Delighted delegates at the gasworld Middle East conference have enjoyed the discussion and debate about the emerging gases potential in the region, after an insightful and thought provoking first plenary session in Dubai.

The first ever gasworld conference officially came alive after Spiritus’ John Raquet and The Linde Group’s Aldo Belloni gave their opening speeches, heralding the ‘first gathering of the industrial gases community in this part of the world’.

In his opening speech, Belloni highlighted the importance of such a conference, pointing out that the huge growth and expected population boom in the region will result in a renewed surge in demand for a whole variety of industrial and medical gases. Proved resources for oil and gas, as well as an increasing requirement for jobs and new industries, were cited as reasons for exploring the Middle East market and as drivers for industrial and medical gases demand in the region.

It was also made clear that advantageous feedstocks, a close proximity to the burgeoning Asian markets and an investment friendly climate in terms of loans and funds, are all positive factors for development in the region. Naturally, construction and development requires extensive cutting, welding, other such services and the relevant gases that accompany this – attracting the interest of the engineering industries too.

Belloni confirmed this as he stated, “If you are somebody in the engineering arena, you must be in this part of the world.”

Concluding his speech before presenting again in the afternoon, he said, “This is just a snapshot, I hope I’ve attracted your appetite for more.”

The morning’s first plenary session saw Nexant Chem Systems’ Alastair Hensman examine the Refining and Petrochemical Industry Outlook and deliver a review of the current market conditions in the refining and petrochemical industry. This was swiftly followed by BJ Services’ John Grover, presenting an informative overview of the offshore oil and gas services industry, the extensive logistics involved and emphasising the important role of industrial gases in implementing this.

Grover commented, “To summarise how we see the growth opportunities in the Middle East, basically it’s gas really, it’s all about gas. We use an awful lot more nitrogen, be it down a hole, or purging the facilities, or leak testing the facilities, for gas developments than we do for oil developments. So that for us means more of a focus in Qatar, India, Egypt and the Caspian than perhaps it does here in the UAE, where a lot of the developments are still oil related.”

Pierre Dufour, senior vice president of the Air Liquide group and president and CEO of American Air Liquide Holdings Inc, rounded off a successful morning of presentations as he discussed the company’s vision for the Middle East and enthused about the region, describing it as ‘a great region with lots of potential’. It was also noted that Air Liquide already boasts heavy investment in the market and intends to continue with such investment in the coming years.

The session concluded with a Q&A chapter, as delegates and speakers alike posed questions and provided a platform for debate among those in the industry and beyond.