It has always been ARC's position that technology itself has no inherent
benefit unless it provides a measurable value proposition to
the end user. The drive toward business value and the path to
operational excellence (OpX) on the part of process
manufacturers was the primary driver behind many of the leading
developments in the process automation marketplace for 2005.
From the demand-side perspective, pacesetting spending growth
for automation has begun to shift away from industries such as
pharmaceuticals and food and beverage to the energy sector
specifically oil and gas, refining and power generation.
Of course, the impact of natural disasters such as Hurricane
Katrina will have long-term effects on the North American
automation marketplace, particularly in the hydrocarbon industries.
Hurricane Katrina's permanent impact on
process automation. The oil and gas and refining
industries in the US are continuing to recover from the
devastating effects of both Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
According to the American Petroleum Institute (API), the US refining industry utilization rate
in November averaged 88% for the month, which was a
considerable improvement compared to a utilization rate of 69%
for the last week of September. API goes on to state, however,
that there are 1.3 MMbpd of refining capacity that remained
offline or running at a reduced rate. API also reported that
domestic US crude production also remains at levels 15% below
prehurricane level, and there is still considerable work to be
done to repair the rest of the Gulf offshore