What importance does Gastech assume in the current context of gas price crisis and risks of physical scarcity in the coming winter? We asked Christopher Hudson, Chairman of Gastech, the international gas fair that will be held in Milan from 5 to 8 September.
1. What importance does Gastech assume in the current context of gas price crisis and risks of physical scarcity in the next winter?
As the leading event for gas professionals, Gastech has a significant role to play in shaping the conversation around energy supply and enabling attendees to come together and discuss solutions to the crisis.
The volatility of global energy markets, and the global supply crunch will be a major focus of this year’s strategic conference, with dedicated sessions and keynotes on what policymakers are doing and should be doing to address supply gaps.
With insights from sitting Energy Ministers, and political heavyweights like former German Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sigmar Gabriel, the conference will be a vital opportunity for the industry to hear and engage with decisionmakers at the highest levels of government, as well as with peers along the energy value chain.
Over 4,000 energy professionals will be in attendance, so the conversations that take place at this year’s conference will likely have a major impact on how the industry responds to the challenges over the next year.
2. How are the prospects for gas demand in Europe changing in the dual light of the energy transition and energy security?
There is no doubt that this year has been a turning point for the gas industry. The renewed importance of energy security has seen governments focus their efforts on energy diversification, and in turn recognise the central role that natural gas, LNG, and hydrogen will play in helping them to achieve this.
The industry has long touted natural gas as a key transition fuel, but now governments are waking up to the fact that the gas sector, because of gas’ cleaner burning properties, is in a unique position to ensure demand is met without compromising climate targets.
We have seen the demand for LNG in particular climb massively over the last year, and it is widely anticipated that this growth in demand, at least in the short-term, will be here to stay.
3. Italy has an important Oil & Gas services and equipment industry, what are the most interesting business opportunities in the near and the long term?
We are delighted to be hosting Gastech in Milan this year, at the industrial heart of Italy.
Like many of the other major European economies, the Italian energy market has adapted to some of the rapid changes that have taken place over the last few months. The Italian government has made ambitious supply agreements with North African countries like Algeria reflecting Italy’s openness to new markets. There have also been commercial agreements between Italian firms like, Eni, who will be co-hosting the event this year, with US and French companies, which highlights the growth of opportunities for new partnerships as the global market realigns.
A wide range of innovations in the Italian energy market will be on display on our exhibition floor this year, and I fully expect a host of new agreements to be secured as attendees from around the world engage with the Italian energy value chain.
4. What are the main issues that will be discussed during the four days event?
Each year the main issues at Gastech reflect the concerns of the industry, and so naturally this year the conference is focusing on the two key issues of energy security and how the sector can navigate the global energy transition.
Within those two themes there’s a wide range of topics and debates that will be discussed across the four days. We will have keynotes covering the geopolitical backdrop to the conference, the changes in LNG infrastructure, what the industry can do to safeguard consumers from the effects of market volatility, and how the industry and policymakers can work together to ensure a just transition that does not unfairly penalise developing nations.
Within our strategic conference, we will also have dedicated hydrogen sessions, which will explore the challenges facing hydrogen’s development, and what the industry needs from policymakers to ensure it can meet the anticipated growth in demand.
5. Which will be to hot topics for the gas industry to watch in the next year?
Given all that has happened in the last year, it would be unwise to make any bold predictions, but many of the events of the past few months have set in train investments and agreements that will have ripple effects throughout 2023.
The race to replace Russian energy with LNG has seen enormous investment in LNG infrastructure, Germany’s efforts to build five new floating LNG terminals being one example. The transformation of domestic infrastructure, and its impact on global energy markets is likely to be a major topic next year.
Another connected issue will be the development of new supply agreements. The MOU signed between Northern Mediterranean countries and the EU earlier this year has raised interests in a Mediterranean gas pipeline, and whether this comes to fruition or not, there will be increased interest in projects that create new supply chains and new marker conditions.
Finally, with COP27 almost around the corner, new climate targets, investment strategies, and a newfound recognition of the role of energy security in the energy transition, will all no doubt shape the direction of the sector, and provide new topics of debate when we have our next Gastech in 2023 in Singapore.
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