Day one has drawn to a close and all those attending the gasworld Eastern Europe Conference 2010 will now be freshening up ahead of the evening’s Gala Dinner.

Titled Industrial Gases: East meets West, the conference has enjoyed huge success so far and attracted more than 120 delegates from across the globe.

Of those, up to 45% are East Europeans from Russia, Ukraine and neighbouring countries – ensuring it truly is a case of East meets West.

With a strong spirit of collaboration firmly in the air, delegates have been left in no doubt as to the industrial gas potential that the region offers and the desire for cooperation.

Reflecting upon this in his opening speech, gasworld’s Business Development Manager Kevin Murphy explained, “Dobre Pogelovat! Welcome. I would like to personally welcome you all to the fifth gasworld conference.”

“This is our first conference in Eastern Europe and we thank all those of you from Russia, Ukraine and many other countries in the region for attending. We also welcome a wide variety of international delegates that have travelled from afar – from the US, India and Europe.”

“This is truly what we wanted, to provide a forum for Western and Eastern delegates to mix, discover each other, network and learn up-to-date business & operational practices within our industry. As our conference motto states – debate, discuss, converse.”

This was a point reinforced throughout the day, as a plethora of pertinent presentations described not only the potential that lay ahead and the challenges this brings, but also the need for knowledge-sharing.

A region of opportunity
Before rising to those challenges however, it’s important to fully understand the region’s business climate, trends, dynamics and practices.

And that’s exactly what the conference was able to deliver upon, as an array of respected, established figureheads provided key insights into the nuances of gases in Eastern Europe.

Respected industrial gas luminary Lars Timner, with decades of experience in the Eastern Europe gases business, explained, “In my opinion, you have to knowledge and you have to have a strategy. And you have to demonstrate ambition, I think at AGA we had drive and ambition to see the strategy through.”

“You have to select the team and provide the support, giving them proper training and giving them support. And finally, you need the capital for investments – that much, all of us know!”

“I am pleased to see that the international companies are committed to contributing to the market development in Eastern Europe.”

This was followed by the Spiritus Group’s John Raquet, who discussed the Current Day Market and Trends. Raquet noted the sheer size of the region alone and its veritable wealth of mineral and energy resources, all of which bode well for a flourishing market in the future.

“First of all,” he said, “we have a vast land mass in the CIS, it’s a huge market. The region clearly is a region of opportunity. That’s my belief and I also think there are many companies out there that feel the same.”

“It has a reasonably developed transport infrastructure, but it does need improving and expanding. And there is growing investment focus within the region, we’ve seen that in the Baltic States over the past ten years, and we’re now beginning to see that in other countries.”

Raquet positively concluded, “The important thing is that this region is attracting the major players and one of the significant benefits from these players is the key ‘toolkit’ – knowledge, know-how and application. I believe that there really is a strong growth ability for this region.”

A further assessment of the region’s dynamics and business climate was provided in the morning’s second session, as associate consultant Daniel Gambet, Dary Pryrody’s Andrey Medinskiy, and the European Industrial Gases Association’s (EIGA) Andy Webb all graced the gasworld stage.

Gambet eulogised about the need for and benefits on outsourcing industrial gas supply, while Medinskiy described the currently difficult business climate that epitomises the region.

Medinskiy did, however, end on a positive note and encouraged, “But it can only take a matter of time before we overcome these hurdles and doing business in the Ukraine becomes a much smoother concept.”

Interaction - booth success
Afternoon presentations regarding Gas Production Technologies followed a delightful lunch opportunity courtesy of sponsor Union Engineering, while a number of delegates conveyed their pleasure and excitement at the strong promotional booth participation.

M1 Engineering’s Jason Gill told gasworld, “It’s going great, good interest in the promotional booths. For us it’s about getting our name out there and introducing M1 Engineering to the rest of the world – and this conference is meeting that objective.”

Laurent Reichenshammer, of equipment manufacturer Cryostar, also enthused, “It’s a good conference, you can make connections and improve your business. It’s good to meet people and exchange contacts.”

With the conclusion of Session Three and a successful afternoon’s presentations, delegates have now retired briefly before gathering again for the evening’s entertainment. Held at the Azure Hall of the charming Rus Hotel complex, the Gala Dinner begins later this evening.

Keep a close eye on the gasworld website throughout both days of the conference, as we provide live updates and the latest daily news stories from the event.

Until then, good evening! Or rather, Добрый вечер!