MEET THE PORTFOLIO DIRECTOR
Matt Maginnis, Portfolio Director, Americas, World Refining Association
Published 25 October 2023
With only a couple weeks to go until the highly anticipated 2023 European Refining Technology Conference in Lago Maggiore, Italy, on 13 – 16 November. Managing Director of the World Refining Association and the Portfolio Director of ERTC, Sandil Sanmugam, joins us for an interview, where he sheds light on the conference agenda and provides a sneak peek into what attendees can anticipate at this year's event.
Sandil, as the 27th edition of ERTC approaches this November, what should we anticipate from the upcoming conference?
Well, I have been working at the WRA for almost 7 years now and have seen ERTC grow into the hub for the global refining community. Europe has been the face of decarbonisation efforts with the Commission’s net-zero ambitions, and it has become clear that European refiners are trying to carry out substantial changes whilst remaining competitive on the international stage. To tackle this, we have some big sessions with the likes of Aramco, Sonangol and Petronas to gauge their sentiment and assess how different regional regulatory frameworks have impacted investments into refining assets. I am really looking forward to this.
Lately, the topic of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) has gained significant attention. How will ERTC contribute to this emerging market?
Over the next decade, the European Commission has implemented some bold SAF targets for the aviation industry. It is great to see a wide consensus across airports, airlines, aeroplane manufacturers and fuel producers that SAF is the way forward, and this, in turn, has provided certainty for refiners. Some of the key themes we will cover include adapting refinery operations to increased renewable feedstock and the implications of the REFuelEU legislation for European refining.
How has the European Refining Technology Conference managed to sustain itself since 1996 for such an extended period in an ever-changing landscape?
Since our inception, we have maintained a close relationship between refiners and technology providers to keep a regular pulse on the market. This has allowed us to create the most relevant content and to make sure that onsite experiences are as valuable for attendees, especially as they take time away from their busy refinery/ office schedules to meet their peers. Over my past seven years, we have shifted from adapting to IMO regulations to navigating energy crises, exploring energy hubs, green hydrogen, and biofuels. Whatever the ERTC community needs to understand, we will provide.
This year, we will be holding the first ERTC Industry Awards, what can we expect from this year’s ceremony?
The reason for creating the ERTC Industry Awards is to recognise those who are leading the charge in the energy transition. Who are innovating? Who are pushing out the latest technology investments for massive return? By recognising the companies making the major decisions to remain competitive in the transition, can we truly inspire others along this complex journey.
13 – 16 November 2023 | Lago Maggiore, Italy
THE LARGEST GATHERING OF REFINING AND PETROCHEMICAL LEADERSHIP WITHIN EUROPE