The PetrolPlaza audio version is presented to you by UNITI expo 2020, the leading retail petroleum and car wash trade fair in Europe.

“You can’t replace the effectiveness of trade shows” Interview with Reed Leighton

Australia’s Leighton O’Brien, a leading company in the field of fuel analytics, fuel cleaning and testing expanding its business across the globe, sat down with PetrolPlaza to discuss the upcoming UNITI expo 2018 and how the Internet of Things has revolutionized the industry.

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After working at Shell for a number of years, Reed Leighton founded Leighton O’Brien in 1995 in Melbourne, Australia. He is the current Chief Executive Officer of the company.

Q. UNITI expo 2018 is now just two weeks away. Why is it important for a company such as Leighton O´Brien to attend the show?

A. In an age of digital marketing, social media has become an important tool in the mix, but nothing can replace the effectiveness of the traditional trade show. UNITI 2016 was a great springboard to securing partners and customer opportunities for our wetstock, testing and cleaning technologies. UNITI 2018 will further accelerate our growth and build our brand in the European market. We expect a very good show, the third we have attended.

Will you be presenting any new products?

Yes, for the European market we are presenting the world’s most comprehensive SaaS for wetstock management, with unparalleled features. For instance, smart interconnected alarms. We are seeing events in tanks often have 3 or 4 interconnected detectable catalysts such as meter drift and pump flow rates.

We will also be introducing the world’s most accurate tank and line test, which is 400% more accurate than the required US EPA leak detection threshold.

Lastly, we’ll be showcasing the world’s most used fuel restoration and tank cleaning technology, which will be first launched in Ireland over the summer. 

Leighton O´Brien has a global presence through its various distributors. How big of a market is Europe for you? Are you looking to enter any new countries in that continent?

We already provide software services in nine (European) countries and we intend to expand the scope of services offered and number of countries we operate in. We are looking for more customers and growing our distribution channel. We believe we can bring more innovation to the European market, such as a patented filtration and conditioning fuel cleaning process that restores fuel to 2 microns, a digital – not analogue – leak detection method, and a smarter approach to wetstock management.

Is an event like UNITI expo also a good chance to meet possible distributors?

Yes, it’s very important for us. We operate a 100% distributor model internationally for our testing and cleaning technologies, and often for Saas for wetstock. We are seeking distributors across our technology suite who have a strong market presence and reputation with a commitment to superior customer service and technical excellence.

How has the Internet of Things affected your business and the solutions you provide for service stations?

IoT is the foundation of our business. Our ability to gather real time data from tens of thousands of locations, run extensive algorithms over that data set to provide smart alarms, lends itself to any device at site. We want to be the portal for retail petroleum operations. We have a number of technologies in research phase right now that will move us from the forecourt and into the store.

What are the biggest benefits of real time wetstock monitoring?

Globally, the full adoption of a wetstock solution like Leighton O’Brien’s could save the industry $1.5 billion per annum with smart and interconnected alarms.

Essentially each site could save between $2,000 and $3,000 per annum. How? A reduction in fuel losses through improved meter dispensing accuracy; improved stock measurement from 100% of ATG’s being corrected; delivery verification to 0.3%; real time loss alerts; smaller leaks; less theft; and contractor fuel withdrawals

Our Wetstock Live platform can also reduce water events and slash maintenance costs through data driven, not ‘human’ alerts that negate false alarms resulting in fewer contractor visits to site, laser calibration of tanks and elimination of call centres and facilities maintenance companies.

For example, Leighton O’Brien can detect meter drift in real time; how much does the global oil industry spend on technician call outs to squirt fuel into a can or use laser calibration? Wetstock Live can determine accurate calibration without the need to send folks to a site.

We have seen so many innovations in the industry in the last decade, with the mentioned IoT one of them. What key developments do you expect to see in the near future in the field of fuel analytics, fuel cleaning and testing?

Well it’s not in the future at Leighton O’Brien - we are there already. Big data analytics in real-time on all operational aspects of wetstock is here now. It is changing field practices, maintenance technologies and capital purchase decisions across the globe.

For example, traditional vacuum acoustic testing techniques that listen for a leak in storage system are out of date and proven to be ineffective by our wetstock system as they miss many leaks.

Laser calibrations of tanks and pump calibration checks are also a waste of money. You can perform those activities with a centralised, comprehensive wetstock management system.

Fuel maintenance (cleaning) is a huge area of growth because vehicle engines require fuels that meet higher quality standards. Smart alarms from wetstock analytics will alarm when pumps are slow, and fuel or tanks are dirty.

In our view, the biggest implication of wetstock SaaS is that lean oil companies will again insource fuel system management and run their business on a data driven basis rather than an analogue approach. This will eliminate significant cost by replacing outsourced facilities maintenance vendors, practices and traditional technologies.

IoT is positively disrupting traditional fuel retail business models and practices, and we’re at the forefront of these exciting developments. 

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