Q&A: Former OMV Exec Manfred Leitner discusses the future of low carbon technologies

Manfred Leitner talks about the future of alternative fuels, OMV’s low carbon technologies, political situation around NordStream 2 and his football career

The future of alternative fuels, OMV’s low carbon technologies, political situation around NordStream 2 and football career - a former member of the OMV Executive Board (2011-2019) Manfred Leitner gave a special interview in the 4th episode of BGS Talks Youtube show.

He discussed these and other topics with Regina Chislova, Project Director of PRC Europe 2020 - Petrochemical and Refining Congress.

Here is a sneak preview of the interview, the full version available at BGS Talks Youtube channel - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xHC1XnkM9o&feature=youtu.be

Regina: Today we’re here in Vienna in OMV head-office, and we’re meeting Manfred Leitner. Nice to meet you and thank you for inviting us.

Manfred: Thanks for being with me.

R: Let’s start with your company strategy. I know that one of the main points for you is to ensure a stronger presence on the European gas and petrochemical markets. <...> Can you comment on this?

M: What we defined is the ambition to really become the leading integrated gas supplier from Northwestern to Southeastern Europe. We have production in some countries but at the same time, we get supply from Gazprom Export. And Nord Stream 2 is probably one of the most discussed projects recently because it’s not only seen as an economic project but it is getting into a political level <...> and is obviously fitting into that strategy. If you look just at the facts and leave politics away then you will find that the gas demand in Europe in our opinion will at least be stable if not growing over time.<...>”

R: We have gas cars on the one hand and e-mobility on the other hand. In your opinion, what will win?

M: That's one of the best questions you can ask. This will very much depend on political decisions. The car producers have not produced a lot of CNG cars, that is why the customers could not even buy them, there was not a lot on offer. <...> I think this year it will happen, there will be another initiative so the car producers will come with a variety of CNG cars. It will potentially have an impact on customers. 

<...> The problem is that all other alternative fuels are much more expensive if compared to diesel, for instance. Unless they are subsidized, the customers obviously will not go for them because the government cannot just forbid a certain type of engines. <...> And to answer your question: I don't know but I'm sure that the customers will decide on it, and nobody else.”

R: What kind of innovations do you want to bring to the Middle East market?

M: We are having a Memorandum of Understanding signed. We are on the way of developing the recycling of post-consumer plastics here in Austria. This is just a research project still but we have signed in a Memorandum of Understanding with ADNOC to at least take a feasibility look whether this would qualify to be a part of the sustainability solutions in Abu Dhabi as well.”

R: I know that you are planning to invest up to 500 billion dollars in technologies up to 2025. One of them is ReOil which we already started to talk about. Tell us about it in more details.

M: The ReOil logic is easy. You collect post-consumer plastics - polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, for instance. <...> The process itself is not that simple but in general, we just take that plastic waste and bring it again into a liquid form that more or less you can call synthetic oil. And this synthetic oil is going into refining again replacing crude oil that we otherwise would have to supply from other sources.”

Watch the full interview at BGS Talks Youtube channel to know what would Manfred himself choose between CNG and electric car, get more details on ReOil project, ADNOC refining cooperation and more.