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Mr. Abdulmohsen Dhawi Almajnouni Conference Chairman of MEPEC, spoke to Oil Review on the eve of the opening of the Middle East’s Middle East Process Engineering Conference and Exhibition 2011 (MEPEC 2011) about what he hopes the show can achieve.

Oil Review: As Chairman of MEPEC, how important is this 1st Middle East Process Engineering conference?
Almajnouni : The 1st Middle East Process Engineering conference (MEPEC 2011) is very significant as the event brings together engineers, technocrats, and decision makers of process engineering industries (Petroleum, chemicals, and petrochemicals) , service providers, academicians, researchers, and technology developers. The plenary and keynote speeches, technical presentations and posters, workshops and exhibitions, during a three day event is very enriching as the world class experts are going to share their knowledge, experience, and expertise.

Oil Review: Why is it so important to have an event dedicated to the field of chemical processing?
Almajnouni : Process engineering is common  to all chemical engineering based industries. The focused conference on process engineering (MEPEC 2011) is an effort to get into grass root level of problems and their solutions from both the service users and providers.

Oil Review: What do you feel will be the next major generation chemical technology development projects?
Almajnouni : The next generation of chemical technology projects will focus more on developing environmental friendly technologies that are efficient and cost effective. 

Oil Review: Companies are investing heavily in the Process Engineering sector – do you feel that these companies have to be leading from the front?
Almajnouni : Oil producing countries are undertaking huge projects related to process engineering because of strategic, economic, and financial reasons. Exporting crude oil verses exporting value added petroleum products demands huge capex and opex that oil rich countries can afford in establishing oil refineries and petrochemical plants. Saudi Arabia has embarked on integrated refining and petrochemical complexes for increased profitability and the examples are Petrorabigh (Sumitomo, Japan  JV), Satorp Total, France JV), and more  recently Sadara (Dow, USA JV).

Oil Review: What is the main advantage of bringing in quality improvements?
Almajnouni : Quality improvement and process optimization are integral part of chemical process industries and relates directly with efficiency that in turn relates to profitability. Almost all the GCC process engineering industries are applying process optimization and this conference will expose them on state of the art process optimization methods from diversified global players.

Oil Review: Why is there a real emphasis on green processing and sustainability?
Almajnouni : Green processing and sustainability is applied to industries from two different aspects. Firstly to produce environment friendly products as the local and international market is very demanding for it. Secondly the process industries are adopting green processes and sustainability in their work place and processing units.

Oil Review: The major GCC Companies have been  playing a pivotal role in pushing the refining and petrochemical developments – what is your outlook for the downstream industry?
Almajnouni : The downstream sector is very much in focus and GCC governments are placing a lot of attention to the development of downstream sector maximise the growth and taking full advantage of cheap feedstock available in oil producing countries.

Oil Review: What are the main feedstock challenges?
Almajnouni : The major challenge is the scarcity of cheap gas as feedstock as most of the produced gas is already committed to existing plants. The liquid feedstock are getting more attention to be a source of feedstock.