ANNA 2015 Meeting Starts Strong and Ends on a High Note

    More than 300 people attended the 2015 ANNA Conference in Jasper, Alberta, Canada. Agrium graciously hosted this year’s event, held in Jasper Park in the heart of the beautiful Canadian Rockies.

    “The agenda offered a conference full of high quality presentations, roundtables and networking opportunities with industry experts from around the world,” according to Roland Schech of meeting host company Agrium. “It was also a fantastic opportunity for producers to review the technology available to our industry from our exhibitors focused on nitric acid and ammonium nitrate.

    Although there were plenty of sights to take in around the scenic Jasper Park Lodge, participants spent most of their time listening to 40 technical presentations, over 40+ hours, delivered by industry experts. In addition, conference executives facilitated informative panel sessions and other interactive discussions. Longtime ANNA Committee Member Hans Reuvers of BASF once again put together an excellent program, which included selection of the top two papers.

    This year’s award winning AN presentation was delivered by Schech, who covered Agrium’s ammonium nitrate minimum trips and interlocks standard, a safety standards issue that industry members have been discussing for many years. “The presentation also resulted in some very good discussion,” reports Conference Chair David Hind of Orica. “Perhaps it was home field advantage for Roland to win.”

    CSBP’s Moiz Alibhai’s intriguing presentation on Nitrate/nitrite clean-up following ammonia slip from a deNOx reactor was the winner for the Nitric Acid Session. “Over the years, we have many discussions of nitrites, but this was the first time a presentation was made around and incident that could have found nitrites and the actions taken,” points out Hind. “Fortunately no nitrites were found, and the incident was only a process incident.”

    In addition to the outstanding technical program, ANNA attendees had the opportunity to interface with experts from 66 industry supplier companies who co-hosted an information-packed Exhibit Hall, a four-day event organized by Burke Allen of Alloy Engineering and Mike Gervais of Geib Refining. The meeting also featured a well-attended, much-enjoyed spousal program organized by Dolores Schech.

    “For me the measurement of the potential success of the meeting was visible on the Sunday night reception,” observes Hind. “If you watched people come into the room, most never got more than 20 feet from the room entrance because they met up with someone they knew or entered into a conversation. The bar at the other end of the room was empty all night.

    “This continued for the rest of the meeting. It was again evident at the close of the meeting where 20 people remained after the conference for the round table discussion of items of interest in the Nitric Acid area, despite the lure of the mountains outside.”

    Hind added that the opportunity to pass on the historical knowledge from one generation to the next was another highlight for him. “We had a range of ages from 20ish to 70ish in the room,” he reports. The retirees keep coming back! At the conference we have PhDs conversing with operational people, both learning something for the common benefit of the industry. Over time, the ANNA library and the knowledge of the individuals has become an invaluable asset for the industry. Once again the conference demonstrated working together to mutual benefit for the industry by exhibitors and producers.”