IT WAS another record year for the Annual International Operating Conference and Trade Show held June 6-8 at the Hilton Americas-Houston Hotel and the adjoining George R Brown Convention Center. Hosted by the International Liquid Terminals Association (ILTA), the event posted an 8% increase in attendance over the previous year.

More than 3,400 attendees from around the world participated in this year's conference and trade show. In addition, in excess of 280 vendors exhibited at the two-day trade show. Of these, 49 were exhibiting at ILTA for the first time.

“The ILTA conference and trade show is recognized as the premier annual event for the terminal industry,” says E David Doane, ILTA president. “The record attendance this year demonstrates the tremendous value that ILTA brings to the industry, and we are pleased to host an event of this caliber year after year.”

The Monday opening session of the conference featured Bryan Shaw, chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. He spoke about recent conflicts between Texas and federal regulators, including the Environmental Protection Agency's takeover of greenhouse gas permitting authority in the state. It was a timely session that highlighted the EPA's increasingly costly and job- and economy-killing regulatory overreach.

Tuesday's keynote presentation came from John Foley, a former US Naval aviator and member of the Blue Angels precision flying team, who talked about achieving high performance and creating a culture of excellence. Using high-energy video footage from the Blue Angels, he showed how companies can unify their teams behind shared goals and learn valuable lessons for continuous improvement.

Other sessions addressed economic factors, such as steadily rising values for storage terminals over the past 25 years. Speakers focused on a range of operations issues including new integrity standards for terminal piping, optimizing emission controls systems, tank hydrostatic testing options, tank overfill protection, and storage tank microbial contamination.

Presentations also covered a variety of environmental, health, safety, and security issues. Eight presentations — with topics ranging from operations to environmental and safety issues — were included in Monday's Spanish track.

Twelve terminal companies were recognized during the 2011 ILTA Safety Awards breakfast on Tuesday, and a new award was added to the competition. Hess Corporation was awarded the 2011 Platinum Safety Award for its safety achievements and outstanding safety culture.

The Platinum Safety Award is a solid crystal storage tank 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. Stairs and panel seams also are part of the etched detailing.

Safety Excellence Awards went to 10 companies that achieved a safety record of less than one injury per 100 workers in 2010. Recipients included Asphalt Operating Services, CITGO Petroleum Corp, Flint Hills Resources LP, International Raw Materials, JIT Chemical Corp, Murphy Oil Corp, NuStar Energy LP, Petro-Diamond Terminal Co, Sunoco Logistics Partners LP, and US Venture Inc. Winners were selected based on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Form 300A data.

Westway Terminals received a Safety Improvement Award for demonstrating significant safety improvement in its operations for the past three years.

Three storage terminal companies earned ILTA's newest safety award — the Five-Year Safety Milestone Award. Those recognized for achieving and maintaining safety excellence since 2006 were Asphalt Operating Services, Flint Hills Resources LP, and JIT Chemical Corp.

Forty-three ILTA terminal member companies participated in the 2011 Safety Survey and Recognition Program, a 13% increase over 2010. 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 32nd Annual ILTA International Operating Conference and Trade Show is scheduled for May 21-23, 2012 at the Hilton Americas-Houston and the George R Brown Convention Center in Houston. The trade show floor will be expanded to accommodate more exhibitors. ♦

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