February 17, 2016 – Refinery Operation

Past, present and future challenges of operating a refinery in the North East US


Wednesday February 17, 2016 (Postponed from January 27)


5:30 PM Registration
6:00 PM Dinner
7:00 PM Presentation


Mike Gudgeon
Technical Manager
PBF Energy – Delaware City


Crowne Plaza – Wilmington North (New Castle Room)
630 Naamans Road (Just off of I-95 exits)
Claymont, Delaware19703


$35 Non-members and guests
$30 AIChE Members
$15 Students

Buffet Dinner:

Caesar Salad, Garlic Parmesan Breadsticks
Baked Ziti with a Vodka Blush Sauce
Rosemary Roasted Potato
Chicken Marsala with a Mushroom Bordelaise Sauce, Eggplant Parmesan
Chocolate Dipped Cannoli’s


Over the last few decades few industries have changed as much as US refineries, and this trend will continue well into the future. The industry is shaped by global energy markets, local supply and demand logistics, politics at every conceivable level, the investment community, government regulation and oversight, and lastly public opinion. With all these external pressures the window within which to operate is small, and sometimes non-existent. This is most evident when looking at refineries in the North East US where market pressure is intense and the return on refinery investments is far from guaranteed.

This begs the question, why would anyone want to be in this industry in our area? The answer to that question is the basis for this presentation.


Mike started his career in 1992 working as a research engineer for Courtaulds, a UK based multinational company engaged in the manufacture of chemicals, films and man-made fibers. After completing research on the production of acetate micro-fibers for medical applications, Mike moved to the US in 1994 to work as an engineer at a PET manufacturing facility in Virginia, also owned by Courtaulds at that time. During his time at this facility he helped develop a new water based film coating technology whose end product applications ranged from tamper evident medical packing to flexible touch screens.

In 2001, Mike made the move to the petroleum industry by joining BP-Amoco at their refinery in Yorktown, Virginia. Between 2001 and 2004 Mike worked as an engineer on many refinery processes, including fluid catalytic cracking, thermal cracking and catalytic hydro-treating. In 2004 Mike moved into project management and over the next three years designed, constructed and commissioned two catalytic hydro-treaters, one natural gas reformer and one sulfur recovery facility that allowed the refinery to meet new EPA ultra-low sulfur fuels regulations. Starting in 2006 Mike worked in various management roles at the refinery, ultimately becoming Operations Manager for the facility in 2008.

In 2009 Mike took a position as Process Engineering Manager at the Valero Delaware City Refinery. In this role he managed a team of engineers providing technical support to the refinery. He retained this role until late 2009 when the facility was closed. Mike stayed with Valero and moved to the Paulsboro Refinery in an operations management role.

In 2010 PBF Energy purchased the shuttered Delaware City Refinery and Mike moved back to the facility to manage the restart effort. This was completed in 2011 after which he became the Technical Manager responsible for all engineering support and project management at the refinery.

Mike graduated from The University of Birmingham, England with a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Biochemical Engineering. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chemical Engineers (UK) and mentors many new engineers as they develop their professional skills in industry. He resides in Middletown, Delaware with his wife Rebecca and their two kids Andy and Sophie.

Note: This presentation is not considered a PDH seminar and no PDH certificate will be issued for attending this event.

Registration Details and Deadline:

Please confirm your attendance no later than Monday February 15, 2016.

Your reservations for January 27th will be valid for the new date. If you prefer a refund or have any further questions, please contact Colleen McGinness at Colleen.McGinness@kbr.com.

For questions, please contact Colleen McGinness at Colleen.McGinness@kbr.com.

Printable Flyer