The new IFLEXX data exchange standard (International FiLe EXchange XML) has now received a distinctly European touch. With BP presenting its pan-European project at the last meeting of the IFLEXX Community in late June, IFLEXX is now finally on its way to establishing itself as an international standard.

IFLEXX, the independent and open standard for data exchange in the oil industry, arrived in 2008 with the intention of replacing the previous national and outdated standards – first in Germany and then elsewhere in Europe. Driven by BP, its European launch will now be taking place earlier than expected. The oil corporation’s plans to leverage the benefits of IFLEXX by 2013 now also include its sites in Austria, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland. In addition, BP has also submitted some initial recommendations for a standardized data format for the exchange of load authorization data between oil companies and terminals to the growing IFLEXX Community.

The other 14 companies now represented in the IFLEXX Community also declared their express commitment to IFLEXX at the Implico-hosted meeting in Hamburg. Overall, the vast majority of major loading sites in Germany are now increasingly working with IFLEXX. "In only a few years’ time, I doubt that there will be any further role for the German antecessor MPKS," comments Implico CEO Kay-Peter Buhtz. The consulting and software company has coordinated and chaired the Community for three years.

Others topics on the agenda at the last meeting included potential synergies between IFLEXX and the US PIDX standard. It was stressed that the issue was not one of deciding to implement either PIDX or IFLEXX: instead, the aim was to arrive at a common, compatible solution. Minor amendments to the IFLEXX format to accommodate this aim were also presented by BP, and a final vote on these amendments is scheduled to take place at the next IFLEXX meeting. This would make the result data sets of IFLEXX and PIDX fully compatible in terms of content.

The next Community Meeting will be held during the fourth quarter.