Argus conference charts a course for sustainable pipeline development
The Argus Oil Pipeline Systems 2018: Focus on Sustainability conference was held on 17-18 May at the Corinthia Prague Hotel in the Czech capital. The International Association of Oil Transporters (IAOT) was the event’s general partner.
More than 100 participants from 15 countries — including Russia, China, Kazakhstan, the UK, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Germany and Belarus — gathered to discuss current trends and prospects for pipeline transportation and its role in stable crude supplies. Delegates included representatives of Russian pipeline operator Transneft, China’s Unipec, Croatian pipeline operator Janaf, the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, Kazakh pipeline operator Kaztransoil, oil field services firm Halliburton, Lotis, Belarusian pipeline operator Gomeltransneft Druzhba, Hungary’s Mol group, Ukrainian pipeline operator Ukrtransnafta, Slovakian pipeline operator Transpetrol, Czech pipeline operator Mero and many others.
IAOT Chairman Stanislav Bruna and Argus Senior Vice-President for Business Development William Harwood addressed the audience with welcoming remarks. They noted the importance of the event at a time of such economic and political challenges and wished the participants a fruitful conference. They also expressed the hope that the conference will become a key platform for market participants to discuss the big issues.
The first session was opened by a report from Argus Senior Editor Sean Cronin on the impact of the agreement by Opec and non-Opec members to cut crude production, and a global crude demand forecast for the years ahead.
Transneft Vice-President Sergei Andronov spoke about the quality of Russian crude and deliveries to Europe and Asia-Pacific. He said the key factors affecting the quality of crude in the trunk pipeline system are the diversion of sweet crude from western to eastern routes — as China takes more Russian crude — rising inputs of sour crude and a reduction in overall crude receipts, which has been a consequence of Russia signing up to the Opec and non-Opec output reduction agreement.
Unipec research and strategy director Wang Pei presented an overview of China’s refining industry. By her estimate, 35pc of global refining capacity is now concentrated in Asia, and this share is growing rapidly.
Janaf commercial director Vladislav Veselitsa and Mol trader Viktor Katona spoke about the changing role of pipeline transportation and the logistics of deliveries to central Europe.
At the second session, participants discussed innovation in crude and product pipeline infrastructure projects, as well as energy efficiency challenges.
Speakers shared their experiences in laying pipelines across difficult terrain and in regions with severe climates. Transneft Vice-President Pavel Revel-Muroz reported on solutions used in construction of Russia’s Zapolyarye-Purpe crude pipeline. And PetroChina’s Huang Zejun told delegates about the launch of the Yunnan pipeline, which has helped to overcome a crude shortage in southwest China.
The operation of pipeline infrastructure, quality of the crude delivered, and ways to extend pipelines’ service lives were among the topics discussed during the second part of the first conference day.
There were reports on measuring and computing tools for pipeline monitoring systems, the impact of composite materials on the quality of pipe products, and a panel discussion that focused on methods of detecting pipeline flaws and corrosion.
The first day ended with an evening reception, where guests enjoyed gourmet dishes and networked in an informal atmosphere.
The second day featured excursions to Unipetrol’s Kralupy refinery and to Mero’s Nelagozeves oil tank farm, one of the largest in central Europe. Delegates saw how the facilities were operated — including environmental controls — and learned about development plans for the coming years.
Argus thanks all the conference participants and partners — in particular Transneft and IAOT — for their support.