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MEPEC to look at latest technical advancements


The Chairman of MEPEC 2011 Technical Committee, Dr Halim Hamid Redhwi, spoke to Oil Review about the importance of the Middle East’s first process engineering event and how it will provide a unique and in-depth insight into all aspects of the chemical processing sector.


Oil Review: What is the significance of hosting the first Middle East Process Engineering Conference and Exhibition?

Dr. Redhwi: The Middle East is the growing hub of process engineering related hydrocarbon industries. This will cover the full spectrum of process engineering related oil, gas, and petrochemical industries. The significant oil refining industry is marked in Middle East by more than 42 refining units having capacity of about 8 million bpd, whereas the global refining capacity is expected to grow more than 100 million bpd by 2020. The Middle East Process Engineering Conference and Exhibition is the only event that focuses on the process engineering. The conference will expose the audience with newer process engineering technologies related to increased efficiencies and environmental concerns.

Oil Review: What is the main purpose of the event?

Dr. Redhwi: The purpose of MEPEC is to bring together the regional and international experts in the field of process engineering and expose them to the challenges and opportunities in this field.

Oil Review: What expertise and knowledge can the two organisers of the event bring?

Dr. Redhwi: MEPEC 2011 is organized by the Saudi Arabian Section of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (SAS-AIChE) and the Bahrain Society of Engineers (BSE) supported by AIChE. The Saudi Arabian Section of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (SAS-AIChE) is a professional society that provides a forum for the advancement of the theory and practice of the Chemical Engineering profession. SAS-AIChE has been instrumental in bringing together chemical engineers and other professional on a common platform and encouraging dialogues & discussions by holding regular technical meetings. Hence, SAS-AIChE brings its knowledge of the industry’s technical issues and solutions that it has gained through interactions and discussions. At the same time, SAS-AIChE’s vast resource of chemical engineering professionals from all around the globe adds great value.

The Bahrain Society of Engineers (BSE) is a national society that represents the engineering professionals from all disciplines and takes the lead in the advancement of the profession. It strives for excellence as a leading Engineering Professional entity being respected and recognized for commitment to the profession, members and the community. BSE brings a vast experience and knowledge in organizing technical and engineering conferences, exhibitions and workshops.

Oil Review: What has been the response to submitting technical papers so far? What has been the quality of the papers that have been submitted?

Dr. Redhwi: MEPEC ‘Call for Abstracts’ received an overwhelming response from both the industry and academia. As a result, more than 200 abstracts from around 20 different countries were received.  Most of the abstracts had high technical content and were relevant to the Conference topics.  However, due to the limited number of slots available for technical presentations during the conference, those abstracts with high technical content that could not be short-listed to deliver as a presentation have been selected for poster sessions.

Oil Review: How many papers have been accepted? What was the criteria for accepting a paper?

Dr. Redhwi: As mentioned above, due to the high technical content of the abstracts and the limited number of slots for presentations. MEPEC has considered abstracts for poster sessions in addition to the technical presentations. In total, over 150 abstracts have been selected for presentations and poster sessions. The major criteria for selection of abstracts are the technical level of the paper along with its relevance to the conference topics.

Oil Review: Were the technical papers chosen by a special committee?

Dr. Redhwi: Yes, the papers were selected by a Technical Committee comprising of individuals from both the industry as well as academia. The Technical Committee consisted of 15 individuals with ample knowledge in the field of process engineering from different parts of the world.

Oil Review: Do the papers cover a range of topics?  Will the papers cover projects around the world or will they be region specific

Dr. Redhwi: Yes, the papers will cover projects in the filed of process engineering from all around the world.

Oil Review: How have you made sure you have a wide and varied selection of technical papers?

Dr. Redhwi: The call for abstract was send to about 400 industrial and academic experts and an excellent spread of abstract were evaluated by an expert team from the MEPEC technical committee.

Oil Review: Have you divided the number of papers equally between the six major themes?

Dr. Redhwi: Yes, the number of papers have been divided between the six conference topics as per the technical program of the conference.

Oil Review: How did you decided on the six themes?  Could you elaborate on the six themes a bit?

Dr. Redhwi: The selected six themes were identified on the basis of existing process engineering field and the new advances that are taking place. The themes are – Troubleshooting, Debottlenecking and Capacity Increase; Process Modelling and Optimization; Supply Chain Optimization; Performance Management; Quality Improvements and Green Processing and Sustainability.

Oil Review: One of the themes focuses on Green Processing and Sustainability – how important is this to the industry?

Dr. Redhwi: Environmental concerns are one of the significant directions in process engineering industries. To strike a balance between industrial profitability, environmental friendly processes, and efficiency demands challenging innovative technologies requiring exhaustive R&D efforts. Green processing and sustainability of process engineering units will address this imperative.

Oil Review: Have you decided on the Technical Program for MEPEC yet?

Dr. Redhwi: Yes, the technical program is ready. However, considering the dynamics of the paper submissions we anticipate minor changes. The plan is to have world renowned 6 industrial Plenary Speakers and 12 Keynote speakers. The program includes 75 presentations and 60 posters from global experts from industry and academics. The conference also includes 4 pre-conference workshops.

Oil Review: What are the most innovative solutions being presented in the papers?

Dr. Redhwi: The most innovative solutions presented in the papers are related to increased efficiency, green processing and sustainability.

Oil Review: What have been the biggest technical advances in the industry in recent years? Will these seen in the papers?

Dr. Redhwi: Some of the biggest technical advances in the field of process engineering in recent years are improved performance (i.e., greater efficiency) and reduced emissions (i.e., green processing and sustainability). Both these technical advances feature prominently in the papers submitted in the conference. The process simulation, modelling, and optimisation techniques are also one of the biggest technical advances.

Oil Review: What will be the set up of the conference be? Will it be divided up between key note speeches and technical sessions?

Dr. Redhwi: The basic set up of the conference will consist of key note speeches during the morning followed by technical plenary sessions both in the morning as well as afternoon. Both the plenary sessions will contain 3 parallel sessions on 3 different conference topics.

Oil Review: Will the conference be as interactive as possible?

Dr. Redhwi: Yes, the whole idea of the conference is to bring together the Operators, Owners, Technology Licensors, Service Providers and Educational Institutions (Academia) under one roof and create synergies and opportunities for interactive discussions.

Oil Review: What do you hope delegates and participants will get out of such a technically focused event?

Dr. Redhwi: We hope that the delegates and participants will walk away with better understanding of the industry’s positioning, challenges, solutions and opportunities in process engineering. An excellent opportunity of networking will be provided that can result in major business opportunities for technology providers to the growing Middle East process engineering industries.

Dr Halim Hamid Redhwi - Ph.D. Vice President (A) Dhahran Techno-Valley Company (DTVC), Professor Chemical Engineering Department King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM)