Sep 15, 2020

Hurricane Laura illustrates need for refinery optimisation

Hurricane Laura
Refinery optimisation
William Girling
3 min
In our final article on Fujitsu’s White Paper, we explore how the company’s optimisation technology and services can help transform the energy sector
In our final article on Fujitsu’s White Paper, we explore how the company’s optimisation technology and services can help transform the energy secto...

In our final article on Fujitsu’s White Paper, we explore how the company’s optimisation technology and services can help transform the energy sector.

The recent events of Hurricane Laura striking the US have emphasised Fujitsu’s ongoing call to action for greater sustainability in the energy sector through tech-based innovation (as highlighted in its recent White Paper).

With the Gulf Coast, East and Midwest of the country affected, the effect on oil refineries has been significant; sites in Texas and Louisiana experienced partial or total shutdowns, a course of action which also impacted pipelines and electrical grids.

CBS estimated that 84% of oil produced in the Gulf region was effectively taken off the market (1.6 million barrels per day). This comes as only the latest in a series of blows sustained by the 2020 oil and gas industry, of which 60 companies have officially filed for bankruptcy, even as prices of crude are currently experiencing a rebound. 

Refineries are a delicate balancing act

As discussed in the ‘Reimagining resource allocation optimisation’ section of the Fujitsu White Paper, asset management can be a difficult and delicate task, often requiring informed and highly coordinated decision-making that human capabilities alone cannot cope with.

The aforementioned shutdowns of refineries are far from simple or even safe procedures, especially when maintenance or repair work is factored in. Steps could include draining liquid hydrocarbons, water washing columns and complex welding.

Furthermore, a study by The Canadian Fuels Association typifies the complexities of meeting optimal market demand: refining too much ignores the limited marketability and mixed value of oil, while too little places high importance on imports, eliminates high-level domestic employment and ultimately weakens the local economy. 

The best approach, the report concludes, is one wherein domestic demand is met with a modest surplus remaining available for export.

Although this may mean that extraneous refineries are shut down, the remaining active sites could benefit from “improved efficiency and expanded capacity.” 

Fujitsu: driving energy’s optimisation

As we have observed throughout our series exploring the ways in which Fujitsu can help transform the energy sector through sustainability and digital technology, COVID-19 has remained a prominent factor in the conversation and refinery optimisation is no different.

Social distancing rules are likely to have a disruptive effect on the industry, particularly as inefficient, people-driven processes continue to prevail.

Most energy companies still manage resource allocation with human beings - usually, resource managers manually juggling spreadsheets and making decisions based solely on who looks to be available next, as noted in the White Paper.

However, with digital tools such as Fujitsu’s quantum-inspired Digital Annealer, many of the prevailing disruptions experienced while striving for refinery optimisation can be reduced, improved or managed in a more holistic way. 

North American companies that recognise the value of the company’s argument - energy can be reimagined and technologically optimised to succeed both financially and economically - can go one step further by completing Fujitsu’s optimisation assessment tool.

Combining practical advice on AI (artificial intelligence), machine learning and quantum capabilities, energy companies can find out how Fujitsu can support their business priorities and develop a roadmap for sustainable future growth.

Read more about how Fujitsu can develop your optimisation capabilities by downloading the company’s White Paper or contact [email protected] 

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Jul 27, 2021

Scala Data Centers sets 2033 renewables goal

Dominic Ellis
3 min
Scala Data Centers is pledging to provide its Brazil customers with 100% renewable energy by 2033 - as renewables activity steps up in Latin America

Scala Data Centers is pledging to provide its Brazil customers with 100% renewable energy by 2033.

The strategic goal follows the signing of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with ENGIE Brasil Energia, the Brazilian's largest private energy producer. The contract guarantees the supply of more than 1,600 GWh of clean energy in 12 years, a volume sufficient to supply, for one year, a city of around 700,000 people.

Scala Data Centers is a sustainable hyperscale data center platform, founded by DigitalBridge.

Marcos Peigo, co-founder and CEO of Scala, said the agreement with ENGIE reinforces the company's non-negotiable commitment to base its operational growth on fully sustainable premises. "We focus on strategic partnerships that can scale and maintain our operation with the lowest possible environmental impact, without giving up the high quality and competitiveness that are recognised differentials of our company", the executive said.

Eduardo Sattamini, CEO of ENGIE Brasil Energia, added that offering solutions to decarbonise its customers' operations is in line with ENGIE's purpose of acting to accelerate the energy transition towards a carbon neutral society. "Our partnership with Scala demonstrates the importance of sustainability as an added value for business prosperity, in harmony with the future of people and the planet" he said.

Data from the International Energy Agency (IEA) state that, in the last five years, 50% of the PPAs contracted around the world came from leading global technology companies.

Since 2007, Google has been using renewable energy and managed, 10 years later, to zero its global carbon emissions. More recently, Amazon has committed to zero carbon emissions by 2040 and to use 100% renewable energy by 2030. Oracle has expanded its commitment to sustainability, promising to leverage its global operations using 100% renewable energy until 2025.

Peigo hopes that its "leading role" can inspire other Latin American companies to follow the same path.

In regards to the UN’s 7th Sustainable Development Goal (Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all), Brazil’s energy policies have been very effective in meeting world’s most urgent energy challenges, according to Climate Scorecard.

Firstly, access to electricity across the country is almost universal and the electricity sector is the largest in South America. The power sector in Brazil serves more than 50 million customers, granting 97% of the country’s households’ reliable electricity.

Renewables compose almost 45% of Brazil’s primary energy demand, making it one of the least carbon-intensive globally, and its national grid is made up of almost 80% from renewable sources. A large part of its renewable resources come from biofuels and hydro.


Atlas Renewable Energy, along with Unipar, a leader in chlorine, chlorides, and PVC in South America, recently signed a large-scale solar energy PPA in Brazil. The clean solar energy supply will be generated through Atlas Renewable Energy's Lar do Sol – Casablanca II photovoltaic plant in Pirapora, State of Minas Gerais.

"The adoption of renewables is becoming a staple of good corporate responsibility and we at Atlas offer a unique opportunity for large energy consumers to clean their energy matrix and at the same time be sponsors of the social and environmental programs we develop to uplift the communities where we operate," said Luis Pita, General Manager of Atlas Renewable Energy for Brazil. 

Mauricio Russomanno, CEO at Unipar, added that the total amount of generated energy destined to Unipar will be enough to produce chlorine for water treatment to over 60 million people.

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