TORONTO—Manufacturers are always challenged to reduce operating costs and, at a time when low oil prices are eroding profit margins in the oil and gas sector, that couldn’t be truer. The drive to curb spending and greenhouse gas emissions—as Ontario shapes a carbon cap-and-trade policy—makes a compelling case for energy efficiency.
Getting projects off the ground within large refineries can be challenging, no doubt. This is a sector too often measured by production volumes and speed of return on investment. With that in mind, a group of industry representatives met for a roundtable discussion in Sarnia, Ont.
The roundtable—hosted by CanadianManufacturing.com with support of the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), drew a seasoned group of oil and gas veterans, utility representatives, consultants and equipment providers.
Here’s a peak at some of the topics discussed:
Cogeneration on the rise
In recent years, projects such as Imperial Oil’s cogeneration facilities in Sarnia are building the business case for conservation. Operating for more than a decade, the project produces about 80 megawatts of electricity annually—and can meet approximately 60 per cent of the refinery’s energy needs.
Tthe reality of changing energy prices over project lifetimes can make it difficult to forecast savings. Another challenge is the savings aren’t always tracked. Yet, consistent measuring, tracking and reporting on energy savings can help justify the next conservation project, and build long-term enthusiasm.
Conservation projects are good for the bottom lines of individual energy companies, but they also speak to overall regional competitiveness.
“The emphasis should be on our region, what we can do in [Sarnia] about building leading-edge plants,” said Clement Bowman, Chair of Progrid Ventures Inc.