August 2020


Editorial Comment: Advancing ideas through virtual collaboration

For more than 98 yr, Hydrocarbon Processing has provided the latest refining and petrochemical processing technologies, know-how and best practices to audiences around the world.

Nichols, Lee, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

For more than 98 yr, Hydrocarbon Processing has provided the latest refining and petrochemical processing technologies, know-how and best practices to audiences around the world. This crucial information—provided by frontline engineers, technologists/licensors, and engineering, construction and plant personnel—has enabled the hydrocarbon processing industry (HPI) to share ideas, as well as adapt and evolve operations and technologies to the betterment of the industry and the world. Advances in refined fuels and petrochemical production has provided the world with the fuels and products needed to advance life and raise the socio-economic class of millions of people around the world.

Whether these ideas, technologies, best practices, etc., are provided through a technical article, whitepaper or viewpoint, or broadcast via a webcast or technical conference, they are crucial to ensure safer, more efficient and more profitable operations.

Challenges facing the industry

Like all industries, the HPI faces challenges. However, our industry has always viewed operational challenges as opportunities, rather than hurdles. Over my time in the HPI, I have witnessed people in the downstream industries continuously respond to challenges with novel and practical means. At present, the industry faces stringent regulations on fuel quality and increased environmental awareness, including tougher regulations on sulfur content in marine and transportation fuels; an increasing demand for plastics and subsequent research and development of new plastics recycling technology; and increasing pressure to mitigate emissions and energy intensity, among several other factors.

With many challenges affecting the global refining and petrochemical industries, a venue to discuss solutions and advance ideas is paramount. Therefore, Hydrocarbon Processing provides two technical conferences each year. The International Refining and Petrochemical Conference (IRPC) provides HPI personnel an avenue to exchange ideas, technologies and know-how to the betterment of the industry.

In late September, Hydrocarbon Processing will host IRPC Americas. The primary goal of IRPC Americas is to discuss challenges facing the industry and convert those into opportunities to advance the industry’s technological prowess and discover new ways of tackling problems. It is amazing what people can do when they come together to solve a challenge. Through collaboration, discussion and idea generation, the people in the HPI can overcome any obstacle.

Two tracks, one goal

To ensure the safety of attendees and presenters, Hydrocarbon Processing and the IRPC Advisory Board have decided to convert the technical event into a digital conference. This will provide attendees around the world complimentary access to the latest refining and petrochemical processing solutions.

The agenda for the two-day, online technical event—which will be free to attend—can be viewed at The event’s agenda highlights major refining and petrochemical processing technologies that are crucial to supplying the world with clean-burning fuels and petrochemical products.

The event is highlighted by timely keynote presentations and a panel discussion on the latest advancements in the HPI’s digital transformation journey. The keynote presentations and panel discussion will be followed by presentations focused on refining and petrochemical integration opportunities and biofuels production, along with advancements in the following processing technologies: alkylation, aromatics, ethylene and ethylene derivatives production, fluid catalytic cracking, hydroprocessing, isomerization and additional octane enhancement technologies. HP

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