UAE - Transport
Regional Director, Aksa Power Generation FZE
Okan Kızılırmak graduated in mechanical engineering from Yıldız Technical University, before going on to study at Texas A&M University. He began at Aksa in 2005, occupying a range of senior positions across a number of geographies. In 2008 he became Regional Director based in Dubai and focused on the Middle East and Africa.
What is Aksa’s mandate in the UAE?
We have been in the energy sector since the early 1980s, and our headquarters are in Turkey. Traditionally, we started energy business with assembling generators. We are one of the top-five generator manufacturers globally. We have since diversified our revenue streams, such that the generator business currently covers 8.5-9% of group revenue. There are three big energy companies in the group. The first is Aksa Energy, a public company listed on the Turkish stock exchange. This is the largest company of the group, with investments all over the world. We started in Turkey but we are now in the Middle Asia and the entire of Africa. We have more than 2,000MW installed capacity as power plants. We design, install, and operate power plants in this business and sell energy directly to governments or the private sector. Another of our businesses is the distribution of natural gas with our own pipelines. Geographically, we distribute natural gas to almost 60% of Turkey with over 3 Million subscribers. For the transmission and management of electricity, we have Aksa Electricity. Besides that, the group has tourism investments in a few hotels and reserves. Then in agriculture, we have two large farms in Turkey. In total, we have more than 25 overseas subsidiaries in 22 countries. Aksa Group as a whole has a total revenue of USD4.5 billion a year, with some 9,000 employees. In the GCC specifically, 40% of our revenue in the region comes from the Gulf. The UAE is extremely important to us, as it is our regional headquarters. Dubai is the home of Aksa in the region.
Where do you find primarily the area of use for power generators today?
When we compare the situation today to 20 years ago, there are more rental solutions. The structure of the energy business has changed slightly because this is a high-end market. Our main sector now is oil and gas. Telecoms is another important sector for us globally. Furthermore, supporting the financial sector is another important issue that is related to telecoms and data. We are looking to combine these various sectors and are growing that side of the business accordingly.
When looking at clean energy, how do you see your power generation business evolving?
Leading experts in the industry expect fossil fuel to remain an essential part of the energy mix for the next 20-or-so years. However, hybrid energy production will continue to develop, with renewables playing a part. This will depend on the developments of assets and demand. We continue to provide the solutions that are still needed. Renewable energy is receiving a great deal of support and funding. There is a high level of R&D in hydrogen and green hydrogen research right now, for example. Moving forward, this could place pressures on demand for water as a tool to produce green hydrogen. It is definitely an important development in the sector, and the end of the day, we see a bright future.
What are your plans to invest in transformative technologies and the overall industry?
In the energy sector, similar to other industrial sectors, digital transformation is playing an important role. It is all about efficiency and saving time and costs. For example, maintenance cycles depend on the type of power generator one is using. Solar systems are different from hydro systems. In the telecoms sector, for example, we use GSM-connected generators. Using digital technology enables us to closely monitor the performance of the thousands of units that we sell or rent out.
What are your goals when it comes to the energy transition?
Energy is essential to our security, healthcare, defense, and transportation. It is an indispensable sector. We want to create a sustainable role in the energy sector globally. This is the reason why we always choose to make solid investments globally. We are aware of the need for a vision for the future and proper preparation. Being prepared, we were able to establish a presence for ourselves in renewable energy, and we will continue to provide cleaner energy production options to global customers.
UAE - Energy & Mining
Director General, Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR)
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