Loud networking at Base Oils ’08 in London

It’s Day One of the ICIS Base Oils conference in London, and this is one mega-conference. It’s grown from 100 to 400 delegates, out-growing its various homes along the way and now filling the grand ballroom at the Hilton on Park Lane.

What I specially like about this crowd is that they make no secret of the fact that they want to spend these two days doing some heavy networking, and although they might drop in to the papers they really want to hear, they are happier to hang out in the coffee areas together. When the conference used to be at the Millenium Hotel, the noise of the networking used to intrude into the conference itself – sounding like there was a riot going on outside. Here too, there was a mid-morning noise surge from the rear of the hall where the networking was already getting a bit out of hand.

But the guys who are sitting through the conference sessions are keen. At the Q+A sessions there’s a real sea of hands, although some of those questions are quite incomprehensible, leaving the speakers looking at each other in bafflement. Still, I’ve sat through enough conferences where the chairman’s request for questions resulted in just an embarrassing silence, so all questions are very welcome.

You can also weigh up a conference by the fidget factor, and these guys are sitting stock still, even in the tricky pre-lunch slot. I thought their patience would be tested by the introductory ONE HOUR paper, but they were real pros.

You can read news articles from the “12th World Base Oils and Lubricants Conference” on ICIS news. Click here to read Shelley’s article on base oils supply issues. And Anu’s article on Asian base oils production cuts.

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