The 54th Annual Meeting of the European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) will be held on 5–7 October 2020, and for the first time, it will be virtual.
PCA acts as the primary business network in Europe for the global petrochemical community, bringing together more than 700 companies from more than 50 countries. Its annual meeting is the largest petrochemical industry event in Europe, and would normally attract around 2,500 attendees. While the global COVID-19 pandemic means the event cannot physically take place, organisers are still planning a virtual event, Beyond the New Normal, on the theme ‘Building a smarter, circular and more inclusive post-pandemic world: Contributions of the petrochemical industry.’ The event is free of charge for delegates of EPCA companies that paid their 2020 membership fees.
EPCA president and chief operating officer of Arkema, Marc Schuller, says that the discussion will take a wide-ranging look at how the COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping the global petrochemical industry, focusing on the key political, economic and social issues and their effects on Europe and its trading partners, as well as what happens beyond the current crisis mode.
‘Our first virtual conference will therefore reinforce the role of EPCA’s Annual Meeting as a unique international platform. It will highlight the next steps for our industry’s transformation journey, focused on making our planet a better place and our societies more inclusive,’ he adds.
Confirmed speakers include Martin Brudermüller, chairman and chief technology officer of BASF, Jim Fitterling, chairman and CEO of Dow, Thomas Casparie, president of Shell Chemicals, Bernard Pinatel, president, refining and chemicals, Total, Peter Hinssen, co-founder and partner of nexxworks, Gina Fyffe, CEO of Integra Petrochemicals, Jan Arnet, CEO of Bertschi, and Christian Kohlpaintner, CEO of Brenntag.
On day one, entitled Navigating Towards Future, Brudermüller, Fitterling, Casparie, and Pinatel will share their insights into the ‘new normal’ economy and the path towards stronger and smarter re-emergence for the petrochemical industry, following the COVID-19 pandemic, including possible strategies and interventions that might be necessary, balancing demand growth with carbon management and complex global trade relations.
On day two, entitled Standing Strong, Moving Fast, a panel will look at the future of logistics and how the petrochemical supply chain is reinventing itself to overcome the challenges wrought by the pandemic and ensure grown and innovation. The panel will include a logistic services provider, a chemical distributor and a trader.
Fyffe, Arnet and Kohlpaintner will each offer their insights from industry. The keynote speech will be given by Hinsson. The session will also provide an opportunity to highlight technological developments and opportunities for logistics services providers.
Day three, entitled Sharing New Perspectives, will focus on the trends shaping China’s post-pandemic recovery, particularly in the energy sector, and look at a new understanding of the post-COVID outlook for global cooperation.
Lin Boqiang, distinguished professor and dean of the China Institute for Studies in Energy Policy at the School of Management of Xiamen University, China, will give the virtual keynote speech. Lin primarily researches energy economics and energy policy.
‘The event will showcase EPCA’s own innovative push – a brand new community app and virtual event format will open a new phase in our digital expansion. The latest developments from our programmes, from sustainability and leadership to supply chain and logistics, will highlight our growing role as Europe’s leading ideas marketplace for the global petrochemical community,’ says EPCA CEO Caroline Ciuciu.
The app, for member companies, their representatives and event delegates, is designed to aid interaction and network building. Member companies will be able to suggest relevant stories on new technologies, innovative projects and best practices to appear on the app’s newsfeed, subject to approval. Users will be able to integrate the app with their LinkedIn account, connect to other Annual Meeting delegates, watch videos and download presentations from the 53rd Annual Meeting, and bookmark their favourite sessions.
An updated version of the app to be released in September 2020 will include the Annual Meeting programme and related materials.
‘It’s been, undoubtedly and unprecedentedly, a challenging year for the petrochemical sector – and there is still much uncertainty. But the crisis has highlighted the significance, vitality and resilience of our industry, and that’s something to celebrate at this year’s EPCA Annual Meeting. The pandemic augmented and accelerated the need for creativity and innovation, and that will be high on our agenda this year,’ says Ciuciu.