Aromatics ’07 – the Aftermath

As we sip our coffees and beers in the curiously musty cafe at Antwerp airport, the Aromatics Conference team reflects that this was a great success. The speakers were exceptionally good and we had a late surge of delegates turning up, pushing our total number to around 100 on the day.

For myself, I am always just glad that the speakers turn up at all, after a bad formative experience when I was chairing an ICIS Glycols conference in Houston, and the keynote Saudi speaker didn’t appear, which put the programme out for the whole day. I was reminded of this as I watched John Keeley, our chairman on the first day of Aromatics ’07, struggling with speakers who were determined to wreck his time-keeping and kept pushing the programme later and later.

Flicking through the delegate feedback forms, John is appalled to find that one trader has given him a “D” for time-keeping. Harsh indeed!

By the time the conference ended with the Thursday lunch, there was an end-of-term atmosphere, with everybody table-hopping and lots of hugs and air-kisses as they left.

For those delegates who missed the speeches because they were: a) doing deals with each other in the conference ante-room, b) asleep, c) blackberrying in the back row, you can relive the experience by reading the 14 articles on For a taster, see the articles on the Shell and Barclays papers here. It’s as if you were there!

We round off with this 6th European Aromatics and Derivatives Conference 2007 Brainteaser:

1 Which delegate was sporting this crazy watch with no hands or numerals?


2 Which speaker forgot to bring his paper?

3 Who is the most baby-faced (male) delegate? Note: name must be on delegate list.

4 Who were the six conference beauties (female) in the Radisson bar crowd at 2am on Thursday morning? Again: names must be on delegate list.

5 Which speaker predicted $200/barrel crude?

6 Which key delegate in designer specs and chisel-toed shoes was giving out late-night advice to his customers about commitment, children and Antwerp love-nest hotels?

And for a more serious appraisal of the themes and mood of the Aromatics Conference, click on my friend Paul’s ICIS blog.

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