With a focus on PVF (pipes, valves, fittings) the conference brought together experts from Brail and around the world to exchange knowledge and experience, whilst the exhibition showcased products and services from the valve and corrosion resistant alloy (CRA) industries. Hosting an event for the first time can be a challenge but by the end of day two the results were in: this was an event to be remembered, and repeated!
Rio de Janeiro is the heart of the massive Brazilian oil & gas industry, and is therefore the ideal location for a gathering of experts and suppliers in the field. The fact that it’s a beautiful city surrounded by white sand beaches and forest clad mountains adds to the charm, and the delegates and visitors were able to appreciate this sun-drenched location in the networking breaks.
Organized by KCI Publishing, the company behind Stainless Steel World and Valve World publications and events, this first Flow Control Exchange was a combined valve/CRA event hosted with the cooperation of Petrobras, Brazil’s national oil and gas company.
Strong conference program
The Conference Chairman was Mr. Euthymios J. Euthymiou, Senior Consultant at Petrobras and a widely recognized and respected expert in valve technology. Mr Euthymiou played a pivotal role in putting the conference program together, and was joined by over 60 Petrobras colleagues throughout the 2-day event. Well over 200 delegates packed the conference rooms, and many major end users such as Braskem, Cosan, FMC, Shell, Fluor and more were among the delegates.
An Advisory Board comprising experts from end users, sponsors and key suppliers to the industry assisted the Chairman to put together a conference program which was equally divided between valves & actuation, and steel & corrosion sessions.
The knowledge exchange
Both days of the conference kicked off with plenary sessions covering issues important to both the Brazilian and international markets.
Mr. Luiz Marcelo Martins Almeida, Department Manager for the Oil & Gas Supply Chain at Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) gave an overview of the Brazilian market and outlined challenges and opportunities for the coming decade. BNDES is a 100% State-owned company under private law and is a key instrument for the implementation of the Federal Government’s industrial and infrastructure policies. As the main provider of long-term financing in Brazil, the Bank supports micro, small and medium-sized companies and in 2013 made disbursements of over USD 88 billion.
Mr. Gobind Khiani, Director of Design Engineering at Fluor (USA) spoke about growth prospects, developments and requirements for the petrochemical market. Key points he presented were that 2014 was a significant year for China as economic rebalancing led to demand growth for a range of major energy commodities; and that we can expect further growth in the propylene industry, and more integrated refining and petrochemical operation alliances.
Mr. Euthymios J. Euthymiou from Petrobras gave a keenly anticipated plenary address on the key features for manufacturers operating within the Brazilian market. The points he covered included challenges, local content, and the importance of design validation such as NBR.
A joint presentation by Mr. Ernani Turazzi, Consultant & Mr. Ronaldo Martins, Petrobras addressed strategies for successfully participating in the Brazilian market. International visitors were particularly keen to learn from these two experienced veterans how to succeed in the vast local market.
Investments opportunities for the Brazilian oil & gas industry was the topic of the plenary presented by Mr. Julio Cesar Pinguelli Jacomo, Superintendent Oil & Gas at the State Secretariat for Economic Development, Energy , Industry and Services Brazil. He explained that of the forecast USD 90 billion to be spent in the Brazilian energy sector 2013-2035, 64% would be in the oil sector, 27% for power and 7% for gas. Biofuels account for just 2%.
A final plenary session was presented by Mr. Thiago Chehuan of FMC Technologies, whose topic was ‘The successful application of (super) duplexes and high end alloys in the sub-sea industry’. His presentation was of great interest from both the materials and valve perspectives and generated a lively discussion.
Split sessions; valves and materials
Once the plenary speeches were over it was time for delegates to divide into two rooms to participate in either Steel & Corrosion or Valves sessions.
The steel & corrosion sessions covered the following topics:
- Material selection criteria and justifications: requirements, alternatives, difficulties, decision criteria; this session considered the requirements and decision making criteria that must be considered for effective material selection. It included comparing alternative materials, challenges faced during the selection process, and a comparative look at the end results.
- Corrosion resistant alloys: material properties, processes and limitations for equipment design; the most important issues impacting the use of CRA’s including corrosion, weldability, machinability, manufacturing and inspection, and alternative materials were discussed.
- Managing trends and requirements in the global steel market; the session started with the important issue of strategically balancing costs during production, followed by trends in emerging materials and the driving forces for their selection. A look at requirements for welding technologies and the challenges these present concluded the steel sessions.
The valve sessions covered the following topics:
- Valve selection criteria and requirements during life cycle; this session looked at factors that must be considered when selecting which valves to use in the field to ensure maximum value throughout the entire life cycle.
- Challenges: Fugitive emissions, sealing performance, endurance & consistent production; this addressed common and challenging issues faced by manufacturers and users of valves including regulatory compliance, fugitive emissions and the importance of and methods for ensuring consistent valve production.
- Managing trends in valve technology; issues covered included pressure and flow control valves, the use of intelligent emergency valves in HIPPS, performance, monitoring and life cycle prognosis of valves used in topside and subsea applications; and quality assurance throughout the supply chain.
For information and to view many photos from the event, please visit www.flowcontrolexchange.com (also available in Portuguese).
The next Flow Control Exchange will be held in April 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The exhibition held in parallel to the conference attracted companies from around the world as well as local Brazilian suppliers. The very specific visitor demographic meant that the quality of visitors was very high and resulted in positive feedback from exhibitors. Many stands were kept busy until late in the evening as visitors kept arriving until after 4pm; on Tuesday evening at 8pm many exhibitors were still networking with delegates and visitors on the expo floor.
Overall the response to the very first Flow Control Exchange was overwhelmingly positive, and the organizing team, as well as many delegates, sponsors and exhibitors are looking forward to their next meeting in 2016!