MEInetwork23 Seminar #1: Crude oil and product supply chains

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The Melbourne Energy Institute on 9 May 2023 hosted the first instalment in the MEInetwork23 Seminar Series.

With a focus on Crude oil and product supply chains, the opening seminar was presented by Mr Nicholas James, Technical Manager at Viva Energy Australia. The presentation described oil flows and the base hydrocarbon business as they work today, giving a view to what the energy transition could mean to the future of refining. Topics included the fundamentals of crude oil, hydrocarbon purchasing and logistics, refinery operation and economics, supply chain operation and logistics, and renewable directions in biodiesel, sustainable aviation fuels, and waste recycling.

Discussion was moderated by Dr Adrian Panow, Director of the Major Projects at the Melbourne Energy Institute. The seminar was hosted as a hybrid event, delivered in person and streamed online.


View the recording

View the slides


Mr Nicholas James
Technical Manager
Viva Energy Australia 

Nicholas James is a Technical Manager at Viva Energy Australia, where he manages engineering and commercial teams. He has been part of Viva Energy for almost a decade, previously managing the company's economics and scheduling team, and leading a refinery through the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Before that, he worked as a crude economist with the Singapore oil trading teams, and in the supply and logistics team, understanding hydrocarbon flows. Prior to joining Viva, he worked in an economics and scheduling team at the Shell refinery in Geelong, and was a process engineer at Nufarm and Qenos. He graduated from Melbourne University in 2009 with  a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering.


Dr Adrian Panow
Director of Major Projects
Melbourne Energy Institute

Adrian Panow has international private and public sector expertise in business and technology development, joint ventures, stakeholder engagement, commercialisation, policy implementation and program leadership. Adrian has a Bachelor of Applied Science (biochemistry/applied chemistry) degree, a PhD in industrial biotechnology, Graduate Certificate in Business Administration, and is a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


To transform our energy system, we first need to understand how it works. The MEInetwork Seminar Series aims to give participants a sound understanding of the current technical and economic factors that underpin the Australian energy system. Knowledge of these market factors is critical in determining the changes required to move towards a clean energy system.

Each year, the Seminar Series takes a deep dive into the complete supply and value chain of one of our primary energy vectors. In 2023, the MEInetwork23 Seminar Series will be comprised of five seminars on the topic of energy commodities, investigating operation of  crude oil and product supply chains, uranium mining and refining, energy commodity trading, new energy commodities and critical minerals, and fiscal policy to support future energy commodity exports.

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