Over 1000 delegates attended the annual Cryogen-Expo event being held at the ExpoCentre in Moscow. A record number of international exhibitors attended the three day event, which focused on cryogenic technologies within the growing industrial gases business within Russia and the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States).

According to organiser Vladimir Bannikov, General Manager of Mir Expo, the event had attracted a record 80 exhibitors from 15 countries, of which 35 were international based. He stated, “The event has been growing year to year and it is a pleasure to see such a high attendance from international exhibitors - some attending for the first time.”

Major gas companies present at Cryogen-Expo were Air Liquide, Linde Gas, SIAD (Italy) and Cryogenmash, with Air Liquide Russia being the main sponsor of the business conference held on the second day. According to current Managing Director Dominique Bertoncini, who was the guest speaker at the opening event, “the company was proud to sponsor such an event” and that he was “excited that Air Liquide was realising the potential of the market, with five plants operating and with another five due on-stream in the next 12-18 months.”

While the main focus was on cryogenic equipment - six international cryogenic tank manufacturers were present in force, namely Cryolor, VRV, Cryo AB (Linde), Taylor Wharton, Chart Ferox and INOXCVA - there was also an emphasis on air separation technologies and a number of key players from the international community were present, as well as local players such as Red Mountain, Cryogenmash and Kislorodmash. New CEO of Cryogenmash, Mikhail Smirnov, was present having just taken the post after several years spent at Severstal in the US.

Many Russian gas distributors and cylinder fillers were visitors, as well as some of the leading privately owned local gas companies and those from a little further afield, from Ukraine and Kazakhstan and even Iran.

At the same time, members of IGMA, the gases association representing the Russian and CIS gases community were set to meet up to decide the next course of action required at the organisation to meet the future needs of the industry. Current Chairman Vladimir Pantyashin, of Volgograd Oxygen, was optimistic that IGMA would continue to represent the industry to governments. However, a recent problem has arisen as the new IGMA had been registered in Ukraine - which has not received full recognition from Government organisations such as GOST in Russia.

Encouraging signs
According to independent industrial gas consultancy Spiritus Consulting, the Russian gases market was valued at $740m in 2010 and the growth prospects continue to improve as both the economy grows and the swing to outsourcing gas supplies continues - thus driving the demand for gases and total market value.

Currently, over 90% of all the installed oxygen capacity in Russia is owned by the end-users - giving great potential for captive conversion to onsites - according to Spiritus Managing Director John Raquet. This compares with Western Europe, where over 85% of capacity is outsourced.

According to gasworld’s Russian Business Manager Katya Taryannikova, who was attending Cryo-Expo for the first time, it was encouraging to see several Russian companies exhibiting and showing strong growth. Also, the number of attendees was above expectation.

NIIKM, a specialised gases supplier to the Moscow region, was as busy as ever, as the demand for high purity helium, nitrogen and argon continues to grow. Meanwhile, Iceblick was also inundated with visitors as the worldwide shortage of helium continues to feed interest from users desperate to find alternative sources of highly in-demand gas.

While Russia is an important supplier to the worldwide market, this supply has faulted as a dispute between Gazprom, the crude supplier of helium in Oremburg, and the former owner of Cryon continue to argue over liquid helium production capacity - resulting in a significant fall in the availability of helium to the European market from Russia.

Mir-Expo, the event’s organisers, were also flagging up that their next technical gases conference will be held in April in 2012 at the Baum Institute.