Two workers investing in creating better energy

Investing in the Future of Energy Around the World

By Kenny Limmer on Nov 18, 2019

Shell Catalysts & Technologies helps refiners around the world to optimize operations and enhance productivity through advanced catalysts technologies and processes. In fact, like many energy-industry professionals around the world, I have worked on different sites in different locations, and have discovered that each location has its own unique challenges and opportunities when it comes to increasing yields and improving margins. Among these particular differences, however, is the uniting principle that energy transformation is both inevitable and a positive force in our industry.

From Local To Global Transformation

As a plant manager for Shell Catalysts & Technologies’ Michigan City site in Indiana, not only do I have front-row seats to the transformation happening within our refinery, company, and industry, but I am also at the forefront of changes that are impacting energy. Here at Michigan City, we have worked diligently to align our internal culture and have made significant strides in improving -- in this predetermined order -- our safety performance, the quality of our product, and the delivery of our product. By engaging everyone on our teams with open and transparent goals and communications, we’ve been able to streamline our operations, improve safety, and grow as groups of professionals and individuals.

So, I find it exciting that these same values and principles are being implemented around the world by Shell Catalysts & Technologies’ many international collaborations and partnerships. From Malaysia and the Gulf of Mexico to China and the Middle East, our experts and technologies are helping our business partners deliver energy to their customers in safer and more environmentally sustainable ways than ever before. On a local level, we hold ourselves accountable to very high standards, and this reputation really helps Shell Catalysts & Technologies as a global brand, because our partners know that our experts are motivated to help them grow their businesses in safe, profitable, and innovative ways.

Related Article: Energy Evolution for Future Generations

No Refinery Operates in Isolation

As plant managers, we’re trained to focus on specifics -- from the particular behaviour of certain petrochemicals to the efficacy of equipment in a refinery. However, global energy industry experts are well aware that larger forces stemming from cultural, governmental, and societal mores can significantly impact how business is conducted and how goals are identified and achieved. Sure, a refinery or site may be a geographically defined place, but in the real world where people and policies are involved, no refinery operates in isolation. And that’s okay. (Actually, I’ve noticed that many of my peers enjoy the international scope of our business and being able to travel the world and visit different cultures while developing their careers.)

Globe-trotting energy experts know that each site is guided by a different evolution scale based upon distinct surrounding circumstances -- from the geographic accessibility of a site to larger cultural and communication challenges. Influential factors such as government oversight can entail a variety of unique regulations, restrictions, and energy policy nuances. Just because a new licensed technology or key piece of petrochemical plant equipment (such as a high-dispersion tray) may be seamlessly purchased and implemented in one country does not mean that the same transaction will come to fruition in the same way in another country. Every refinery -- including in Michigan City, Indiana -- is connected to the big picture. Being adaptive, empathetic, and open to these extenuating influences is key to creating productive working relationships and partnerships.

Personal Impact on a Global Scale

Progress occurs at different rates in different places for different reasons. However, the goal of producing energy in healthy, economically viable, and environmentally sound ways, continues to invigorate the people -- like me -- who have invested their entire careers into this rewarding industry. I appreciate how Shell Catalysts & Technologies works closely with international partners to address key details regarding trade, import and export licensing, governmental and regulatory permitting, equipment specifications and recommended control philosophies and other business-related activities. These professional interactions underscore how, on a personal level, we truly are the people who make the world’s energy.

Prioritizing innovation throughout the world’s marketplaces is key to global energy transformation. In Indiana (and the U.S.) existing refineries and chemical facilities must evolve in response to developing EPA regulations and product requirements regarding alternative fuels. Increasing strains on our planet’s resources mean that plant managers and energy experts everywhere must become comfortable with change management in their own careers and operations. Energy transformation is filled with future opportunities, and not just challenges to the status quo. I like to think that the advances and improvements we’ve achieved at the Michigan City site are part of the DNA of how Shell Catalysts & Technologies operates. Together, we’re advancing not just the goals and careers of the colleagues we see every day at work, but also the success of our industry peers in places like India, China, Europe, the Middle East, South America, and beyond. When we learn from each other, we grow together, and this is how true energy transformation will ultimately be realized.