IRPC 2016: Keynote speakers open to a full house

Hydrocarbon Processing's seventh-annual International Refining and Petrochemical Conference opened Tuesday with a full-day of technical presentations. The opening session's keynote addresses were greeted to a full house of attendees. 

To open the conference, representatives of Total, Juliette De Maupeou, digital officer for refining and chemicals, and Ahmed Belghazi, research delegate, spoke on Total's digital future. The keynote address, Plant 4.0 for the energy transition, was delivered as a dual-presentation, and summarized Total's 2025 digital industrial vision. This included operational challenges, such as improving plant availability, avoiding unplanned failures and data loses, improving quality, faster problem solving to enhance production, and enhancing tracking processes to achieve better efficiency on supply chain, logistics and spare parts. Finally, key initiatives were detailed including advanced process control, predictive maintenance, virtual plant programs, remote control and monitoring, robotics development, more devices and apps, and additive manufacturing. 

Total's presentation was followed by Alan Gelder, vice president of refining, chemicals, and oil market research for WoodMackenzie. His presentation, Global crude and refined product markets, was a detailed overview on crude oil pricing, as well as a look at refined product markets on a global scale. Alan's key takeaways included: 

  • The crude oil price is strengthening, but it will remain volatile in the near term, the evolution 
  • The evolution of regional crude oil quality is driven by the supply developments in the US tight oil and Iraq/Iran 
  • Refiners benefited from the low crude price, but margins are expected to weaken
  • Diesel returns to setting global refining runs when tightening fuel efficiency standards impacts the US vehicle fleet (this outlook challenges the sustainability of European refining)
  • Petrochemicals are a significant source of potential value addition for a refinery, with an integratedrefining/petrochemical site

IRPC continues through Wednesday, June 8, with another full-day of technical presentations.

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