In his introduction the Chairman Ir. R. DE VOS sketched the development of the oil industry during the recent past. There was a high energy demand in the 1960's and 1970's which was mainly supplied by oil. Western countries became increasingly dependent on crude oil imports from exporting countries. Due to the crisis, growth in demand was stopped and even reversed, while oil was being substituted by coal, natural gas and nuclear. A period of high crude prices but narrow margins emerged, which led to surplus capacity in the refining industry and the need for energy conservation and ultimately rationalization of the industry. Competition became fierce due to the surplus situation. A major factor impacting on the oil industry was the rapid emergence of environmental issues which led to more restrictions on the operations and the need for further adjustment. New actors appeared on the scene, notably the host governments (PDVSA, KPC etc) and new refiners in the form of traders and independents. Returns, however, were unsatisfactory for the industry as a whole. Against this background the refining industry is now in a stage of transformation out of which a new optimum will ultimately emerge.

The Chairman then introduced the various speakers of the panel who summarized their position papers on the subjects indicated above. Prefacing the Panel Discussion, Chairman DE VOS expressed the intention to have the exchanges concentrate on strategic issues.

The discussion was opened by Mr. J. GUEIT (France), referring to the presentation of Mr.

Vice-chairman Prof. C. D. IONESCU was absent due to other commitments in his country.

The paper "Future Technological Opportunities for an Optimized Refining Industry", by F. A. HOROWITZ et al., was presented by J. M. HOCHMAN. 261 DUBROMEL, who stressed the importance of people and their motivational needs. He wondered if it was necessary to have financial incentives for the operators. Mr. DUBROMEL stated that financial rewards are not always possible (e.g. during a wage freeze) and that other incentives could also be used.

He thought it more important to give the operators the opportunity to participate in the achievements than to hand out rewards. The critical factor was that results should be measurable and the operator's contributions clearly identifiable. On the same issue, Mr.

RINNE explained the productivity reward system in Nantali Refinery. Although he agreed that money does not solve all the problems, it helps a lot in concentrating the mind on the underlying issues. For this reason his company pays for improvements. This way the issues are more fully discussed by the operator than would be otherwise be the case. Overall this reward system has worked very satisfactorily for his company.


This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.