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1. How’s business?
Growing. Our successful track record continues to earn us our customer’s trust to support them meet the region’s growing energy demands. In the last 3 years we have announced over 20 projects, supporting our customers to add over 16,000 megawatts to the region.
In 2011 alone, we signed agreements with our customers in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iraq, to add over 5,000 megawatts to their grids.
2. What are your goals for the company in the next 12 months?
Continuing to invest in the region is at the top of our priority list. We have grown our footprint to more than 20 technology centers across the region, providing local support to our customers at their doorstep. Our most recent technology center, the GE Energy Manufacturing Technology Center in Dammam, is one of the most advanced in the world. The technology center not only provides services but will also serve as manufacturing hub for high technology equipment across the energy value chain. In addition, over 2,000 jobs will be created at the facility.
We are committed to working closely with our customers to support their growth and the region’s continued development. Last year, we successfully supported Kuwait’s Ministry of Electricity and Water with the first phase of the Sabiya power plant –which was delivered under a very tight schedule. We are proud that we were part of the MEW’s efforts to deliver reliable electricity for the people of Kuwait in time for the summer peak.
We continue to expand our capabilities with over 2,000 GE employees working for the energy sector in the region today. We are working to complement the region’s human capital development drive with advanced training, knowledge sharing and job creation opportunities as well.
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3. What projects are you excited about this year?
The region is expected to see a continued increase in demand for power and water – power demand is expected to double and water to triple by 2020. When combined with the region’s growing focus on clean energy and efficiency, something we at GE are working to address on a global and regional scale, this is a very exciting prospect for us.
4. What are the major industry growth areas for the company?
With regional countries diversifying their economies, we will see the continued development and expansion of energy intensive industries such as aluminum and steel. Around the region GE technology and services currently support customers like Emirates Aluminium (EMAL), Dubai Aluminium (DUBAL) and Qatalum, to meet their growing energy demand in an efficient and sustainable manner. Another area where we see growth is petrochemicals as regional governments seek to capitalize on upstream and downstream process at the same site. GE recently launched its petrochemical business that offers tailored solutions designed to support the needs of this growing sector such as enabling high efficiency in the production of ethylene.
5. Give us one industry prediction for the coming year
The energy and water use efficiency drive will definitely continue this year in the Middle East. Governments understand that achieving efficiency along the entire energy value chain is one of the keys to sustainable development and growth in the region.
6. What technologies are the ones to watch?
To complement the region’s energy efficiency drive, GE is introducing the FlexEfficiency 50 Combined Cycle power plant offering in the Middle East. In line with our global commitment to create advanced technologies for powering a cleaner, more productive world, our latest technology is able to integrate solar energy and achieve up to 70% efficiency - supporting utilities to produce more electricity with higher efficiency.
Technologies that optimize water reuse will be of increasing interest to regional governments as they seek to find new sources of water for industrial and municipal use.
Other innovative technology solutions tailored for the region needs include GE’s Smart Meter solution, which we debuted at this year’s World Future Energy Summit. The Smart Meter is designed to enable utilities to meet the growing demand for efficient and reliable energy.
7. What are the biggest challenges facing your business at the moment, and how are you overcoming them?
The current efficiency drive in the region demands that utilities produce even more electricity, reliably, with their existing assets and energy sources. It is up to us, as technology companies, to enable utilities to do more with less - with innovative and tailored technology solutions that empower customers to achieve increased operational efficiency while simultaneously protecting their investments. For example, GE’s Total Plant Optimization solutions have been developed to do just that.
8. Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
As the region’s energy technology partner, we will continue to grow with the region and support it to meet its energy needs, as we have done for the last 80 years.