The European Industrial Gases Association (EIGA) held its 15th annual meeting together with the EIGA Symposium in Düsseldorf, Germany, at the beginning of February.

The president of EIGA, Dr. Aldo Belloni of Linde Gas, opened the symposium by reminding the participants of the EIGA mission and the guidelines of the by-annual meeting. He also stated the long tradition that EIGA has with this kind of symposium for the benefit of its members and their numerous international customers.

The chairman of the Symposium Organising Committee (SOC) Rick Kenny from the sponsoring organization Praxair, explained the structure of the two day symposium. He also highlighted the necessity of participants to pay attention to the information presented over the symposium as there was a friendly quiz at the end of the second day.The quiz tradition that started in 2002 rewarded the top three winners with valuable prices.

Legislation, Design and Operation

Overall twenty three papers were presented covering the three major aspects of the event: legislation, design and operation. According to EIGA the aim of the Symposium Organising Committee was to ensure that there was a wide selection of papers covering the industry achievements, present regulatory requirements and how this may change in the future. The lectures were in partucular a mixture of both technical and general interest papers in order to ensure audience\\$quot;s continuous interest over the two-day long symposium.

The symposium also saw three guest speakers presenting somewhat different aspects of production safety within the industry compared to EIGA member organisations. Dr. Hans-N. Rindfleisch, head of the global Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) department of a leading German chemical company, gave his view on international safety management influenced by different regulations, mentalities, mergers and acquisitions.

O. Salvi from INERIS, France, spoke about different projects for a benchmark exercise for the risk analysis of SEVESO sites for the chemical and industrial gases industry.

Finally Hubert Ledoux from Bureau Veritas, France, explained the main aspects of the explosive atmospheres (ATEX) regulation and how it would apply to reforming units. He also exposed three strategies on how to reduce ATEX risk to an acceptable level, as required by law.

The remaining 17 papers were from several different European EIGA member companies and six from US non-member experts. The 17 \\$quot;˜insider papers\\$quot; were grouped into four main sections: interpretation of legislation, safety in design, safe operation of Air Separation Units and safety management.

The two moderators of the event, Herman Follens of Praxair and Eric Fortuit of Air Liquide, introduced all the speakers of each group at the end of their presentations. This enabled a useful panel discussion among all the speakers and gave the audience an opportunity to ask a number of detailed questions from the experts.

It was not a big surprise for the symposium organizing committee to learn from the feedback forms that the symposium was of high value to the majority of the 320 participants.

The participants also had the opportunity to propose themes for the next symposium, which will be organized again by EIGA in January 2008.

After Symposium Visit

The symposium also offered the participants a different kind of opportunity to learn more about energy, which is closely linked with the industrial gases business. Many delegates took the opportunity to visit the biggest European brown coal fired power station and the opencast mining area, Garzweiler mine, in the area between Düsseldorf and Cologne after the symposium.

Participants and feedback
Over 320 participants from thirty\\$quot;“one countries from all corners of the globe attended the conference about 20 of which came from as far away as Australia, Dubai, Japan, Philippines, Singapore and the US. It was not surprising due to this specific theme of the symposium that this time only 10 % of the participants were from non industrial gases companies; so they were drawn from industry suppliers, national and Regional Trade Associations as well as Government agencies.

The high number of feedback forms from the participants reflected very well their great satisfaction with the numerous presentations, the venue and the perfect organization as usually practiced from the EIGA office.