Tag Archives: TMS 2012
TMS is over for another year. By Thursday morning, the lobby of the Dolphin hotel was almost empty. Even the queue for coffee from the small coffee shop was much shorter.
This year’s TMS could be characterised as “Benign”. Not that there weren’t some clenched teeth and clashes of opinion, because there were, but overall the mood was remarkably positive, considering the shape of the market at present.
Perhaps the thing that struck me the most was the absence of old friends. What is a TMS without Stephane? My very good friend from Greece/Paris/Voreppe and his bright red sports jacket were nowhere to be seen.
Richard (pronounced with a French Canadian accent), who retired at TMS San Diego last year, was also a notable absentee. Francois from Alouette could not be found in any of the coffee shops, bars or smoking corners (though I am sure he has given up the evil weed). I also missed my good friend Sakon-san, though that was because he had already returned to Japan by the time I went looking for him.
Syver from Norway told several people that this will be his last TMS as a representative of his employer. He will be retiring and his company is already searching for a replacement. But I am sure we will see Syver’s smiling face at future TMS events, under his own consulting shingle.
And so the party moves on to San Antonio Texas. I missed the last San Antonio TMS in 2006, but I am already looking forward to renewing friendships and making new acquaintances there.
It is now Wednesday morning, and we are now 3/4 of the way through our meeting schedule. Like many groups here, we have a very full schedule – we have completed 35 meetings and still have 15 to go, with the final meeting scheduled for just before we leave for the airport.
It can get tiring, to say the least. But so far, it has also been very rewarding. We have had several new opportunities presented to us, and many people have indicated they will be attending our conference in May. Lots of people want to know what’s going on in China, what’s happening with coke prices, and we have had a good story to tell about that and the total supply and demand situation.
Here are a couple of photos from around the lobbies and walkways of the Swan and Dolphin.
Monday evening at TMS is always the BP cocktail party. This year they took us to Orlando’s Icebar, which they had booked out and loaded up with free food and drink.
The ice bar itself is a freezer room, containing furniture carved from blocks of ice. It was also decorated with ice-carved dolphins and other animals. The only drink available inside the bar was vodka, along with a variety of fruit juices. Even the glasses in which the drinks were served were cut from ice.
At the end of the evening each year, BP has a tradition of breaking out the cigars, and it was no exception this year.
TMS isn’t TMS without the Sunday evening reception, hosted by Jacobs Consultancy. This year, somewhere around 650 people came along to renew acquaintances or make new ones.
Charissa and I did both at the same time – for me it was a chance to say G’day to old friends, while for Charissa, who was experiencing her first TMS, it was her first time to meet them.
Charissa and I interrupted the boys from Mubadala, Goa Carbon and Vedanta, to say hello.
Charissa was happy to meet Les Edwards – she doesn’t know enough Australians yet…
Paul with the team from CRU, along with Ron from Rain CII. “Happy with this shot, Sheena?”
Mike Stewart of Jacobs was proud to present his son Kyle and Kyle’s wife. Kyle has joined Jacobs, so no doubt will be at many TMS receptions in years to come.
As with TMS in New Orleans a few years ago, this year the convention is being held over the weekend that the USA changes to Summer Time. Clocks were meant to be put forward an hour last night. At the Aussie Dinner last night, several people was lamenting not being able to party too hard in light of the loss of an hour’s sleep.
I am writing this post at 7.30am Summer time, still waiting for my 7am appointment to turn up. In this particular case it isn’t too bad, since I can meet with this client at another time. The real problem will arise at the top of the hour, when probably he will turn up at the same time as my 8am appointment. Or perhaps my 8am appointment will also not turn up until 9am. No doubt we will see several people standing around the lobby looking for appointments who were there an hour earlier, or who think they aren’t due to meet for another hour.
The problem will come to a head in a couple of hours. That’s when we all have to be on the bus for the Koppers Paddle Steamer event. There won’t be any point in turning up an hour late for a bus that’s long gone.
As I am sitting here, a couple of people have gone past in their running gear. At least one person, having stopped to chat, was upset to find that they were an hour out on their schedule (yes, I am talking about you Sonja). Not a good way to start the day.
PS – a good morning call to Euel, who just went past and said some nice things about the blog.
We have had several people ask us, “How come you didn’t have a China Aluminium Briefing again this year?”
The China Aluminium Briefing was a mini-conference that we first put on in San Diego last year. Although it was quite successful, we elected not to hold one this year because we didn’t want to compete against our own conference. AZ China is holding a conference in Qing Dao in May and we will be exploring all the key topics in great detail at that time.
What we didn’t do was to let you our clients, subscribers and readers know that we wouldn’t be doing a Briefing this year. That’s our fault, so this is to let you know nice and early that we will look to hold a mini-conference on China at San Antonio next year.
Thanks to those of you who have already raised this with us today. It was nice to get so many glowing comments about last year’s event.
One of the first things about an annual event is that you find out that certain people have changed jobs since last TMS.
Today we learned that:
* Jean-Francois Faure has recently been appointed to head up Carbone Savoie, the France-based cathodes company owned by RTA.
* Peter Rees has joined Pacific Aluminium, looking after their cathodes and refractory business. Peter was at Tomago Aluminium. Greig Stevens from RTA will manage PacAl’s black products.
* Chris Barnes has joined Ion Resources. Chris has previously been with Aimcor, GLC, Oxbow, and probably a few others that I have forgotten.
* Angelo Danese has started his own carbon company, called Petroleum Coke & Carbon Solutions. Angelo’s most well-known previous role was at BP Coke.
* Shortly before TMS, we heard that Ivo Musulin has accepted a new role inside RTA. Ivo is now working on an integration project. Mark Pickett takes over Ivo’s role in RTA.
But the thing about attending TMS is that despite a changing of the guard (or a new set of business cards being printed), you still get to meet the same old friends, and catch up with acquaintances that you have made over the previous years. Today, our first day of meetings, we have already been able to say hello to many old friends and acquaintances – Michael Wrotniak, Esam Marhoon, Wes Hiller, Manfred Banek, Marius Esterhuizen, Tony Botelho, Colin Iles and Chris Baker and others.
The first thing that you notice when you arrive at Orlando airport (especially from Beijing) is how warm it is here. A wonderful 27, partly cloudy, but with air that not only has no pollution but has almost a floral nose.
Our flight contained several others from Beijing, including a delegation from Sinopec. These 6 people were on their way to the Jacobs coke conference, which starts Friday morning, but didn’t seem to know much about TMS itself. I bumped into an Alcoa exec in the Immigration lounge. I didn’t see him on the plane, which makes me think he must have been in the business class section.
We have almost 50 meetings scheduled for the next few days, but when time allows we will post live blogs on the latest stories, gossip and business news from the halls of the Swan and the Dolphin hotels. Keep watching this space.
We are now just over a month away from the annual TMS event. This year it will be held at the Disney complex in Orlando Florida. I hope the technical people who sit in the conference rooms listening to papers find this choice of venue to be better than we commercial people do. it’s a terrible location, with little kids in swimming costumes running in and around the lobbies where we are trying to meet with our clients. Plus, the nearest restaurants are a good 20 minutes away, and taxis are non-existant.
Nevertheless, it will be good to catch up with all the regulars again, and to meet some new people. If you are going to be in Orlando, and you would like to meet with us, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.