Oil IT Journal interview—Fadi Kanafani, PIDX CEO

PIDX’s new CEO outlines PIDX activity since its demerger from the American Petroleum Institute and how it supports its buyer, supplier and trading partner members. PIDX supply chain standards are evolving from its legacy, well defined EDI base to more modern XML-based protocols.

What’s your background?

Energy and utilities. I was CIO for hydrocarbons and chemicals with Koch Industries. Around year 2000, the company was looking into its e-commerce strategy, trying to figure out which standards were for real—around the time of the dot com bust! We adopted the CIDX* protocols which were based on EDI at the time. But there was a fever catching on with the new XML technology. I was then recruited by Sheridan Production to develop its IT capability. I took on the role of PIDX chair last August.

How did that come about?

Following PIDX’s independence from the API last year, the organization realized it needed full time leadership. I was hired to focus on increasing adoption of the standards and to invigorate the volunteer base.

How does PIDX fit with its members companies and e-business hubs?

There are three member types, buyers, suppliers and trading partners. The latter could be hubs or solution providers. We try to balance the three with a focus on commercial transactions and supply chain interaction. We stay clear of geoscience. It is important to define the boundaries and build on what are already well-defined EDI standards. There is good take-up in the downstream.

EDI is something of a legacy technology?

Yes, but it is still used a lot even though XML has been around for ten years. It is up to the users to chose.

Is the XML side of PIDX struggling?

There is good take up in North America, less so globally—which is why we have embarked on our outreach program.

What would be a flagship XML project?

The TDXS terminal data exchange and global bill of lading/right to lift initiative is getting a lot of attention today. As is the supplier KPI project which is developing a data dictionary and automated data transfer between suppliers and operators. But the AS2 and RosettaNet protocols remain current. They are strong and secure. What the future holds is still a matter for discussion.

Are standards less necessary today than a decade ago, now that apps understand so many formats?

Not at all! We still want to promote standards as enabling better supply chain integration. Chevron for example directs billions of dollars worth of transactions across PIDX.

Do you see members mandating PIDX use in contracts?

We don’t tell our members how to do their business.

* The chemical industry data exchange was wound up in 2009 and its IP is now managed by the Open applications group.

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