THE ANNUAL International Operating Conference & Trade Show has been a Houston, Texas, fixture for the past 30 years. Held by the International Liquid Terminaling Association (ILTA), it has grown into the premier event for the worldwide storage terminal industry.
“It's no accident that our conference and trade show have spent three decades in this great city that claims the title “Energy Capital of the World,” said David Doane, ILTA president. “Many ILTA members are headquartered here, and a large number have terminal facilities in the region. The Port of Houston is one of the largest in the world, handling more than 200 million tons of commercial cargo every year.”
More than 3,000 industry professionals were in attendance May 24-26 for this year's milestone event. “When we started in 1981, about 450 people participated in the conference and trade show,” Doane said. “We've grown quite a bit since then.”
During the conference opening session on May 24, seven companies were given special recognition for their long-term support of ILTA. They were among the exhibitors at the first ILTA trade show in 1981, and they have participated in the ILTA annual event ever since. The companies are: Baker Tank Company/Altech, Chicago Bridge and Iron, Conservatek Industries, Emco Wheaton, Honeywell Enraf Americas, Scully Signal Company, and Technip Coflexip.
Conference and trade show attendees and exhibitors were treated to a special 30th anniversary celebration during the evening of May 25. Many former ILTA chairmen and members of the Board of Directors were in attendance. Stories and photographs from previous ILTA events were displayed in the “Tanks for the Memories” area.
“Our Texas-size anniversary party on Tuesday night was a great way for ILTA to say ‘thank you’ to our trade show exhibitors and attendees for coming to ILTA events for many years,” Doane said. “This strong relationship is the key to our continued success as a trade association.”
Opening morning speaker was David White, publisher of Industrial Fire World and a long-time participant in the ILTA annual conference. He discussed major storage tank explosions and fires that occurred in the past several years and laid the foundation for a series of speaker presentations that addressed the theme of incident management and how terminal managers can better prepare to respond to emergency situations.
“We've seen that even the rarest events can happen more than once,” White said. “Companies must plan for the worst possible event. Are you prepared for one storage tank fire? Are you prepared for two or more tanks on fire at the same time? How much of a disaster are you prepared to handle? Does your local fire department have the training, preparation, and resources to handle your worst disaster?”
The disaster preparation and response theme continued through the keynote luncheon speech that concluded the conference on May 25. Commander Kirk Lippold, US Navy (Ret), gave the keynote address. He was captain of the USS Cole when it came under suicide terrorist attack in 2000 by Al Qaeda in the port of Aden, Yemen. He delivered a detailed account of the event and his crew's ability to focus and perform critical tasks under extremely adverse conditions.
Other sessions addressed economic factors, such as oil market trends and their impact on the storage terminal industry and strategic sourcing to enhance a terminal company's buying power. A number of speakers focused on operating issues, such as tank foundation design, construction, and maintenance; optimizing product meters; marine terminal maintenance best practices; and tank integrity testing requirements.
Fourteen terminal member companies were recognized for their exceptional performance during the 2010 ILTA Safety Awards breakfast on May 25. Four small terminal companies and eight large firms received the Safety Excellence Awards. Winners were selected based on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Form 300A data.
The 2010 winners were: Buckeye Terminals LLC, Hess Corporation, Houston Fuel Oil Terminal Co, Intercontinental Terminals Co, International Raw Materials Ltd, Marathon Petroleum Co LLC, Motiva Enterprises-New Jersey Complex, Murphy Oil Corporation, NuStar Energy LP, Oiltanking Houston LP, Petro-Diamond Terminal Co, and US Oil Co Inc.
Two companies — Asphalt Operating Services LLC and Flint Hills Resources LP — were awarded the 2010 Platinum Safety Award for their demonstrated exemplary safety culture. Both companies are repeat winners, and they won their first Platinum awards in 2008.
Each winning company received a solid crystal depicted with a floating roof. The tank is seven and one-half inches high and slightly more than five inches in diameter. It has three-dimensional detailing of the roof, a manway, and a water supply line for the foam chambers. The tank also has etched detailing of the stairs and the panel seams.
Thirty-eight companies participated in the 2010 Safety Survey and Recognition Program, a 10% increase from 2009. All participants were eligible to compete for the safety awards, and all of them received a summary report of the collected data that can be used as a benchmark for internal performance management.
The 31st Annual ILTA International Operating Conference & Trade Show is scheduled for June 6-8, 2011, at the Hilton Americas-Houston and the George R Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas. ♦