CEO Talk: The challenges of engineering in Argentina and the world
Carlos Bacher, CEO of Techint Engineering & Construction, shared his vision of the role of engineering in the energy transition process, focusing on its potential for innovation and transformative capacity. Flanked by Soledad Calcagno, Hernán Milberg, Gabriela Vila and Carolina Eito, he addressed over 160 students at an event organized by the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Buenos Aires (FIUBA) aimed at discussing the topics marking the agenda of the future.
Carlos Bacher began by bringing up the theme of the energy transition, a matter of central importance for the Techint Group. "We’ve set up an energy transition team within the Group, whose priority is to find ways of decarbonizing our activity." Soledad Calcagno and Hernan Milberg, both from the team, shared their learnings as well as anecdotes about their experiences in other countries. They discussed different projections concerning the targets for reducing CO2 emissions by 2050, where the industry needs to go from emitting 8.5 Gt to 0.5 Gt.
Gabriela Vila, who is currently working in the area of Innovation, Knowledge Management, and Applied Technology, then explained how the team managed to implement the Acelatech initiative and the Entrepreneurs Club in the midst of the pandemic. She pointed to the innovation projects currently being developed, as “we have over forty ongoing initiatives in different countries, giving us an overview of all the things we can do from this area. Just by way of example, we’ve taken the first steps in 3D concrete printing, based on work by a startup from Finland, and we’re using Asset Tracking tools to track weld performance in the field.”
Carolina Eito, CARGO, talked about project engineering and illustrated her talk with examples from Fortin de Piedra in Vaca Muerta (Neuquen, Argentina), one of the Group’s most emblematic works and one in which she was involved. “After a number of different stages, we achieved the milestone of processing 21 million m³/day of gas, representing 13% of the gas produced in Argentina overall. This was a massive project involving over 4,500 people in the field and more than 265,000 hours of engineering.”
Referring to Fortin de Piedra as an example, Carlos Bacher reflected on the areas that students should focus on when preparing for what is to come. “We’re looking at a technological revolution, with the digitalization of processes; smarter infrastructure, industry and services, thanks to the tools offered by artificial intelligence and robotics; innovation playing a key role in the energy transition; creating communication spaces to promote and reward new ideas; cultural transformation and intrapreneurship; work environments able to guarantee respect for diversity and cultural integration.”
The speeches were followed by questions from the audience, many of which concerning aspects related to the energy transition, which was undoubtedly the main theme of the day.