Thursday 9 November 2017

EPC Moscow Week 2017 - Recap

One of the most anticipated events for the Russian & CIS refining and petrochemical industries – the Moscow Refining, Gas & Petrochemicals Week, organised by Euro Petroleum Consultants (ЕРС) took place on 18-22 September 2017. Moscow Week includes three conferences:

GTCC – 2nd Russia & CIS Gas to Chemicals Conference & Exhibition
RPTC – 16th Russia & CIS Petrochemicals Technology Conference & Exhibition
RRTC – 17th Russia & CIS Refining Technology Conference & Exhibition

EPC has organised market leading conferences for the past 17 years, their events have gained an enviable reputation, providing a unique platform for networking and in-depth discussion on the most important issues and challenges that face the oil and gas industry.

Colin Chapman, EPC President, gave the opening speech at Moscow Week.  “We live in a rapidly changing world, and access to the latest international developments in the field of production technologies is an indispensable condition for successful operation and business development ", said Mr. Chapman.


The main theme of the GTCC conference was the various ways to monetise Russian gas, including its preparation and conversion to ammonia, urea, methanol, olefins and liquid fuels.

Elena Shpinel, EPC Business Development Director presented an overview of the impacts on the Russian gas market and gas conversion to chemical products over the past year: she reviewed trends influencing export of Russian gas, export projects updates, and analysed rates of gas production and supply to the local market. Elena also focused on the new ammonia and methanol production projects, and gave a status update on current projects.

The first GTCC session continued with presentations from Gazpromneft Scientific and Research Center and EuroChem discussing new production lines and technologies. Artem Vlasov, Senior R&D Expert, Department of Gas Business Development Project Support, presented information on Gazprom Neft’s gas business technology classification. An insightful round table discussion brought together the producers - Gazpromneft SRC, EuroChem, Lukoil, the research institutes – NIIK “Design and Research Institute of Urea and Organic Synthesis Products”, and the licensors - Haldor Topsoe and Honeywell UOP.

Linde’s presentation by Danil Efremov, Business Development Director of petrochemical plants in Russia and the former USSR countries, spoke about the revolutionary technology of natural gas conversion to ethylene - methane oxidative dimerization, developed by Siluria Technologies - this generated a lot of interesting discussion amongst the conference delegates.   

Also during the first day, representatives of foreign licensors - CB&I, Haldor Topsoe, KBR, Stamicarbon and Linde covered gas treatment technologies and gas monetisation via conversion to ammonia and fertilisers.   

The final session of the day included speakers from Uralchem, NIIK and Stamicarbon presenting updates on current and future gas processing projects as well as joint projects with the above companies, resulting in an excellent exchange of views.

Projects and technologies for conversion gas to methanol, as well as a review of the methanol global market, were the main topics of GTCC’s second day. The speakers included SOCAR Methanol, ILF, Honeywell UOP, Haldor Topsoe, Methanol Institute and S&P Global Platts.

There was high interest in the presentation from Vladimir Mishin, Honeywell UOP Senior Regional Manager, which covered solutions for increasing efficiency in gas monetisation using the Methanol to Olefins technology.


The 16th Russia & CIS Petrochemicals Technology Conference & Exhibition followed after the end of GTCC, focusing on industry developments and important projects.  Technology reviews and market forecasts were presented along with production of olefins, polyolefins, aromatics, and current issues associated with the integration of refining and petrochemical industries.  

The conference was opened by Ekaterina Kalinenko, EPC Project Director, who presented a comprehensive review of development opportunities in the Russian petrochemical industry.

Ksenia Karetina, Head of the Analytical Center, SIBUR, gave her thoughts on the recent disruption in correlation between oil price and global economic growth, resulting in environmental issues becoming a significant new trend. Ms. Karetina also discussed the status of the Zapsib-2 Project, showing a video on its construction progress.

IHS Markit representatives' presentations are always a highlight at EPC conferences. This year, Mr. Stevenson, Managing Director of Chemical Consulting, gave food for thought to the delegates by sharing ways to overcome the new and rapidly changing challenges affecting the petrochemicals industry.

Representatives of EPC, UOP and Schneider Electric took part in the session devoted to the important and current topic of refining and petrochemical integration.  Valentin Kotlomin, EPC Director, Strategic Studies & Downstream Economics said: "Oil refiners around the world understand the importance of building a sustainable business that is maximally protected from price fluctuations and falling demand for fuel products and the integration into petrochemical production is a natural, appropriate step to achieve the above".

Day One of RPTC ended with a cocktail reception sponsored by ExxonMobil where the delegates enjoyed a panoramic view of Moscow by night and took full advantage of the networking in a relaxed and social atmosphere.

Day Two began with a review of petrochemical projects in the region; representatives of EPC, LUKOIL-Nizhegorodniinefteproekt and Acryl Salavat shared progress updates. 

The last presentation of the conference is worthy of a special mention.  Viktor Seredinin, Director of Acryl Salavat, shared his knowledge and expertise in the construction of the acrylic acid production complex at Salavat, Republic of Bashkortostan.    

Linde, KBR, CRI Catalyst, Sinopec, Borealis, CB&I Novolen, GTC Technology and Axens gave presentations covering the latest developments in the production of olefins, polyolefins and aromatics.


Traditionally the most popular event of the Week is RRTC and this year was no exception. The 17th Russia & CIS Refining Technology Conference & Exhibition gathered representatives from leading producers Titan, Afipsky Refinery, Gazprom Dobycha Astrakhan, Sibur, Lukoil, Mozyr Refinery, Taneco, Ukranafta and subsidiaries of Rosneft and Gazprom neft.  

EPC, Nexant and EY gave presentations on important industry and market development trends. Gazprom neft and Rosneft-Novokuibyshevsk Refinery presented a review of major modernisation projects in Russia & CIS.  Axens and Gazprom Dobycha Astrakhan gave a joint case study presentation on the Astrakhan Gas Plant Isomerisation project.

2017 was declared a year of Ecology in Russia, therefore special focus was given at the event to the production of clean fuels as well as the post 2020 impact on oil product demand after the implementation of the bunker fuel quality regulation. Speakers from Rosneft, Shell Global Solutions, EPC and the independent international price agency Argus shared their thoughts on the subject. Andrey Gorodov, Deputy Head of Technologies and Production Development Division, Rosneft, discussed their approach to production and marketing of bunker fuels providing useful insight into how a producer is dealing with these current challenges.

GTC Technology, KBR, Shell Global Solutions highlighted the opportunities to be found through refining and petrochemicals integration.   Specialists from Haldor Topsoe, Albemarle Catalysts, SIE Neftehim and Porocel discussed the latest refining catalyst developments – this important topic will be covered in-depth at the Russia & CIS Catalyst Technology Conference – RU-CAT.  This event is also organised by EPC (Moscow, April 2018), and will give catalyst suppliers, licensors, contractors, service providers and operating companies the perfect platform to learn about the latest developments in this part of the sector.

Alexander Shakun, General Director of SIE Neftehim, gave an outstanding speech on the modern gasoline quality requirements and ways to meet them, including the innovative C7 fraction isomerisation technology.

The next session, was full of industry innovations from licensors offering alkylation technologies - KBR, Dow, DuPont and CB&I.  Recently we have witnessed real technological breakthroughs in this area with the introduction of processes using solid catalysts, as well as ion-exchange fluids instead of traditional catalysts such as sulfuric acid and hydrofluoric acid.

EPC, WIKA Gayesco and Kelvion Thermal Solutions participated in the final session focused on equipment review. Bob Poteet, Director of Technology, WIKA Gayesco, shared methods to ensure reliable and safe operation of fixed-bed reactors via temperature control.

Moscow Week attracted 350+ attendees with 50% of the delegates being from Gas Processing Plants, Oil Companies, Petrochemical Complexes and Refiners. The event was sponsored by Albemarle, Axens, CRI Catalyst, Criterion Catalysts & Technologies, Fobos, ExxonMobil, UOP, and Shell Global Solutions. Cocktail receptions, coffee breaks and lunches provided the delegates with many networking opportunities to establish new contacts, reconnect with existing business associates and discuss shared experience.

EPC is a leading, well-established, independent consulting company covering the oil, gas and petrochemical sectors, as well as producing a series of specialised, high quality, international conferences and training seminars focusing on market trends, technological advances and business strategies for the petroleum industry.

The latest information about EPC events including the 4th Operational Excellence in Oil and Gas Production, Refining and Petrochemicals Conference and Exhibition (14th & 15th November 2017, Sochi) can be found at

Written by: Olga Solovyova, Conference Manager, Euro Petroleum Consultants

Originally published by Neftegaz.Ru
View the Russian version: 

Monday 30 October 2017

How are you preparing for MARPOL?

With the deadline looming for the implementation of the bunker fuel regulations, it is imperative for both the refining and shipping industry to work towards compliance for 2020.  The refining industry will need to convert around 150mte of residue to 0.50 mass % sulphur having a massive impact on refinery configuration and operations.

To reach compliance, substantial investment in upgrading fuel oil residues to gasoil grades will be needed, however  there are alternatives such as:

▪ Reduction of residue production through changes in crude slate
▪ Residue destruction (i.e. not produce fuel)
▪ Desulphurisation of residues and blend with low sulphur gasoils

Whilst any regulatory compliance always provides challenges, it can also offer many opportunities.
BBTC MENA 2017 – Bottom of the Barrel Technology Conference taking place in Bahrain on 4 & 5 December, will provide a platform for our esteemed panellists and speakers to discuss the above points as well as the potential international and regional impact on margins and crude prices. 

Don’t miss your opportunity to gain valuable information that will aid in preparing your action plan and implementation for compliance over the next two years.

Bottom of the Barrel Technology Conference
Optimum Technology Solutions for Residue Upgrading
4 & 5 December | Four Seasons Hotel, Bahrain

Launched 17 years ago, this well-established event is rich in technical content, providing a forum to learn about the latest developments from the leading technology and catalyst providers.  Additionally, it will provide an excellent networking opportunity for refinery management, refining specialists, technical advisors, operations and process engineers to interact, exchanging experiences and sharing common challenges and solutions.  BBTC continues to be the only event that focuses on technologies, project trends, catalysts and equipment innovations for residue upgrading in refineries around the world.

For more information, please visit or email the organisers at

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Cooperation between EPC and Orsk Refinery

Euro Petroleum Consultants (EPC) have been appointed as technical consultants by Orsk Refinery, a 6.6 million tpy independent refinery located in the Volga Federal District of Russia, near the border with Kazakhstan. The refinery is now at an advanced stage in its development programme and one of the core production facilities under construction is a VGO Hydrocracking Complex. EPC's experts provide support to the refinery in various fields, including control of welding quality for high-pressure pipelines. Below please find an article regarding the cooperation between EPC and Orsk Refinery which was published in the refinery's internal newsletter.   

EPC specialists inspect internal side of the welded joint 
By Anastasiya Polyakova

The Hydrocracking Complex at Orsk Refinery includes kilometers of high-pressure (HP) pipelines. The integrity and quality of the pipelines’ connections will determine the operation of the overall Complex. The pipelines’ welding is being monitored by Euro Petroleum Consultants using a special technology.

Euro Petroleum Consultants (ЕРС) are the technical consultants for PJSC “Orsknefteorgsintez”. They provide assistance in monitoring implementation progress of the main projects within the Orsk Refinery development programme. One of the main types of work at the Hydrocracking Complex is the quality inspection of welded joints at HP pipelines.

As Igor Sosnovets, EPC Project Manager, puts it: “These pipelines are crucial as they will transport high temperature products under high pressure. Moreover, the pipelines of the Hydrocracking Complex are manufactured using a special technology, and welded joints are performed in accordance with ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) standards. That is why we invited certified foreign partners – Gerard Nobin, Peter Frost and Ashton Gaskell – to inspect the quality of the welded joints. Russia simply lacks specialists of such qualification. This should not be interpreted as EPC mistrusting local specialists, but rather as additional supervision by higher qualified specialists experienced in implementing such large-scale projects worldwide.”

There are many methods to monitor welded joints, and they all differ in operating principle, efficiency and equipment. For extra precision EPC specialists employ several methods at a time. Each check of the welded joint starts with a visual inspection, this allows detection not only of external defects, but also some internal ones, for example, difference in height and width along the joint, cracks, irregular weld shape, etc. Additional lighting, metering equipment, mirrors and camera are also used during inspection. Cameras enable specialists to zoom in on an image for display on a special screen, thus ensuring thorough inspection of the pipeline’s internal surface.

However only some of the possible defects can be identified by means of visual inspection. Some hidden defects are deep inside the weld, others are so small that they can only be detected with the help of special instruments. Therefore, at Orsk Refinery the inspectors apply one of the most efficient testing methods – radiographic testing (RT). RT’s operating principle is similar to that of taking medical X-ray images. Subjected to X-rays, any inclusions, cracks and the smallest of defects affect the amount of radiation received by radiographic film. The advantages of RT are in maximising accuracy, prompt detection of various discrepancies – not just the mere existence but also the location of such discrepancies even when they are in the least accessible areas.

Seventy-four specially trained welders are currently working at HP pipelines, each has his own signature line, work experience and weld style, therefore, each welded joint must undergo inspection. Moreover, one joint 400 mm in diameter is welded by a pair of welders for around 20 hours, with the number of welded joints totaling 4921. This figure only includes the joints that are part of HP loop. It is the clearly defined schedule that helps the EPC specialists to cope with such a vast scope of work.

In the words of Igor Sosnovets: “Every morning JSC “Promfinstroy” employees file requests for visual inspection of the welded joints. They bring X-ray images of pipes welded during the previous day and night shift. We use this as the basis for our planning, while one specialist interprets the images the other two go to the construction site to visually inspect internal and external sides of the welded joint. After the work day is over we conduct a meeting to summarise the results. In addition, for better monitoring of the process, we enter daily the work progress report into the computer making it easier to control the process in general.

The work of EPC specialists directly depends on the welders, all inspections are currently performed according to the schedule and “Promfinstroy” employees take note of every recommendation so as to avoid future mistakes and faults.”

To sum up, Igor Sosnovets says: “The welded joints inspectors should follow the job from the initial stage all the way through to its completion. In other words, the one who starts the job should be there to finish it. That is why we will stay at the Refinery until all the welding work on HP pipelines is completed.”

Source: Orsk Refinery Newspaper (Aug 2017, p4)
Author: Anastasiya Polyakova

Monday 9 October 2017

How Good are Your Presentation Skills?

Presenting effectively is a skill that needs to be learned and practiced. Very few people are born with the natural ability to deliver effectively. Enjoy it or not, it is part of daily business. For those of us who were not born with natural eloquence, especially in languages which are not our native tone, public speaking can be difficult in the beginning. However, with enough planning, preparing, and practicing, one can become as effective as anyone. Here are are a few simple tips I can share based on my experience.

Connect with your audience in the opening
Call your audience’s attention by asking the audience a question, giving a challenge, referring a key point from previous speaker, connecting with today's news to put your presentation in a context that the audience care. Humors and stories can and often fall flat with international audience. We all love to laugh, just not always about the same things.

Have an agenda so that the audience can follow
As your presentation progresses, keep referring back to your initial agenda by using highlights to show where you are up to. Otherwise, use appropriate transition to remind audience where you are in the flow and where you are going.

Give your conclusion first
Your audience will appreciate knowing at the beginning your key conclusions. The rest of the presentation is to validate your conclusions. 

Focus on your audience, not yourself
If you are talking about your product, your wonderful technology, start the conversation by imagining you are in the audience’s shoes and describing the issues or problems he or she has to deal with before you present your solution. Otherwise, half of the audience may have no clue what problems you are trying to solve.

Keep your slides simple - make one key point each slide
Human tendency is to have more, not less. For slides, less is more. Use short phrases, use charts, pictures. Use animation only if absolutely necessary. After you think you have cut enough words out of the slides, cut another twenty percent.

Know your stuff so you can be yourself
The best way to sound like you know what you are talking about is to know what you are talking about. Get to know your topic well and use the slides only as cue for your presentation. Remind yourself the two or three key messages you really wants to emphasize and repeat them.

Answer questions
If there is a question during presentation, give a brief answer. Do not worry that you are going to run out of time by answering a question. Take the opportunity to engage the audience and lead the conversation to one of the messages you want to convey if make sense.

Prepare a question for yourself
It can be awkward if no one is asking questions in the end of your presentation. You can always ask yourself a rhetorical or hypothetical question to warm up the audience. Once started, you will generally have more questions coming.

Develop a contingency plan

Things do not always go as planned. Keep a backup copy and a paper copy of your slides. Come with a plan for presentation by assuming you will have no projections for the first five minutes so that you do not get into a panic mode when faced with technical difficulties. You might be pleasantly surprised to find out that it is not a bad idea to start presentation without the slides for the first few minutes after all.

Finally, relax and be calm. Take a deep breath or slow down if you need to. Be confident and enjoy.

Written by:
Xinjin Zhao
Venture Executive, ExxonMobil

Sunday 24 September 2017

Masterclass and Strategic Management in Petrochemicals

Euro Petroleum Consultants in association with eminent petrochemicals expert Aman Amanpour, is pleased to announce our leading seminar, Masterclass and Strategic Management in Petrochemicals taking place on 19-21 November in Dubai. This course is designed for professionals in the petrochemicals industry, senior managers who need a big picture refresher, as well as for investors, regulators and suppliers.

As a seminar teaser, we asked Aman about his insights on the petrochemicals industry in the Middle East. 

2017: Middle East Petrochemicals in the Global Context

Last year I provided the analysis: Global Petrochemicals: How the Scene has Changed? Why? What to come Next? While the depicted forces and trends are still at work, I’d like today to provide some specific remarks, focusing on the Middle East Petrochemicals in the global context.

The region as a whole has moved on within the tension filed of socio-political forces, economic challenges, conflicts, alliances and competition. Our industry has been impacted by continued level of subdued oil prices, flatter cost curves hence more fierce global competition, threat of global oversupply (US shale) and self-sufficiency (China), change in trade patterns, scarcity of gaseous feedstock (except Iran) and the resultant urge for new business models.

Integration, innovation, consolidations, enhancing the quality and effectiveness of human capital, revisiting (cancelling, delaying, re-scoping) of some planned investment projects, increasing global footprints by more international alliances and M&As … are visible trends among many players as some necessary responses. These, in the face of deteriorating some of the conducive conditions (e.g. feedstock price and availability, other current incentives), looming overcapacity / down-cycle, emerging trade dynamics after the demise of TPP and TITIP / new wave of protectionism …

These are sure necessary responses. But are they also sufficient considering mega-trends in general and the game changing factors in (petro)chemicals discussed in my previous analysis in particular ? It depends, I would say. It depends on how some of these measures are defined, translated into clear objectives and implemented successfully.

Let me take just four of these responses: Integration and its links with: Consolidation, as well as Innovation and its key requirement: Human Capital.