Oil & Gas

Black Gold – Amir Abbassciy CEO @ Cnergyico

Consumer attitudes and industrial trends may have shifted, especially in the last five years, yet global demand for oil and oil derivatives remains high. Since 2016, oil prices and demand have risen, while inflation and soaring supply rates have caused extraction costs to skyrocket. In this turbulent yet consistently profitable industry, Pakistani company Cnergyico, previously known as Byco Petroleum, maintains a robust presence in a region.

Byco Petroleum Pakistan Limited changed its name to Cnergyico (Chemical Energy Integrated Company) Pk Limited in December. This change reflects the company’s efforts to modernise its oil refining infrastructure to produce more environmentally friendly fuels and diversify its business into petrochemicals to cater to tomorrow’s energy needs.

Cnergyico was founded in 1995 by father-son duo, the late Parvez Abbassi and current CEO Amir Abbassciy with an initial vision to modernise and pioneer change in Pakistan’s energy sector. Until then, the country’s petroleum sector had not been fully utilised.

In response, Mr. Abbassi’s vision was to build a hydro skimming refinery, capable of producing a variety of oil-based products. Not only would this tap into some of the country’s unused resources but it would also give the fledgling company a diversified product line.

“In our industry, companies are often quite single minded,” Amir explains. “Some companies just operate a refinery, others do oil marketing, some others manufacture chemical products from oil and so on. At Cnergyico, we do all of this. It is all fully integrated within our departmental structure, and this was baked into the operational model by my father from the beginning.”

Eleven years of planning and construction eventually led to the installation of the company’s first plant at Mouza Kund in Balochistan in 2004. With an impressive capacity of 36,000 barrels per day, this immediately gave Cnergyico a presence in the industry.

Commercial production from Mouza Kund encompassed a variety of products including liquefied petroleum gas, light naphtha, heavy naphtha, motor gasoline, kerosene, jet fuels, highspeed diesel, and furnace oil, a product used primarily for steam boilers in power plants and on ships.

Such was Cnergyico’s initial success that by June 2007 it felt able to venture into the petrol retail sphere. Its first filling station, located near the city of Sukkur in the centre of Pakistan, soon spawned a network of others. The company now operates more than 440 similar sites across the country. Its name and logo are as familiar to Pakistani motorists as international giants like Shell or the state-owned Pakistan State Oil (PSO).

Amir Abbassciy, a leader who is passionate about innovation, was cognizant of the prospects for future development.

“I have been involved in the company with my father from the very beginning,” he explains. “We set it up from scratch, and we had done a lot of learning together. We learnt as we grew. At the very beginning, it was really just the two of us. This was very important to our whole approach and put me in a great position to move forward, because I had seen it all come together and experienced every facet of the business.”

The solid foundation quickly enabled the achievement of another milestone, the completion of Cnergyico’s Single Point Mooring (SPM) project, in 2012. The visionary facility was set up in the Arabian Sea approximately 15 km from the main Cnergyico site at Mouza Kund. Anchored at a water depth of around 26 metres, the floating jetty can accommodate vessels up to 150,000 tonnes, with potential for larger and connects to a crude oil tank farm via 3.3 km of on-shore and 11.5 km off-shore pipelines. The first of its kind in the country, the SPM saves on both freight time and expenses by enabling immediate ship to shore delivery, while bypassing congestion at regular ports.

“This is not only a great thing for Cnergyico,” Amir says. “It’s a national asset. Something we take very seriously. At Cnergyico we are extremely focused on corporate responsibility.”

To this end, the company has also acted in several ways to improve the quality of life for those living near its refinery. Projects have included clean water for villages, medical relief programmes and sports or recreation facilities.

By December 2015, Cnergyico’s upward trajectory was such that it successfully commissioned the largest refinery in the country, which was installed near the existing one. With an impressive capacity of 120,000 barrels a day, it placed Cnergyico firmly at the forefront of the Pakistani oil industry.

“We now have an installed capacity of 156,000 barrels per day, the equivalent of 7.2 million tonnes,” Amir states, “which gives us the largest refining capacity in Pakistan.”

Having ascended to this level and prior to the globally unforeseen events of 2020, company growth appeared steady and assured. From a two-man operation in 1995 to a corporation encompassing around 900 employees across multiple departments, progress, and advancement were self-evident. Central to this, Amir explains, is a commitment to a positive culture.

“We ensure our people have the right knowledge and skills to perform well, but we value them as people too.”

Workers at Cnergyico report high job satisfaction levels within an open work ethos that fosters creativity and supports opinions and ideas. As a result, Cnergyico recently won the Best Place to Work Award 2021.

However, the company’s recent history has also provided challenges. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has seen a significant drop in global demand for oil and oil derivatives, particularly during periods of lockdown. This was something Cnergyico felt keenly.

“COVID has affected all business in one way or another,” the CEO explains, “and of course our industry is no different. Demand was reduced very substantially for about a year and a half. But it seems to be recovering again now.”

In addition to the challenges of COVID, oil, and other fossil fuel industries face further challenges. Global gasoline and diesel consumption is declining in the wake of environmental concerns. End of line consumers are more likely to choose products which use renewable energy sources. Cnergyico, of course, adheres to National Environmental Quality Standards for all its refineries, yet is fully aware of the shift in international attitudes.

“I believe this industry we are a part of is rapidly changing,” Amir concludes. “I can see it changing on a daily basis. COVID has had a big impact, but the climate and other concerns are very important too. Consumers are moving toward electric vehicles, for example. That means that not only ourselves, but the industry as a whole, has to reposition, focus more on petrochemicals and less on petrol and diesel to remain relevant.

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