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Panorama 2016: “Innovation and climate change: role and position of the refining industry”

11 February 2016
Paris - Salons Hoche

Panorama 2016

Panorama 2016 - visuel

The refining industry needs to find its way against the backdrop of the energy transition. Panorama 2016 seeks to review the energy transition-related issues as well as the technological and economic avenues to take up environmental challenges, evolving mobility-related energy mix requirements, use of new fossil resources and evolving areas of consumption.

The refining industry is a pivotal link in the oil consumption chain and in the short and medium terms the outlook is for growth to continue around the world. The industry provides almost all of the energy required by the global transport sector, in which more than 95% of the energy consumed is derived from oil. In Europe, by 2035, fossil-based fuels will continue to play a predominant role in the energy mix meeting mobility needs. Based on a projected private vehicle fleet of 300 million cars (IEA - NPS Scenario - WEO 2013), gasoline and diesel derived from oil will represent 85% of the energy consumed.

The transport sector also accounts for 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions and 21% of emissions in Europe, with the latter proportion increasing all the time. Given the issues associated with global warming and air quality, reducing greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions (particles, NOx, etc.) is a major priority for public policy makers and, finally, for the motor vehicle and refining industries.

Fuel specifications are evolving not only to meet environmental challenges, but also to come with improvements made to engine technologies in terms of reduced greenhouse gas emissions and energy efficiency gains. In Europe, regulations limiting the pollutant content of fuels for land, aviation and maritime applications, and promoting the introduction of renewable bio-based fuels have been in force for a number of years. To achieve these objectives Europe has introduced some ambitious emissions standards, such as Euro VI and Euro VII for the road transport sector, which define maximum limits for CO2 emissions per km and the maximum level for the incorporation of biofuels. What are the environmental ambitions and prospects for Europe and the world as a whole? What scenarios are emerging for the refining industry as it faces the need to adapt to the changes outlined above while continuing to meet mobility needs?

The concomitant shift in the nature of fossil resources, such as the increase in the percentage of heavy oils and extra heavy oils in the overall crude oil supply, the diesel/gasoline/jet fuel balance and regional heterogeneities all represent further challenges for the refining industry.
What is the state of play in this industry today? What changes have already taken place and what further changes are required to meet these challenges in a virtuous context in terms of environmental impact?

The demand for ever-cleaner refined products is driving the refining industry to invest heavily in new technologies and processes that are even more eco-efficient, advanced and innovative. What options are available for the refining industry to adapt? What are the innovations and perspectives that will underpin an appropriate environmental, technological and economic response?

In addition to contributions from various speakers, reading materials written by IFPEN experts shed light on the main scientific, technological, economic and industrial issues facing the energy, automotive and environmental sectors.

> For further information about the Panorama 2016 conference (in French)

> Download the Panorama 2016 technical reports

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