As the conference commences following a delightful lunch-break sponsored by Cryolor, it is perhaps worth reflecting on the close of an insightfully discursive morning’s events.

Leading Chilean economist Michele Labbe provided the first presentation of the gasworld South & Central America Conference 2009 and discussed the ’prepared’ Latin American Economy.

Labbe pointed out how growth in recent years has enabled the region to become prepared for such a global recession and partially safeguard itself.

Following in these prominent footsteps, delegates heard how the metals & mining industry afforded much room for further exploration and gases consumption, while independent Business Consultant spoke of the Latin American gases industry itself and described how growth, albeit moderate, will still be seen in this part of the world.

Spiritus Consutling’s John Raquet elucidated further on this topic, noting that there should still be an air of optimism and buoyancy throughout the gases business both locally and globally, even in the face of the troublesome economic downturn.

Rounding-off the morning’s presentations, Raghu Menon of The Linde Group talked delegates through the topic of Tonnage Gas Solutions & Supply and the many benefits that can be achieved through this.

Enthusing further, Menon said, “When an end-user reaches out to an industrial gas company early on, you plan it and plan it together. We can make a scheme that is much more long-term robust.”

“We also have to plan with the customer, their demand side and coordinating our supply with their demand requirements.”

Also discussing the need to understand the needs of both the client and a developing gases market itself, Matheson Tri-Gas’ Rick Kowey revealed the company’s desire to further enter into the South and Central American gases business.

“We have a renewed effort to expand our global presence of TNSC (including in South America), as we have in other parts of the world such as the Middle East and South Africa,” he explained.

“We’re willing to grow individually as a company, as well as collaboratively with our partners around the world. We fill the holes in our footprint, with collaborative relationships.”

“This is kind of a market area that we have not participated in to any large extent, so by and large our vantage point is very fresh and we see it as a very attractive market to invest in.”

Kowey described Matheson Tri-Gas’ motivation for entering the Latin America market, but also encouraged the need to support and assist the region with the growth of its gases industry.

Technology, shared knowledge, a ‘spirit of collaboration’ and an open mind were all cited as key attributes to bring to the industrial gas business in this continent.

“It is all about, really, the spirit of collaboration. Gas companies must come to South America with an open mind and the spirit of collaboration,” Kowey said.

“So in summary, MTG and TNSC is a global company and South Americas growth and emerging economy are attractive for investment. We want to participate more in South America - we are still a minor player here but our plan is to really step up the collaboration, to fill holes, to support the growth, and take advantage of that growth.”