Rice University, BioScience Research Collaborative (BRC) Building Auditorium, 1st floor
6500 Main Street, Houston, TX 77030


7:00 – 7:45 am Continental Breakfast & Networking

7:45 – 7:50 am Welcome
Dr. Ahmad Durrani, Chairman, Board of Directors
Rice Global E&C Forum

7:50 – 8:00 am Opening Remarks
Reginald DesRoches, Dean of George R. Brown School of Engineering, Rice University

8:00 – 8:45 am Keynote Address – “‘Our House is on Fire – EPC Transformation & Implementation”
Joe Thompson, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Downstream and Chemicals, Bechtel Oil, Gas and Chemicals

This presentation will center around addressing the change and challenges in the EPC industry, how as an industry we can adapt and some suggestions on possible mitigation measures.

8:45 – 9:30 am “Oil, Geopolitics and the Persian Gulf”
Joe Barnes, Bonner Means Baker Fellow, Baker Institute

The Persian Gulf has been afflicted by conflict for decades. This only increased in the wake of the “Arab Spring” of 2011, which saw the outbreak of civil war in Yemen and Syria and the rise of ISIS. US involvement in the region has been massive and costly. Yet the results of US engagement have been decidedly mixed. What are our interests in the Persian Gulf? Has the rise of US shale production changed the strategic calculus? What can we do – if anything – to reduce instability in places like Syria and Yemen? How has President Trump’s policy towards the region – in particular an “all in” approach towards partners like Saudi Arabia and Israel and an aggressive posture towards Iran – marked a change from previous administrations?

9:30 – 10:00 am Coffee & Networking Break

10:00 – 10:45 am “US Shale Oil & Gas and the Return of a Major Petrochemical Build-cycle to the US Market”
Mark Eramo, Vice President, Global Business Development – Energy & Chemicals, IHS Markit

The presentation will look at the ramp up in US & Canada chemical industry capital investment as a result of US Shale Oil & Gas. How much has been built and what is expected in the near future? How will the new assets fair as the global industry faces a cycle-downturn, as the global economy slows and a new wave of capacity emerges globally in the early 2020’s.

10:45 – 11:30 am “Asset Reliability – From Integrated Engineering to Integrated Operations”
Jack Stout, Director of Business Development – Digital Industries, Siemens

Creating a reliable and accurate as-operated digital twin is a big challenge for brownfield process plants. Each day, more and more data is generated and is spread over silos. Besides that, there is so called “dark data”, which is a type of unstructured/untagged data in different formats: 1D (datasheets, lists, records), 2D (drawings, logical connectivity), 3D (physical layout, sizes). This presentation addresses current possibilities to validate, connect and make use of this data, and describes the effects in the operations.

11:30 am – 12:30 pm Lunch & Networking

12:30 – 1:15 pm “The LNG Industry Evolves”
Jim Solomon, Director – LNG, Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.

The availability of abundant natural gas coupled with increased demand for clean energy has spurred growth of the LNG industry in recent years. But as greater volumes are being traded, the LNG market itself has undergone structural changes; LNG is becoming more of a commodity with greater volumes being traded on short term contracts and even on a spot basis. This presentation will discuss how the design and execution of LNG projects have evolved to keep up with changes in natural gas markets.

1:15 – 2:00 pm “Process Technologies: Leveraging the Transformational Shift”
Peter Armstrong, Vice President Business Development, Selas Linde

Linde Engineering will speak to process industry technical innovation as related to the shale boom. Key process technologies across multiple sectors (ethylene, LNG, ammonia, gas processing, others) have been critical to the U.S. achieving its new prominence as a global energy and petrochemical powerhouse.

2:00 – 2:30 pm Coffee & Networking Break

2:30 – 3:15 pm “Improving Financials for EPC Companies” Panel
Moderator: Michael Hyland, Principal Engineer, Wunderlich-Malec Engineering
Steve Cabano, President, Pathfinder, LLC
Mark Cosentino, Business Development, Wunderlich-Malec Engineering
Fawaz Sidhique, Business Director – Global Strategy, Daily Thermetrics Corporation

Contractors are in dire financial waters. Heavy financial losses, poor share prices, the firing of many CEOs of the contractors and a blizzard of acquisitions and mergers and bankruptcies. Why? Largely the volatility brought about by the Shale Revolution. Thus what needs to be done to rectify this situation? What steps need to be taken?

3:15 – 3:45 pm Concluding Remarks
Steve Cabano, President, Pathfinder, LLC

The Capital Projects Industry is unsustainable for many sectors of the global economy – projects either lack new technology, effective management, or both. Current processes are not agile/ flexible enough to accommodate change and lack the foresight to envision operating reality four years in the future. CURT & CII’s solution is Operating System 2.0. – a multi-industry, collaborative, research-supported effort that aims to redesign industry procedures / standards with current technological advances. OS 2.0 creates a standardized technology-enabled platform that accommodates future changes/ makes capital projects more financially viable and sustainable. This session covers OS 2.0’s research, findings and recent updates.

3:45 – 4:00 pm Closing