IRPC 2012 supports decision-making for global refining, petrochemical markets

The international refining and petrochemical industry is a vital part of the global economy. Energy, in all forms, drives economic growth. Secure and sustainable supplies remain a vital concern for all nations—developed and developing. Efficient energy usage is another challenge confronting hydrocarbon processing industry (HPI) companies.

Transportation fuels and petrochemical products paved the way for many nations to raise the quality of life for its citizens. Developing nations, likewise, are seeking the same paths as used by Western European and North American nations to increase domestic wealth.

However, refining and petrochemical markets are very cyclic; they are vulnerable to outside forces. Social, political, and natural events continue to change the landscape in which international HPI companies must conduct business. Too often, these influencing events are truly beyond the control of refining and petrochemical organizations.

Leaders of the international HPI have the task of developing and executing strategies to overcome the hurdles hindering profitability. Sustaining economic margins and providing economic growth is the goal for all energy companies. However, and most important, the pathway will be different for all companies. No single solution is available. However, finding the optimum strategy will require understanding the present influencing factors—good or bad—and the determining the best options to attain company goals.

Where do managers and engineers find leading-edge information to guide their companies forward? There several opportunities. Attending thought-provoking, innovative technical forums can provide the unique experiences. Attending informative and applicable presentations combined with one-on-one interaction with experts from the HPI and meeting other industry veterans facing similar challenges is an effective method to keep current with industry technology and issues.

Hydrocarbon Processing’s third annual International Refining and Petrochemical Conference (IRPC) 2012 is a forum dedicated to exploring the latest technological advancements for the HPI. IRPC 2012 will provide the tools and real-time information for global HPI engineers and leaders. This forum strives to identify those factors reshaping the energy industry and to foster high-energy exchanges aimed at resolving such challenges.

Roadmap for success. Leaders of international refining and petrochemical companies must navigate a minefield of uncertainty and constant change. Too often, the problems are beyond the control of company leaders. Yet, HPI leadership must find effective means to combat downturns in the economic cycle and provide returns fro shareholders.

Refineries and petrochemical facilities are long-term investments. These facilities are design to operate with a 30- to 40-year service life. Constant change is eminent for HPI companies. The flexibility to redirect operations and upgrade processing configurations of existing facilities is most important. Adapting to the situation is the only means that companies will survive present and future turbulent time.

Energy security, economic growth and environmental sustainability are the hot factors shaping operating and market conditions for global HPI companies.

Where are we now? Since the early days, finding and applying new and innovative technologies and approaches to overcome problems has been a long-time action by HPI operating companies. In response to most recent economic conditions, many HPI companies are operating under “lean and mean” budgets; consequently, operations staff, project and project process engineers and plant managers are must look outside the company for help. Engineering and construction companies and technology licensors can assist HPI leaders find their roadmap for success. Solving present-day problems is nearly impossible to be done solely inhouse.

Where can the HPI companies find answers to present day problems and get beneficial economic and trend information for the future? IRPC 2012 is to be held from 12-14 June 2012 in Milan, Italy - a new forum for the modern operating companies. From its early beginnings, IRPC 2012 drew on the strength of HP to address the problems that many HPI companies must resolve to remain in business. As the information provider to the global HPI for nearly 90 years, HP has reported and followed processing, economic, technical and environmental issues and trends that have molded the global refining and petrochemical industry.

This year IRPC 2012 will feature a dual-track program selected by its advisory board. Energy security and profitability are two of the main themes addressed in the program. Refining crude oil into “cleaner” transportation fuels is the forefront for all refiners. Much of the world is making head way to process low-sulfur fuels.

Change is a constant in the HPI. What will be discussed at IRPC 2012? Here are just a few of the hot issues to be covered at IRPC 2012:

Fuels. Transportation fuels, in part, are commodity products. However, the ability to process lower API, high-sulfur, high-metals fuels into cleaner products, more efficiently remains a continue challenges for all refiners. The quality of all transportation fuels, including marine bunker fuels, is regulated by many governments. “Cleaner” is better is a common theme. However, future new crude reserves are considered poor “quality“; thus, processing future crude oils will require more treatment to meet pending transportation fuel specifications.

Environment and safety. Safety remains a core principle and mission for all HPI companies. After all, protecting employees, the community and environment and billion-dollar facility investments is the priority for all HPI organizations. The cost to construct a mid-sized complex refinery is a $3 to $10 billion investment, depending on the plant location. How can you protect this asset? New monitoring systems and instrumentation that provide real-time process information are constantly being developed. How to integrate these new technologies to improve safety performance is science. New developments that can be applied efficiently are a high priority for all HPI companies. Prevention is an active effort. Finding better more efficient methods to mitigate failures and to void accidents and release remains a top priority.

Renewable and biofuels. Biofuels and renewable fuels found their origins as a means to decrease crude oil imports. This debate is different for each nation due to balancing agriculture and food supply, subsidies and credits and domestic refining industry conditions. First-generation biofuel programs are emerging as are flawed attempts. Are second-generation biofuel and alternative options improvements or too far from commercialization?

Knowledge supports informed decision-making. In addition to the technical program, IRPC 2012 will host an exhibition hall. IRPC 2012 delegates will have numerous opportunities to the meet and discuss new technologies available and have one-on-one time with industry experts to brainstorm solutions for problems at their facilities.

Program. All HPI facilities are unique in their operation as will be the approach to handle their processing challenges. The IRPC 2012 program is a dual track with 40 presentations by industry experts and HPI operating companies. Focus areas for both tracks include:

· Biofuels/clean fuels

· Energy efficiency

· Environment

· Safety

· Heavy oil

· Hydrogen strategies

· Refining/petrochemical Integration.

Our board. The HPI is a global business. Accordingly, IRPC’s advisory board reflects the global nature of the industry. IRPC advisory member companies include: Axens, BP, Eni, Foster Wheeler, Indian Institute of Petroleum, Indian Oil Corp., Ivanhoe Energy, Poddar & Associates, Shell Global Solutions, Technip, Walter Tosto S.p.A. and HP. Collectively, the IRPC board is estimated to have over 300 years of service to the HPI through its members. The IRPC board is a seasoned group of expects charting the program in 2012 and beyond.

Mapping out success. As an IRPC 2012 attendee, you have the opportunity to share and to learn from other professionals. The event in Milan will be a uniquely rewarding experience for all HPI professionals. The combination of 40 high-quality leading-edge presentations, three keynote speakers addressing the issue of the day, two days of one-on-one exchanges with experts of the HPI, numerous opportunities to meet HPI professionals and a field trip to eni’s Sannazzaro de Burgondi Refinery in Pavia, Italy, add up to an over-the-top experience for HPI professionals no matter their age or their experience level.

Let’s continue the conversation for success. To reserve your spot at the IRPC 2012, please visit

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