Regular gasworld readers will be well aware of the Latin American conference that is due to take place this month. But on the eve of the second ever industrial gas conference for the region, gasworld pauses to consider just what makes Latin America so appealing and why so many key gas figures will be travelling thousands of miles to Rio de Janeiro this June.

Two and a half years ago, gasworld hosted the first event of its kind, a South American industrial gases conference. The conference took place in Santiago, Chile and witnessed 130 international delegates gather to consider the challenges facing the gas industry in a region of opportunity.

Proven potential
Since then, the South Americas have certainly proved themselves as regions of opportunity. Indeed the fiscal year 2009 to 2010 saw 7.5% economic growth – the fastest rate of expansion experienced by the region for over 24 years.

In Brazil alone, Banco Central do Brasil, Brazil’s largest monetary authority, anticipates a staggering $55bn in direct foreign investment over the forthcoming year. But perhaps equally reassuring, is the wise caution exhibited by regulatory authorities.

Despite 2010’s record financial growth, earlier this year the current government, under President Dilma Rousseff, elected to reduce Brazil’s national budget by $30bn during 2011 in an attempt to temper economic growth.

This exhibition of modesty, though criticised by some international commentators, demostrated a maturity in approach that will undoubtedly be welcome to foreign investors – economic participants who will be keen for sustained appreciation rather than instant gratification.

Designed for success
From the folds of Brazil’s recognisable flag, the country exudes potential. A blue globe with the words, ‘Ordem e Progresso’ meaning ‘Order and Progress’ sits in the fore with a yellow rhombus representing the nation’s vast mineral wealth poised behind.

But beyond this bounty of resources, the region also boasts infrastructural prowess that few other developing economies can match.

The largest of the Latin American countries and host nation for gasworld’s 2011 industrial gases conference, Brazil benefits from unusually large communication and distribution routes.

Only slightly smaller in land size than the entire expanse of North America, Brazil welcomes trade with the second highest amount of airports of any country in the world. Stretching 8.5 million square kilometres, Brazil also has the fourth largest road network of any nation in the globe, and the third largest stretch of waterways straddling some 50,000 kilometres.

Supporting the abundant resources, minerals and well serving communication networks, equally encouraging are the statistics related to the motor of an economy – its workforce. Estimates predict an established population by January of this year with some 203 million inhabitants, a resounding majority of whom are well educated and centrally located. Indeed Brazil has a literacy rate of 88.6%, while 87% of the population is based in urban conurbations.

Consequently the region boasts the sixth highest labour force in the world, at approximately 103.6 million. Given the assets offered by Brazil, it is arguably unsurprising that the country has the eighth highest growth domestic product (GDP) purchasing power parity in the world.

Moreover, at the time of going to print, industrial gas consultancy firm The Spiritus Group has exclusively revealed its latest regional analysis results. According to the consultancy, Latin America saw $4bn in combined gas and equipment revenues during 2010 – a staggering result that excelled beyond fiscal predictions by $0.4bn. But if these facts alone don’t justify interest in the region, then perhaps a preview of the conference agenda itself will.

The programme
Taking place between 15th and 17th June 2011 at the five star Windsor Barra Hotel in Rio de Janeiro, gasworld’s seventh landmark conference is specifically designed to provide a platform for those involved in the industrial gases sector.

Drawing attendance of prominent speakers from all quadrants, delegates can look forward to papers covering a range of only the most pertinent topics.

Hannah Jackson, Conference Manager, commented ahead of the event, “The conference presents significant opportunities to meet leading figures throughout the industry, meet with equipment suppliers and end-users and to discuss the key success factors that the gas community needs to understand in order to sustain growth over the next five to ten years.”

“Brazil has really proved itself over recent year as not just one of the BRIC nations, but a wise choice for overseas investment. The country benefits from strong and only improving infrastructure, while the location’s natural resources are renowned. Nevertheless, up until now many companies have been dissuaded from spreading into this region having been disillusioned with tales of complications on the administrative side, particularly in complying with notoriously complex litigation.$quot;

“Interest in this event has been extraordinary,” continued Jackson. “Indeed gasworld conferences has seen a record influx of early registrations. Undoubtedly this proves that events such as this offer exactly what is needed to break into this developing market – namely information. Armed with informed insight from established players in the region, interested parties will leave the conference well equipped to embark upon a wise investment move and ready to handle all the regional idiosyncrasies of business in Brazil and the wider Latin America.”

The two day symposium will begin with an introductory first session where delegates will be offered contextualisation from Business News Americas who will discuss the typical South American business. Building upon this, Jaime Castañeda. H, Managing Director of the local gases group Indura will explore the importance of customer innovation, while Newton de Oliveira, President of IBG will follow with his paper entitled, ‘Survival Instincts of Independents’.

After a coffee break, session two, ‘Gas Production Methods’ chaired by gasworld founder and Managing Director John Raquet, will offer a more technically focused insight into Latin American Industrial gases operations. Those involved include Luciano Engel responsible for logistics at Union Engineering, Anderson Bonventi, Director of Air Liquide Brasil as well as popular gasworld conferences speaker, Rexarc International’s President, Jim Bowman.

Third and final session for the day, titled ‘Understanding the Needs of the Industry’ is pitched as a managerial must-see, with Savir Julka, Vice President of IONXCVA exploring offshore-onshore relationships, followed by Luis des Santos of Linde’s presentation, ‘The New Blue Ocean Gas Technology in Steel Mills.’

Meanwhile, David Owens from Lincoln Electric and Morten Torngaard of PBI-Dansensor will keep to theme before delegates depart to enjoy some valuable exhibition time.

After an evening adjournment courtesy of the famed gala dinner, attendees will begin session four, ‘The Bulk Business’. With a cortege of elite members speaking on behalf of the bulk business sector, delegates can be sure to walk away with the latest insights in topics from cryogenic pumps, courtesy of Cryostar’s Distribution Director Samuel Zouaghi, to Detrailerised Units thanks to VRV Group’s Global Sales and Marketing Director, Michael Blondin.

Carlos Fronas will offer Nitrotec’s perspective on Vacuum Insulated tanks, and Fernando Ojeda, Regional Sales Manager at Chart Inc. will provide a glimpse of the ‘next frontier’ – microbulk.

Equally eagerly anticipated is the fifth and final session, entitled ‘High Pressure Operations & Safety’. Kicking-off just before midday, Jorge Souza of Metso Brazil will consider valve maintenance for industrial gas applications. Following on from this, Hector Villarreal, another gasworld favourite, shall engage delegates’ minds to maximising cylinder production through innovative processes.

Subsequently, penultimate speaker, Josh Freeman, Business Unit Manager of Alternative Fuels at Hale Hamilton, will look at the niche but widely applicable field of automatic cylinder filling. Equally pertinently, Kathryn Gamboa, Scuba Sales Manager at Luxfer will close the presentations with a discussion of high pressure aluminium cylinders.

But it’s not just an illustrious list of speakers attracting industrial gas professionals to the Windsor Barra Hotel. Indeed, at the time of going to press and well over a month ahead of the opening ceremony, Jackson revealed a number of exciting sponsors already onboard.

She commented, “Already we can tell you that day one’s lunch will be sponsored by Union Engineering, the global supplier of CO2, while the luncheon on day two has been secured by cryogenic storage specialists, INOXCVA. Additionally I can also reveal that the cultural evening, which traditionally closes the event with aplomb, will be sponsored by Air Liquide.”

Those three companies join a litany of other sponsors including, Weldcoa, Indura Group, IBG, Cryolor, Rexarc International, Linde, Lincoln Electric, PBI-Dansensor, Cryostar, Herose, Cryoquip, and PDC Machines. Similarly, conference organisers are pleased with the media buzz surrounding the event.

A record three independent news outlets will be present and offering coverage; Business News Americas, and Brazil Focus. Not to mention gasworld magazine of course, which will be providing regular full live updates online, followed by an in-depth conference review in next month’s issue. Stay tuned, as we follow the brilliance in Brazil.