December 2008 Archives
"EPCA EXHIBITON AT MERCEDES WORLD - BERLIN - 4 TO 7 OCTOBER 2008
EPCA will organize the opening event of its 2009 Annual Meeting at Mercedes World in Berlin on Sunday 4 October. Together with Cefic, EPCA will organize an exhibition at the same venue in Berlin from 4 to 7 October 2009. The purpose of this exhibition is to show the positive interaction between the chemical and the car industries versus sustainability. More news on this exciting initiative will follow in the March 2009 newsletter."
The general theme for the 2009 business session, which will again combine the EPCA Annual and Logistics Meetings, will be "sustainability".
Since publication, EPCA has let us know that the exhibition is not a confirmed part of the programme yet.
In the last few days before the holidays, office buildings are strangely full of small children. They are brushed and clean and curiously similar to people you work with, only shorter and cuter and more fresh-faced. In the mornings they are bashful and hiding behind chairs, but by the afternoon they are surfing Facebook and crashing up and down in the lifts.
The office canteen is a wonderland of normally forbidden chips and fizzy drinks, so by the end of the day the little cherubs are completely hyperactive and the poor dad or mum is stressed to the limit from interrupted phone calls and the disapproving looks of their colleagues.
I can distantly remember as a child visiting parental workplaces, which were huge spaces populated by giants just like in Jack and the Beanstalk. My own grown up children remember clearly their childhood visits to the Reed Business Information offices in a more child-hostile decade, particularly when an adult in the lifts referred to them as "rug rats", and most prominently when my sweet-natured colleague Carolyn gave them money to spend on chocolates in the shop. Those visits were when they first found out that their mother said she went to work, but really went to a place where she could play on the computer all day - a misapprehension which has been hard to shake even to this day.
One friend tells the tale of how she started work at a chemical company, in the same business that her father had been in, only to find that there were senior managers there who still remembered her as a child with her crayons, and who kept popping in to her office to gaze on her with disbelief.
(Photos of ICIS Baby Connor taken earlier in the year.)
Click here for more about children who follow their parents into the petchems business: Chemicals II: the Next Generation.
Episodes of "The Simpsons" are recycled so often that it's hard to believe they were created so long ago. This first one is the most obvious oil-related episode which everyone remembers, and then the others are progressively more obscure and, as can be seen, I ran out of ideas quite quickly ...
1 Who Shot Mr Burns (Part 1) airdate May 1995
Oil is discovered under
2 Bart After Dark airdate November 1996
An oil tanker crashes on the coast, and Lisa goes to help clean up seabirds, in a reference to the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
3 The Simpsons Movie - 2007
The Simpsons move to
4 Half-Decent Proposal airdate February 2002
Homer and Lenny go to work on an oil rig and cause a major fire.
And more in the same vein featuring oil (bad), chemicals (bad) and nuclear power (bad).
Kelly Knopp of Williams Olefins was announced as the new president of the Northeastern Chemical Association (NECA) at the Association's Winter Meeting in New York City, a NECA spokeswoman confirmed on Wednesday.
The other incoming officers for 2009 are: VP, Stephen Roemer of Flint Hills Resources; Treasurer, Chris Switzer of Sound Tankers; Corresponding Secretary, Terry Truitt of Chevron Phillips; and Recording Secretary, Bill Lombardi of Gulbrandsen Tech.
Peter Salisbury, aromatics editor at ICIS pricing, reflects on what to do in the office when the markets are quiet ...
A European styrene trader who shall remain unnamed spent November and the first two weeks of December in Argentina, the lucky sod, working from his mobile (full disclosure: I got a couple of weeks in there myself). It seems he had had a pretty good quarter and decided to take things easy for a while.
His fellow traders probably wish that they could do the same thing as a long, slow December begins, with no real way of knowing what the new year will bring. Trading volumes are diminishing every week; demand is awful, I am reliably informed, and there really isn't much going on.
Even if there aren't many deals being cut, an ICIS aromatics reporter can find ways to keep himself occupied - calculating arbitrage values, checking out plant capacities, discussing the economy with contacts via Yahoo! messenger.
So it comes that in the odd idle moment I find myself doing a bit of Googling, and come across this article from July of this year -- and find it rather apt. If you are tired of doom, gloom, and inactive markets, then the Onion is probably as good a place as any for a bit of a satirical giggle.
I hope it amuses those of you with a little bit of time on your hands.
My ICIS Houston colleague Brian Ford tells me that his tableau of Godzilla wrecking a chemical storage tank is an artistic representation of the economic woes that have befallen the petchem industry.
"I sculpted the Godzilla figure a few years ago, got a friend to make moulds and cast up several copies - I just got through painting it up and finding stuff to put on the base," he says.
Personally, I like Godzilla's left profile the best. It shows off his cheeky smile, sharp pointy teeth and smart white back fins to best advantage.
Click here for more favourite chemical adverts:
Mikhail Gorbachev is to speak at the NPRA Luncheon, it was announced in an email update to members from NPRA on Monday.
He will give the keynote address at the International Petrochemical Luncheon on Tuesday 31 March 2009 in San Antonio, Texas.
In his biographical notes, the NPRA programme says:
Mikhail Gorbachev served as leader of
the Soviet Union from 1985-1991. He is
world-renowned and admired for streamlining
and decentralizing the oppressive
system he inherited. In an effort to secure
relations with the West, Gorbachev
signed two broad disarmament pacts,
and ended Communist rule in Eastern
Europe. He taught the world two new
words: perestroika (governmental
restructuring) and glasnost (political
openness). As a result of his extraordinary
achievements, Gorbachev was the
recipient of the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize,
the Orders of Lenin, the Red Banner of
Labor, and the Badge of Honor.