Tank Storage Asia 2019 saw a 35 per cent increase in visitors in September, as terminals, traders, petrochemical producers and equipment suppliers gathered in Singapore. The event attracted by a strong conference line-up, new one-to-one networking opportunities and a whole host of ground-breaking technologies on the show floor.

Over 50 exhibitors were present on the show floor and the show attracted decision-makers from across the region including representatives from Shell, Saudi Aramco, Total, Dialog, Chevron, BP Singapore, BASF, ExxonMobil, Singapore LNG, Horizon, Thai Oil Group, Rotary Engineering, Cargill, Neste Singapore, Pertamina, Odfjell Terminals and many more.

The two-day conference programme featured speakers from key terminals in the region, including Vopak, Stolthaven and Oiltanking, who discussed crucial topics ranging from new sustainability initiatives, innovations and first-hand experiences on implementing new safety case regulations.

Edwin Ebrahimi, Innovation Engagement Leader at Vopak spoke about the significant shift in innovation the terminal has seen in the last five years – from exploring proof of concepts in 2015 to having innovation truly embedded in the company’s culture by 2020.

In this time Vopak has explored drones, wireless open and close sensors, digital checklists and remote-operated vehicles. “We don’t innovate for the sake of it,” Ebrahimi explained. “First and foremost, we introduce new technology to create a safer environment at our terminals.”

“The industry has a joint responsibility to continue improving its safety performance. Sharing stories of successful deployments of innovations at events such as Tank Storage Asia helps raise awareness and speeds up the acceptance of innovation in our industry.”

Innovation and forward-thinking were key themes throughout the event, with Mark Stuart, the conference keynote speaker, giving a presentation on how the tank storage industry can move into the digital age. 

Stuart asked the audience for their input on what is most important when it comes to driving the tank storage sector forward, and responses included the use of drones as well as ensuring companies ‘fail fast’ when it comes to testing out new initiatives. 

He spoke about data being the next big commodity, saying that companies need to invest in data and have a comprehensive data strategy to ensure results. 

Mark Lim, Commercial Manager at Stolthaven, along with Chye Poh Chua, CEO at ShipsFocus provided a unique insight into how Stolthaven is already using big data to its advantage. The partnership has been able to collect and use data to improve jetty scheduling – identify and reduce wait times, reduce demurrage and improve utilisation.

New business opportunities

With the event held just days after the drone strikes that knocked out half of Saudi Arabia’s oil supply, it is no surprise that geopolitical tensions and volatile market conditions featured highly in the conference room.

Paul Hickin, Associate Director at Platts spoke of the fragile balance between supply & demand in today’s marketplace. Oil demand worries continue in the wake of the global slowdown and the recession risk is now at 35 per cent, Hickin explained. However, IMO2020 could provide a demand spike and oil demand growth could remain above 1 million b/d in 2019 and 2020.

S&P Global Platts predicted that oil prices are likely to break out of the $55-$65/barrel range, more likely testing the high of $70/barrel, if not up to $80/barrel. However, longer-term prices will head back to an average of around $55/barrel.

Sushant Gupta, Director of Asia-Pacific Refining at Wood Mackenzie echoed this, adding that product imbalances and changes to trade flows represent significant new opportunities for storage operators.

Gupta also spoke of the significant slowdown in oil demand growth, with current world demand growth at its slowest level for the past 10 years. Added to this, demand for gasoline is also expected to slow post-2030, as a result of higher penetration of electric vehicles & better fuel efficiency. 

Overbuilding of refineries has created further imbalances, with around 3 million bpd of surplus capacity expected over the next 5 years. 

The conference was attended by terminals, oil majors, analysts and regulators from across the region. Tank Storage Asia introduced TSA Connect, a one-to-one networking platform, which proved a huge success with exhibitors and visitors alike. Over 1550 meeting requests were submitted through the networking platform in the lead-up to the event. 

This year’s show attracted visitors from across the region, including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Australia, Thailand and the Republic of Korea.

Next year’s event will be held on 7 & 8 October at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. 

For more information visit www.tankstorageasia.com

10th October 2019