From its centuries-long membership in the Hanseatic League to its current status as a center for Europe's aviation, automobile and food processing industries, Bremen, Germany has long drawn businessmen and industrialists as a gateway to trade routes. Next week, high-level leaders affiliated with the global downstream industry will converge on the historic city in northwestern Germany to explore the future of Europe's refining sector.
"Now more than ever companies are looking to improve the cost base of their assets and are focusing on efficiency—both energy and process—whilst not neglecting safety, reliability and sustainability," said Orhan Genis, Vice President of Sales and Business Development for the EMEA region with Genisis Honeywell Process Solutions.
Genis will be one of several dozen executives and senior-level technical officials at GDS International's Next Generation Downstream Summit Europe, which will take place December 12-14 at Bremen's five-star Park Hotel. DownstreamToday is serving as the exclusive media partner for the event.
Major challenges facing European refiners include lower demand, stricter regulations, and the need to consolidate operations amid stiff resistance from governments and labor unions while competing against new market players. The summit will give delegates the opportunity to engage with fellow industry leaders through analyst-led roundtable and panel discussions that will feature moderated dialogue on major industry issues. The event will actively encourage questions from the floor, and delegates will enjoy ample opportunities for one-on-one meetings.
Industry leaders who are on the event's delegate roster include the Secretary General of the European Petroleum Industry Association, the Senior Vice President of Refining Planning with Eni, the general managers of two Petroplus refineries, the General Manager of Petrochemicals with Total and many others. Analysts from Purvin & Gertz, the United Kingdom Petroleum Industry Association and the European Commission will provide their insights throughout the summit. Although the focus of the summit will be Europe's refining sector, delegates will represent major industry players with operations in the U.S., Mideast, Russia, Asia and, of course, Europe.
Recognizing delegates' desire to remain focused on the most pressing downstream strategy and technology demands, GDS has assembled a select group of sponsors to participate in the event. In addition to Honeywell, sponsors will include vendors such as Nalco, Man Oil Group, M-I SWACO, Emerson Process Management and Stork Technical Services.
"At Nalco we understand that downstream operations are more challenging than ever," said Jim Chew, General Manager Energy Services Downstream Europe Russia Africa with Nalco Gulf Dubai. "The growing demand for cheap, clean and abundant energy is putting pressure on operations like never before. Add to that the regional challenges we face in the Eurozone and it is clear that refiners must have control of their Total Cost of Operation (TCO)."
Chew said that his company offers European refiners "years of valuable expertise in delivering best practices." Moreover, he said that Nalco stands ready to assist in the design stages of new projects as the market shifts to the East. The company will showcase two recent innovations, Crude Unit Automation and Refined Knowledge, at the event. However, he was quick to add that the gathering in Bremen is about something other than securing market share for Nalco.
"It is a valuable opportunity to interact with leaders in the downstream market and better understand their needs so that Nalco can continue to drive innovation and the delivery of consistent, reproducible results," Chew said.
Another sponsoring company, Stork Technical Services, focuses on helping operators optimize their asset management.
"We have developed contracting models which are supportive to optimize maintenance programs and manage an efficient execution of turnarounds and maintenance," said Mark Dassan, Vice President Sales & Marketing with Stork. "Based on these models, using our huge, highly specialized and flexible workforce we can support in optimize uptime and costs."
Giles Goldsbro, CEO of Alphatec Engineering (Europe) Ltd., looks forward to playing a role in the high-level event.
"The area we work in is so small compared with the enormous sums spent on building and maintaining huge industrial structures like refineries, that we need all the exposure we can get," said Goldsbro, whose company specializes in repairing, re-grouting and re-aligning foundations for rotating machinery.
"Many of Europe's refineries are quite old, and the problems that we address are widespread, so the more business we get, the better for the industry in general," Goldsbro added.
In Genis' view, the summit in the historic port city will serve as an exceptional opportunity for key decision-makers to navigate the proverbial rough seas in which the refining sector finds itself.
"We all face the same economic constraints and only by sharing knowledge at events such as the Next Generation Downstream Summit can the industry continue to evolve and survive," concluded Genis.
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