same time allowing for an outlet for middle eastern crude. There are cases where such partnerships will be formed, but at the same time there is ongoing competition between Middle Eastern and Asian refiners. Going forward, we will see both strategic alliances and ongoing competition between refiners from both regions.

Q6. What areas will you be focussing on at ARTC when speaking about Alfa Laval’s approach to developing technologies that can upgrade bottom of the barrel residues?

There are a variety of bottom of the barrel residue upgrading processes that allow refiners to achieve a high level of conversion of residue. These processes can be very demanding on the heat exchangers due to the nature of the streams being heated and cooled during the operation of these process units. I will focus on challenges commonly faced by refineries while operating bottoms upgrading units, and will discuss how the anti-fouling characteristics of Spiral Heat Exchangers have been applied. I will share cases showing the impact of this technology from energy recovery and reliability points of view. Cases from refineries around the globe will be shared.

Q7. What do you think the main benefits are of events such as ARTC for the industry?

Participation in events such as ARTC allows you to build a network of key professionals who are highly engaged in the industry. Also, relating to technology, it is a way to stay updated about the latest developments in hydrocarbon processing and to have direct access to the key players.

Marcelo will be speaking on Day 2 of ARTC 2017 on ‘Maximizing profit from bottom of the barrel processes’.

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