IRPC '12: Milan event inspires record HPI crowd

By Ben DuBose
Online Editor

VIDEO: See on-site interview with Gulf Publishing Company CEO John Royall

MILAN, Italy -- The annual International Refining and Petrochemical Conference (IRPC) opened its doors on Wednesday, bringing record hydrocarbon processing industry (HPI) attendees to the third edition of the event.

“It’s going very well,” said John Royall, CEO of Gulf Publishing Company, which organized the conference alongside Italian host eni.

“We launched this event two years ago in Rome [before moving to Singapore in 2011],” 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 is the best we’ve ever put together, and with that we’ve drawn teams from around the world.”

Held at the MiCo – Milan Congress, the largest convention center in Europe, over 500 attendees were registered by Wednesday morning, making it the largest audience in IRPC history.

Conference events began with a Tuesday tour of eni’s nearby Sannazzaro de’ Burgondi refinery, where the company’s EST (eni slurry technology) project was recently completed.

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 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.”

As a result, roughly 50% of the conference’s 2012 technical agenda is focused on heavy oil. Other topics covered on the first day include hydrogen, environment and safety and energy efficiency.

In all, over 40 presentations are scheduled at IRPC on Wednesday and Thursday, while another 40 or more sponsors and exhibitors have booths set up in an adjacent hall.

Initial details for IRPC 2013, the fourth gathering of the conference, are expected to be finalized very soon, according to event organizers.

IRPC 2012 runs through Thursday. For more details, visit the HPInformer blog or the event website.

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