WGC2012: sustaining future global growth

Barbara Jinks.

Barbara Jinks.

The 25th World Gas Conference was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from 5–9 June 2012. Every three years the event is held to share findings from the previous research triennium and bring world leaders, executives and specialists together. In 2012 its theme was Gas: Sustaining Future Global Growth.

Since 1931 the International Gas Union (IGU) has promoted the technical and economic progress of the gas industry all over the world and is regarded as the most influential independent non-profit organisation serving as spokesman for the global gas industry.

The World Gas Conference (WGC) presented a staggering collection of ideas, experience and networking, and was attended by 5,300 people from 90 countries representing over 95 per cent of the global gas market. In addition, over 13,800 people visited the exhibition to meet 220 exhibiting companies. Walking through the exhibition provided an overview of each company’s capabilities and projects, amongst the largest in the world, as well as their national customs.

One of the most valuable aspects of the conference was the chance to meet senior players in the gas industry, including representatives from some of the largest gas operators in the world such as the Petronas, Shell, Exxon Mobil, Gazprom, Chevron, Qatargas, BP, Total, Statoil, Petrochina and GDFSuez, and other organisations such as the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation and national gas associations.

Additionally, novelties enjoyed by delegates included Flamenco at the Spanish Gas Fenosa stand and gymnastics at the Russian Gazprom stand.

Approximately 450 speakers participated in the conference proceedings, and provided key findings from the IGU’s 70 research groups on topics on the entire gas supply chain – from exploration and production, transmission via pipelines and LNG tanker, as well as distribution, combustion, geopolitics and marketing. Over 52 senior panellists participated in strategic panel discussions on current topics including ‘winning the race for talent’, ‘magic of the young generation’, and ‘unconventional gas – game changer or a global bubble?’.

A highlight of the conference programme included listening to Daniel Yergin, Chairman, IHS CERA and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Prize and The Quest, summarise his views of the gas industry on the last day. He talked about the unforeseen seismic shift from shale gas and growing demand for clean, more efficient and cost-effective energy to fuel the demands from economic growth, rising population and urbanisation, particularly in emerging and developing economies. He also warned of increasing social and environmental challenges to developing gas, in particular shale.

The social side of the conference was spectacular, with welcome/farewell ceremonies, parties for thousands of delegates, and company and consular events each evening.

The Energy Delta Institute conducted interviews at the conference with a number of prominent gas leaders. Questions were asked on the three main challenges and opportunities facing the gas industry and what the percentage of gas in the global fuel mix will be in 2020. Results from these surveys can be viewed at www.energydelta.org

At the closing ceremony the outgoing Malaysian President Dr Datuk Abdul Rahim Hashim handed over to Mr Jerome Ferrier for the French presidency which will continue until June 2015, before leading a spectacular musical show by the WGC2012 organising team.

Papers can be found at www.igu.org

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