OPTIMIZE 24 — The Future of the Energy Transition Starts Now

AspenTech CEO Antonio Pietri delivers keynote address to open bi-annual global user conference

May 01, 2024

AspenTech President and CEO Antonio Pietri welcomed customers, partners and others to OPTIMIZE 24 Tuesday with a keynote address that highlighted how the company is uniquely positioned to help customers develop and deploy the critical solutions that will enable asset intensive industries to navigate the challenges of the energy transition.

More than 1,300 customers, representing 50 different countries and more than 20 industries were on hand for the start of AspenTech’s premier global customer conference, which will feature more than 175 sessions in the coming days about technology, the application of AspenTech solutions, how customers can use digital tools to create value.

In recent years, Antonio said, the world has experienced profound change, and asset intensive industries are no different.

“It used to be that wherever I went around the world, all (people) talked about how congested traffic was, how busy things were,” he said. “Whenever I went to hotels or restaurants, it was packed. But we all know what happened in March of 2020. Everything changed at that moment. Now, four years later, we’re dealing with the adjustment we had to go through.”

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted dramatic changes, from shifts in the global economy and international supply chains to changes in how people work to generational changes to the workforce – changes that many industries are still coming to terms with.

“In 2021, we held COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, and…out of that conference, many companies and countries started to establish net zero carbon emissions targets,” he continued. “That has begun to transform how we think about sustainability and our role in society. This presents a challenge and an opportunity for all of us.”

One of the keys to taking advantage of that opportunity, Antonio told customers and others, is technology.  

“In a way, (AspenTech’s) start set us up in the right direction, because there are no other industries as technology intensive as the refining or oil and gas or chemical industries,” he said. “That pushed AspenTech to innovate – significant optimization capabilities, control technology capabilities, planning, scheduling, all sorts of algorithms, domain expertise, physics, chemistry, math and more. This is why I refer to us as a software technology company.”

As the world continues to navigate the challenges of the energy transition, it is particularly exciting to see how those same capabilities can be applied to new challenges and new industries, like the power and utilities industry.

The rapid growth of electrification and the increasing deployment of renewable energy technologies like wind and solar power are quickly transforming how the electrical grid operates and creating new challenges for operators as they work to maintain the safety and reliability of the world’s power systems.

Incorporating ever-higher renewable capacity into the grid will require a host of technologies, including greater control capabilities, greater optimization, and AI tools, to ensure utilities – and other mission-critical industries, like refining, chemicals and more – can meet the challenges of the energy transition.

Going forward, Antonio said, AspenTech is offering customers a holistic approach to managing and optimizing their assets, with our traditional product suites – for engineering, manufacturing, supply chain, asset performance management and more – supplemented by new technologies, including subsurface science and engineering and digital grid management.




“What excites me about this is the cross-pollination we will see over the next few years as we leverage the capabilities in each of the suites into the others to enhance the value creation and the reliability that our products and solutions can deliver,” he said.

Among the most exciting of those capabilities is artificial intelligence.

Though AI has made prominent headlines over the past year, AspenTech has a long history with the technology, and was researching how to deliver AI to customers as early as 2016. Using a combination of first principles and AI, the company developed what it calls “industrial artificial intelligence” to ensure the technology is applied safely.

“Asset intensive industries include processes that are very dangerous and complex to operate,” Antonio said. “We developed this category of products…to package the domain expertise and the first principles of engineering with artificial intelligence capabilities. We want to make sure that, if AI is recommending a set point or decisions to your engineers, it’s being done in the context of energy balances, mass balances and it’s being done in the context of safety.”

Making a sustainable future a reality, however, isn’t only about technology. For companies to truly achieve organizational excellence, they must also focus on their people and culture.

“It’s very obvious to me when I go to meet with customers…that the adoption of technology comes down to organizational capabilities,” he said. “AspenTech is very focused in this area of how do we help our customers? How do we help develop your talent?”

As many older workers retire, a new generation of workers is coming to the workplace with new expectations for how software and solutions should work.

“This new generation of workers, they think of software very differently, which is ‘two clicks and there’s an answer,’” Antonio said. “We recognize that…and are helping to improve the ease of use and ease of configuration of our products (with) the knowledge that we’re going to introduce greater automation and guidance to make the user experiences more cohesive across our products.”



AspenTech has also introduced more than 140 sustainability models which allow users to jumpstart their sustainability efforts. It also annually trains more than 18,000 customers on how to use our solutions to best build value across their organizations.

“We are going through a transformative moment,” Antonio told attendees. “There’s no doubt about it – AspenTech is going through its own transformation, and you are all going through transformations. To me, this forum is about bringing everyone together…to help contribute and accelerate the transformation that has to happen.

“This transformation presents huge challenges, (but) it’s also a huge opportunity,” he continued. “I started in this industry 35 years ago, and as I stand here today, I look at the opportunity that exists for AspenTech and for all of us in our industries and it’s like never before. I’ve never been as excited as I am today about the future of our industries and about the future of AspenTech…it’s about the partnerships that will be formed in this room, in this conference over the next two to three days and beyond, and I couldn’t be more happy that it is AspenTech that is bringing you all together.”

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