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A glance at the past and a peek at the future 

 A Message from Marlea Stockenberg, RefComm Senior Event Manager

Dear Refining Community,

What a year we have had! Crazy weather patterns, ping pong markets, a resurgence of COVID, and many other economic and personal stressors. But through all the craziness you have been with us, adding your voice to our platform, your presence to our events. And this is one of the many reasons the refining community is truly that– a community. Our industry is a tightly knit group of diverse and amazing people who look out for one another.

It feels very much like a family to me. 

In fact, that was the entire point of our business– the very reason my father, Gary Pitman, started the Refining Community 24 years ago. He recognized a need to connect the operators, refiners, engineers, and refinery managers who were often working isolated in their units with little to no outside contact. He wanted to provide a platform for these folks to share information, troubleshooting solutions, and best practices, as well as ask questions, network, and make lifelong friends. 

As I look back on the events this year that have shaped the oil and gas industry and our community within it, there is a lot that happened. Unfortunately, one of the recurring themes of the past year was incidents in the refinery. As much as we would love to see accidents and fires completely disappear from the units– these events still do occur. 

There are many ways to minimize risk and reduce the number of accidents and we have a wealth of resources on our website that cover those topics. We ran an oldie but goodie from Gary in the Refining Community newsletter on the importance of fire safety in the unit. In it he talks about fire extinguisher awareness and how Management of Change (MOC) can save lives in the unit. 

Neal Cammy from BLAC INC. gave a presentation at RefComm Galveston 2023 on the Husky Superior Explosion. You can read his full PDF presentation on this topic here. A few years ago while we were all locked down for COVID, Jim Thompson discussed in a video presentation the Equilon Refinery Coking Plant Accident and safety in engineering. 

Martha Smith from ZymeFlow explored safety and speed in a past RefComm presentation that examined best practices for preparing vessels for entry, the most problematic contaminants, and a Latin American refinery case study. Click here to read and download her full PDF PowerPoint for this presentation.  

But enough about the past. Let’s talk about the exciting things we have in store for you next year! As many of you know, we relaunched our Refining Community initiative. As part of this initiative, we provide free webinars, a monthly e-newsletter, and a website full of meaty content. Our goal is to offer our colleagues innovative solutions to the challenges that plague their units, share information about the latest in new technology and best practices, and help connect our vibrant global community. 

We will continue to ramp up the offerings as part of our Refining Community. And of course, there’s our flagship baby, RefComm Galveston. The 2023 event broke all records and the momentum we are seeing around the 2024 event indicates it will continue its upward ascent. Our 2024 event will have 50+ technical presentations, breakouts, Q&A, panel discussions, two days of intensive training for DCU operators and a brand new training session for sulfur personnel. In addition there will be nearly 90 exhibitors in our expo hall, tons of networking opportunities, and of course, the best conference food you’ve ever had. 

We are also going to Barcelona in November for our RefComm EU conference– los veré a todos allí! The CRU Sulphur + Sulphuric Acid Conference will be co-located with our RefComm Barcelona event– so double the offerings and twice the fun! And the best part is that one conference price gets you admission to everything at both events. 

We could not have grown into the organization that we have become without you– our dear refiners and vendors. So a hearty thank you for all your support and participation in our events. I wish you a Happy Holiday season and look forward to seeing you in the new year!

Wishing you safety and profitability in the new year,

– Marlea

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Refining Community