The Gastech Conference & Exhibition opened Monday in London, returning to the UK capital for the first time in 40 years.
As the energy industry enters what has been heralded as the 'Golden Age for Gas', the conference enjoyed opening speeches from the Rt Hon. Edward Davey MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Sir Frank Chapman, chief executive of BG Group, which is hosting Gastech 2012, and Professor Brian Cox, Research Fellow, author and BBC presenter.
More than 1,500 delegates heard Edward Davey MP state the importance of gas in the future energy mix and the lengths the UK government would go to invest in new plants and infrastructure, as well as creating a marketplace to facilitate a more effective trading corridor for European gas supplies.
He said: "We are good at gas, and we like gas. It's important to recognize that gas is helping many countries including the UK to cut carbon emissions."
Mr. Davey also said that he and the coalition UK government were open to UK shale exploration and production but that this still required some amount of analysis, evidence and review.
He added: "I make no apology for being a little more patient than some commentators – I want to see evidence about impacts and oversight. I hope that it will prove possible for me to give a green light to shale in the future."
Sir Frank Chapman believes that the world is on an evolutionary path that is not predictable, but that gas is the solution to many of the world's energy challenges. He said that Gastech was the perfect platform for the global gas supply chain to come together to set the standards and regulate the industry.
Professor Cox provided a powerful reminder of the relationships between the technological innovation driving advancements within the energy industry and the application of science, referring to the ground-breaking CERN Project in Geneva with which has been heavily involved – a project which uses cryogenic technology similar to that employed in the gas industry.
He also impressed the audience with color photographs of the surface of the planet Saturn, which revealed enormous quantities of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
He said: "All of what you are seeing is very much relevant to the energy industry as it is projects such as these that will inspire the next generation."
The morning session also featured a leadership panel, chaired by Martin Houston, chief operating office and executive director of BG Group and featuring Statoil President and CEO, Helge Lund; Shigeru Muraki of the Tokyo Gas Co; Khalid Sultan Al-Kuwari of RasGas; Djeloul Bachi-Bensaad of Sonatrach; and Bill Dudley of Bechtel Corporation.
The panel discussed a broad range of topics and analyzed some of the most pressing issues facing the global industry, including the price of gas and its traditional link to crude oil prices, the availability of capital investment for major upstream projects and the game-changing potential of Australia's shale gas reserves.
Sir Frank Chapman later officially opened the exhibition which featured some of the biggest and most globally-recognized energy industry organizations.
Gavin Sutcliffe, head of content for Gastech said: "The level of debate and discussion has created the perfect foundation for this year's conference and exhibition. We certainly believe that this is the golden age for gas but the industry, in its entirety, needs a focal point where it can look at global trends, future demands and the challenges that the industry faces.
"Day one of the conference and exhibition has done just that, as we look to build on this from a technical perspective with the Centres of Technical Excellence and also in terms of skills and opportunities through Ignite!"
Gastech is taking place at the ExCel, London from Oct. 8-11, 2012. For more information visit www.gastech.co.uk.
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