Iran’s petroleum industry has accelerated its development after dealing with tough conditions of sanctions over a decade and going into ups and downs. Nationalization of technical knowhow and acquisition of cutting-edge technologies have always constituted a major cause of concern for Iran’s petroleum industry. That has gathered steam in recent years thanks to efforts made by Petroleum Ministry managers in meeting the country’s needs and making maximum use of domestic capabilities.
Iran Petroleum Takeoff 2019 was held at the Research Institute of Petroleum Industry from December 16 to December 18. Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh attended the event in order to show that knowledge-based companies and startups counted a lot for the petroleum industry.
Addressing the event. Zangeneh said: The Petroleum Ministry’s new plan is focused on supporting domestic manufacturing. while guaranteeing purchase. The Petroleum Ministry will guarantee purchase from the manufacturers supplying necessary commodities for the petroleum industry and receive quality certificate.
He added: A lot could be done in supporting knowledge-based companies. the easiest of which is guaranteeing purchase of innovative commodities. In other words. we will support every manufacturer being able to manufacture commodities required by the petroleum industry and receive standards from the Association of Petroleum. Such companies would be able to receive banking facilities based on such guarantee.
Zangeneh touched on down-hole pumps or seamless pipes used in the petroleum industry. saying: In case such quality commodities are produced. we will ban their purchase from abroad at the same time.
I think it is for the first time that an executive organ. spending huge investment and offering technological services and supplying sophisticated equipment. is supporting startups and knowledge-based companies in order to become influential in this sector. he added.
Zangeneh said the Innovation Fund was one of these advantages. adding: Within a week we will present our proposal for the establishment of this fund with an initial capital of IRR 1.000 billion. After consulting pundits. a process has been designed for an optimal choice of startups and knowledge-based companies for the Rey Complex. It is estimated that 100 to 150 companies would be set up at the complex. One of the links in the designed process is the Petroleum Takeoff event.
The minister said the needs and challenges of the petroleum industry are mostly related to software and processes.
I will focus on direct communications with startups and knowledge-based companies on a weekly basis and I hope to serve as a mentor and support these complexes. he said.
Zangeneh said: I place too much hope in young and creative manpower. I feel compelled to share my experience. if any. with the youth and startups gratuitously and without any expectation of return. That would help them contribute to the future of the petroleum industry.
Standard Regulatory Body
Sourena Sattari. Vice-President for Science and Technology. underscored the necessity of existence of an oil equipment standard regulatory body. saying: Sanctions provide a good chance for researchers and elites active in the industrial sector to prove their capabilities to managers.
In the pharmaceutical industry. the Food and Drug Organization verifies products based on global standards. The petroleum industry has to take steps in such direction. he said. adding that Petroleum Ministry officials had to verify the compliance of every product with international standards prior to any market supply.
He said that research and technology were luxury issues. adding: We have to benefit from the potential of research through state investment. That is up to faculty members. researchers and elites. That indicates that research is no longer a luxury issue and it has to be taken into consideration more seriously.
Final Test for Technological Products
Hassan Montazer- Torbati. CEO of National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) said the petroleum ministry needed to have all equipment at its disposal for the final test of products of knowledge-based companies and startups.
He said that the process of production in the petroleum industry should not stop even a single day. The issue of technology has been focused upon by Mr. Zangeneh since the beginning of the current calendar year. and he has spent time on the formation of an ecosystem of technology and innovation at the Petroleum Ministry.
Montazer -Torbati said the Petroleum Ministry would be a major consumer for the products of knowledge-based companies.
The ecosystem of innovation and technology is not just an event. rather it’s a process requiring patience. However. we will be faced with bottlenecks in our efforts to arrive at the desirable result. he added.
The official said: We are tough in drawing up technical standards. however. the prepared equipment is likely to face ambiguities. Therefore. in the ecosystem of technology and innovation. there must be a phase for the final test of equipment and products.
This phase requires an all-out assessment of universities. We have also to envisage workshops for field test in order to ensure the quality of products. he said.
Montazer-Torbati said the bulk of gas industry equipment had been made domestically. and NIGC was following up on the domestic manufacturing of the equipment.
He said: Only a small portion of these items has not been made domestically.
26 Projects with 16 Universities
Saeed Mohammadzadeh. deputy minister of petroleum for engineering. research and technology. said standards were a significant and important index in the petroleum industry. He added that Zangeneh attached great significance to API standards. He added that these standards had been drawn up in previous years.
He said the Office of Deputy Minister of Petroleum for Engineering Affairs was ready to support petroleum industry researchers.
Owing to government support for the petroleum industry we are witnessing the development of ecosystem in this industry. and we hope to hold this event next year on a larger scale. he added.
He said 26 petroleum industry projects were under way in cooperation with 16 universities and research centers. adding that the Ministry of Petroleum was using the scientific capacities of the country.
Mohammadzadeh said the main idea behind the first Petroleum Takeoff was to show the Ministry of Petroleum’s determination to cooperate with universities. elites and researchers. He expressed hope that the petroleum industry and universities would mutually benefit from existing potentialities.
Global statistics about Iran’s status in the production of science and practice of science indicates inconsistency. Despite Iran’s acceptable ranking in the production of science. we do not stand in an acceptable position in the practice of science and this trend has to be corrected. he said.
Mohammadzadeh said: Therefore. we need an intermediary link to clear the way for the use of science in the industry and this important issue is being followed up at the Petroleum Ministry within the framework of technological and innovative ecosystem project.
Jafar Tofiqi. director of the Research Institute of Petroleum Industry (RIPI). said Minister Zangeneh had played an influential role in the formation and upgrade of scientific and research ecosystems of the petroleum industry over the past two decades.
Today. thanks to his support and follow-up. the ecosystem of innovation is taking shape in this industry. he said.
Tofiqi said: Offering petroleum industry-related disciplines at prestigious universities. making efforts to set up petroleum engineering faculties at universities. equipment of laboratories and upgrading scientific infrastructure. signing major agreements with universities and supporting the ecosystem of innovation are among the effective measures undertaken by Mr. Zangeneh.
He said: The project for developing the ecosystem of innovation in the petroleum industry in completing the previous chains is being followed up on with the support of the minister of petroleum. To that effect. an innovation center has opened at RIPI.
Domestic Knowledge-Based Companies
Abolfazl Varvani Farahani. head of research and technology at the Iran Offshore Oil Company (IOOC). said on the sidelines of the Petroleum Takeoff event: This company supports domestic research and knowledge-based companies.
Following the minister of petroleum’s instruction regarding support for knowledge-based companies and technological ideas. Offshore Oil Company (IOOC)`>.IOOC has been firm in this sector and is decided to make maximum use of the capacities of researchers at knowledge-based companies. he said.
Farahani said Petroleum Takeoff was a demand-oriented event for manufacturing companies to discuss their operation challenges with knowledge-based companies.
In case there is any idea on the part of these companies or accelerators. memorandum of cooperation will be signed with them. Offshore Oil Company (IOOC)`>.IOOC has signed 16 MOUs. which we expect to result in production. he said.
Farahani said the research sector had been neglected. adding that knowledge-based companies. researchers and elites could be effective in helping Iran overcome sanctions.
A major pillar of development of innovation and using knowledge-based companies is startups and accelerators.“ he said.
Carbonate Rock Academy
Ebrahim Alavi Taleqani. director of research and technology at National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC). said a centralized academy would be set up to focus on carbonate rocks. The academy would be launched by Khawrazmi University.
We have a 10-year agreement with Khawrazmi University on carbonate rocks. That is an NIOC megaproject. We have not yet had any centralized academy for carbonate rocks. We hope that this center would be soon launched at Khawrazmi University so that students and professors would be able to provide technological services to the country and NIOC. he said.
Taleqani said: Most university projects are individual and therefore professors and students are unwilling to do networking and we have sought to use the potential of all education groups at university projects. Our objective at the Petroleum Ministry and its subsidiaries are to be able to develop all these projects.
He said: We have 26 big projects at the Petroleum Ministry. for which memorandums of cooperation have been signed. They include five exploration. nine upstream and 12 downstream projects.