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Editorial comment

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Alan Gelder, Vice President of Refining, Chemicals and Oil Markets at Wood Mackenzie, for an episode of the Palladian Energy Podcast. For the uninitiated, the Palladian Energy Podcast is a new podcast series for oil and gas professionals brought to you by Hydrocarbon Engineering, along with our sister publications Oilfield Technology, World Pipelines, and LNG Industry. Series one covers the topic of digitalisation in the oil and gas industry, and it was great to get Alan’s thoughts on the important role that digitalisation will play in the downstream sector, specifically. We also took the opportunity to pick Alan’s brain on a number of other topics, including the broader outlook for the global refining sector in the year ahead, and the long-term trends for the industry. I’d encourage all of our readers to go ahead and give the episode a listen, if you haven’t done so already. You can subscribe to the Palladian Energy Podcast for free wherever you usually get your podcasts.

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Our chat with Alan took place just before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and although this crisis was foreseen in our conversation, it’s fair to say that the global landscape has shifted dramatically since we last spoke. As such, I’m pleased to report that Alan has also provided the keynote article for this issue of Hydrocarbon Engineering, which starts on p. 8. As well as briefly touching upon the geopolitical crisis that the Russia/Ukraine conflict has created, Alan’s article looks at how the sector has recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the future opportunities for the refining industry in the face of the energy transition.

This issue of Hydrocarbon Engineering also includes articles on the application of artificial intelligence (AI) in the downstream oil and gas sector (p. 19), methods to improve corrosion monitoring (pp. 22 – 30), the use of drones to revolutionise plant safety during inspections (pp. 31 – 38), and optimisation opportunities for passive fire protection products (p. 39). Amongst other topics, this issue also features an informative piece from Sabin Metal Corp. on the importance of responsible recycling of platinum group metals (p. 61), and a special Q&A session with a number of leading experts in catalyst technology and services (p. 65). We also have a detailed article from AMETEK Process Instruments looking at the role of air demand analysers in the quest to manage sulfur recovery units more tightly.

And on the topic of sulfur, I’d like to remind you all that our second annual SulfurCon virtual conference is taking place on 29 June 2022. We have an excellent line-up of expert speakers from ICIS, Comprimo, Merichem, Howden, and Malvern Panalytical, who will be providing detailed presentations, case studies and product demonstrations on a range of topics including gas treating, small-scale sulfur recovery for renewable fuels technology, sulfur recovery for the energy transition, and low-level sulfur analysis in automotive fuels.

To ensure that you don’t miss out on these insightful presentations and live Q&A sessions, as well as a host of networking opportunities including a virtual exhibition, sign up for your free space at SulfurCon here: And if you’re not able to join us live for SulfurCon on 29 June, that’s no problem at all. Sign up to attend, and we’ll be sure to send you an email with links to download each of the presentations, so you can watch them at a time that suits you.

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