September 2019


Editorial Comment: Exchanging ideas through collaborative environments

What is the best way to exchange ideas?

Nichols, Lee, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

What is the best way to exchange ideas? Although technology has enabled people to broadcast their messages and ideas through a plethora of social media platforms, one of the best ways to advance an industry is through technology events and forums. Any time the industry can come together and share knowledge on best practices and technological advancements, it provides a significant catalyst for increasing plant efficiency, profitability and safety.

At the end of this month, Hydrocarbon Processing will host its International Refining and Petrochemical Conference (IRPC) in Houston, Texas. IRPC Americas will deliver a valuable forum for refining and petrochemical innovators and practitioners to share their knowledge and expertise with industry peers, as well as hear current and future business strategies from leading industry professionals.

Challenges and solutions

Like all industries, the hydrocarbon processing industry (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 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. The primary goal of IRPC Americas is to discuss these factors as 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.


The agenda for the two-day technical event, which can be viewed at, highlights major trends and technologies that are crucial to supplying the world with clean-burning fuels, petrochemical products, safer and more efficient plant operations, and advancing the circular economy.

The event is highlighted by timely keynote presentations and a workforce panel discussion:

  • The integration is greener than the sum of its parts: Lance Medlin, Executive Vice President, Meridian Energy Group
  • Refinery of the future: Crude-to-chemicals with maximum bottom of the barrel conversion: Keith Couch, Senior Director, Technology Sales and Integrated Projects, Honeywell UOP
  • Panel discussion: Building the talent pipeline for the energy and petrochemicals industries: David King, Workforce Development Manager, INEOS Olefins and Polymers; Dorian Cockrell, Manager, Workforce Operations, Texas Workforce Commission; and J. D. Slaughter, President, S&B Engineers and Constructors.

The technical agenda is complemented by numerous networking opportunities to meet with industry leaders and share new avenues for business opportunities. HP

The Author

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