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Chairman’s report

Didier Houssin



Interview with Didier Houssin,

Chairman of IFP Energies nouvelles


How would you sum up 2016 as far as IFPEN is concerned?

There were several important developments in 2016 for our company.

If I had to single out just one, it would be the signing of our objectives and performance contract for the period 2016-2020 with our supervisory ministers. This road map embodies our commitment to the future. It marks a step forward towards the achievement of the ambitions set out in our medium to long-term plan up to 2025, particularly a doubling of IFP Group’s turnover, the self‑funding of oil and gas research activities and the development of new markets in the field of New Energy Technologies. This new contract reaffirms our positioning as a leading player in the energy transition and clearly identifies the three strategic priorities we shall continue to focus on: sustainable mobility, new energies and responsible oil and gas. It reinforces our original model based on a continuum between fundamental research, applied research and innovation. I believe it is vital to maintain this balance.


IFPEN’s ambition is to “innovate for energy”. How was this reflected in 2016?

The year brought a number of successes in terms of innovation. In the field of new energies, the floating and anchoring system for offshore wind turbines developed by IFPEN and SBM Offshore was retained within the context of ADEME’s call for projects won by EDF Energies Nouvelles. This is a tremendous success for IFPEN and is testimony to our legitimate status as a leading player in the development of this industrial sector. The major collaborative projects aimed at converting biomass into fuels, Futurol and BioTfueL, in which we are heavily involved, are now reaching the industrial phase. The processes developed will soon be marketed by our subsidiary Axens. Concerning mobility and the design of innovative electric motors, our close partnership with Italian company Mavel bore fruit with the launch of a short production run of electric machines for Aixam. This promising collaboration is set to continue over the coming years. And these are just a few examples. Researchers at IFPEN made some major advances in numerous fields, ranging from the intensification of processes to bio-based chemistry, via services for connected vehicles or the development of the EOR Alliance with our partners Beicip-Franlab and Solvay.


How did IFP group perform?

Despite the beginnings of a recovery, the price of a barrel of crude oil remained extremely low throughout 2016, weighing heavily on the global oil and oil-related sectors. IFP Group’s customers continued to reduce their spending and postpone investment projects. Naturally this had an impact on our subsidiaries’ performances. Having said that, despite this challenging energy context, I believe the outlook for IFP Group is improving and that we are well equipped to weather this crisis. Some subsidiaries, such as Axens, have stood up well and delivered results that deserve to be hailed.

Moreover, the merger project between Axens and Heurtey Petrochem, launched in October 2016, will enable us to create a benchmark technological industrial group, active in the principal export markets. The move will generate additional research and innovation opportunities for IFP Group.


In a rapidly changing energy context, what is the outlook for IFPEN?

IFPEN’s positioning, at the frontier between research and industry, is unique.

Stemming from our strong commitment to supporting wealth and job creation, which underpins everything we do, we provide industry with innovative and competitive technological solutions, we support the innovation efforts of SMEs, we establish companies that act as technology transfer relays and we train tomorrow’s researchers and engineers. I’m convinced that it is this close working partnership with industry that will deliver the solutions to the challenges of energy and the climate.

Since my arrival in 2015, I’ve seen for myself the passion and commitment of IFPEN teams as they set about contributing to the success of the company and taking up the challenges of the energy transition. Innovation is our driving force; it underpins IFPEN’s international reputation, a reputation I witness every time I travel outside France. Building on our past achievements, we can draw on our capacity to reinvent ourselves to approach the coming years with renewed confidence and energy

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