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HPI mulls technical innovations at IRPC in Milan, Italy

07.01.2012  |  DuBose, Ben ,  Hydrocarbon Processing Staff, Houston, Texas

Keywords: [IRPC] [refining] [petrochemicals] [Italy] [conference] [Eni] [slurry technology]

The third annual International Refining and Petrochemical Conference (IRPC) opened its doors in mid-June, bringing record crowds to Milan, Italy, as leading downstream players shared and debated new hydrocarbon processing industry (HPI) technologies.

The event attracted more than 500 attendees, 40 presentations, and at least 40 sponsors and exhibitors—setting a new high in all three categories.

“It went very well,” said John Royall, CEO of Gulf Publishing Company, which organized the conference alongside Italian host eni (Fig. 1).

  Fig. 1.  Italian energy major eni hosted IRPC and had a
  busy booth on the exhibit floor.

“We launched this event two years ago in Rome [before moving to Singapore in 2011],” Mr. Royall added. “The idea was that we would put together the number one technical forum in the world for professionals in the downstream industry.

“This year’s program was the best we’ve ever put together, and with that we drew teams from around the world,” (Fig. 2).

  Fig. 2.  Conference attendees mingled at IRPC’s opening
  reception on Wednesday, June 13.

Eni refinery project opens for tour

IRPC events began with a June 12 tour of eni’s nearby Sannazzaro de’ Burgondi refinery, where the company’s EST (eni slurry technology) project is near completion.

“I think the cherry on the cake was the first day when we visited eni,” said Dr. Raushan G. Telyashev, general director at Russia’s LUKOIL. “That was impressive.”

The proprietary EST technology allows for the conversion of heavy oil residues in fine products, gasoline and gasoil. The process converts waste oil, heavy crude and tar sands into high-quality and performance fuels.

“That was very, very well received because it is a groundbreaking technology that creates a lot of efficiencies and cost-savings for refiners,” said Mr. Royall.

“A lot of these refiners around the world found it to be a very exciting day seeing this new technology put into place by eni.”

Heavy oil talk leads presentations

 The conference moved to the Mico – Milano Congressi, the largest convention center in Europe, for two days of presentations and exhibits (Fig. 3) on June 13 and 14.

  Fig. 3.  Italy’s Walter Tosto was among many with popular
  exhibition booths.

Roughly half of IRPC presentations were focused on heavy oil conversion, with industry heavyweights such as eni vice president Dr. Giacomo Rispoli (Fig. 4) imploring slurry technology innovations from European refiners.

  Fig. 4.  Dr. Giacomo Rispoli,
  an executive vice president
  with eni, delivered IRPC’s
  keynote address on
  Wednesday, June 13.

Refining is considered a technologically mature sector,” said Dr. Rispoli. “The last significant development was in the 1960s with modern hydrocracking. The industry desperately needs a technology breakthrough.”

Meanwhile, other talks centered on issues like distillate yields.

Buoyed by rising transportation fuels demand, Indian Oil executive director A.S. Basu said multiple upgrader projects will allow his company to raise distillate yields to 79 percent by 2016 and 84 percent within a few more years, up from 72 percent in 2005 and 76 percent in 2012.

Other relevant subjects discussed included hydrogen management, environment and safety issues, energy efficiency, and European economic concerns.

“We really liked the event,” said Dr. Telyashev, who traveled with several LUKOIL officials. “It was very well planned.

“The presentations were very useful,” he continued. “We liked that there were a wide variety of reports and companies—some who were licensing technologies and others who run the refineries.

“It was very good knowledge of new technologies in detail, not just observations.”

Companies represented among the speakers and exhibitors included eni, Indian Oil, Foster Wheeler, Criterion, Chevron Research, KBR, Walter Tosto, Ivanhoe Energy, Chevron Lummus Global, CB&I, Shell Global Solutions, ABB, Saudi Aramco and many others.

Delegates, meanwhile, were registered from locations including Libya, Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Russia, India, Europe and the US.

Future of IRPC

The 2013 version of IRPC will be held in New Delhi, India, event organizers confirmed following the Milan conference.

Specific site and host details have yet to be finalized, according to Mr. Royall.

However, the event is certain to head to India for the first time, he said.

For more coverage of IRPC 2012, visit the HPInformer blog at www.hydrocarbonprocessing.com/HPInformer. HP

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