ME-TECH 2020 to focus on how technology breakthroughs are shaping the future of downstream

ME TECH 2019 Plenary Session The Market Outlook moderated by Mr. Suleyman Ozmen Leading Expert ConsultantThe 10th edition of the Middle East Technology Forum (ME-TECH) for refining and petrochemicals will take place from 18-20 February in Abu Dhabi, and is set to focus on major technology trends affecting the refining and petrochemical industry

ME-TECH 2020, organised by Euro Petroleum Consultants, will cover topics of how technology breakthroughs are shaping the future of the refining and petrochemicals industry, including oil to chemicals technology, options for maximising conversion and meet evolving demand, and latest developments in advanced olefins and polyolefins technologies among others.

The event will highlight the role of technology in improving efficiency and productivity, and how technological breakthroughs can change the trajectory of oil prices, especially if unconventional oil producers, and high-cost producers in general, manage to slash production costs with cutting edge technology, potentially again leading to an oversupplied market.

A vital topic that will dominate discussions at the forum is the Oil and Gas 4.0 theme as this era, known a the Fourth Industrial Age, is creating a paradigm shift in global growth and driving demand for petrochemical and refining products.

“The push toward incorporating digital tools to improve efficiencies, lower costs and expand production has triggered the Oil and Gas 4.0 era. The evolution is linked to the broader Industry 4.0, driven largely by the technology of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, namely artificial intelligence, big data, and the Internet of Things,” said Colin Chapman, president of Euro Petroleum Consultants.

Another trending technology in the region is oil to chemical technology. ME-TECH 2020 will once again cover this topic with an impressive line-up of experts and thought leaders.

The decade-long technology forum has kept pace with rapid changes affecting the industry and ensured continuous coverage of these changes through dedicated topics that allow delegates to learn about key technologies that can help them navigate through the changing and evolving downstream landscape efficiently.

For example, regional refining capacities have increased by more than 20 per cent, exceeding 9,700 kpbd in 2018. This has required a massive investment in digital transformation; a topic that has been covered in previous editions of ME-TECH. “Digital innovation is delivering unparalleled levels of progress and prosperity across the world as we enter a new age of opportunity and growth,” Chapman noted.

Audience at ME TECH 2019How has the ME-TECH forum managed to maintain its stature through the years?

In a fast-paced market, keeping abreast of such technology advances is challenging, but ME-TECH has always proved to be the essential platform to learn about the latest technology and trends. A critical factor dictating the continuous success of the ME-TECH forum to the local calendar has been the region’s downstream sector’s growing stature in the eyes of global technology suppliers, contractors and equipment manufacturers. Not only that but also the rich and diverse agenda it offers has played a critical role for the event to maintain its status.

The period when the event was first launched was an interesting time for the global economy in general and global refining in particular. After record-high refining margins in the mid-2000s, the industry experienced a serious drop in profitability as a result of the global challenges in 2008, which led to a decrease in capacity utilisation and rationalisation of refining in a number of regions, primarily in Europe. However, it was precisely at this time that the Middle East’s pivotal role in refining was formed, for balancing the global petroleum products market with an emphasis on meeting the growing demand for petroleum products in the Asia-Pacific region.

As refiners and petrochemical companies in the Middle East are also urged to accelerate their R&D efforts to tackle challenges facing the industry, ME-TECH has long been the place for those who are looking to boost investments in R&D. Not only for end-users but also for technology providers the event proved itself as the right place to promote latest technology breakthrough thanks to the quality of attendees who are ready to adopt latest technologies especially amid the exponential growth of the industry in the region.

“The past decade has been an exciting time for both the refining and petrochemicals sector and for Wood in the Middle East. ME-TECH has and continues to provide a perfect platform for us to discuss our breadth of downstream technology and consulting capabilities, and to hear about our regional customer’s current needs and challenges in a dynamic market,” said Steve Beeston vice-president – Technology Licensing, Wood. “Due to ME-TECH being a premier industry event, we have regularly used it to unveil many of our new process technologies, including this year’s event where we are launching our digitalised technical support service for delayed coking units,” he added.

New technology is needed, but the question is how to accelerate its emergence and deploy it at various facilities, either upstream or downstream. But most importantly for downstream producers is to define their priorities, both in what to develop and what to buy, this is why ME-TECH will remain a must-attend event, especially with the interactive sessions that allow delegates to interact with speakers and panellists, which makes their experience of attending the event fruitful.

"Over the last ten years, our industry has achieved resounding successes and at the same time faced multiple challenges. A key factor for its success and progress is the ability to access the right technologies, skilled and talented engineering contractors, state of the art hardware, creative consultants, learnings from operational excellence, safety and project management… And to get all these aspects, you need a platform to network with industry peers, this is what ME-TECH has proved to be the right place where all attendees network and exchange knowledge and expertise. My personal ME-TECH experience has been priceless. I go back to my work with more knowledge, inspired and with access to a larger network. I also had the opportunity to express my opinion and mentor others,” said Süleyman Özmen, managing director of 3P18 Independent Consultancy, and former vice-president of downstream licensing at Shell.

Alain Charles Publishing, University House, 11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place, London, SW1W 0EX, UK
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