When gasworld began in 2005, LNG wasn’t on the radar. Our first edition of the magazine was in the April, and the cover star was the Hydrogen Economy.

I guess we could definitely say we had our finger on the pulse where the future role of hydrogen was concerned, but on the LNG side, there was nothing of note.

It wasn’t an industrial gas, it didn’t have the same hype as hydrogen, and it wasn’t particularly topical for our industry. But all that has changed in the last decade.

When I joined gasworld myself in 2007, it was still not really in the mix; it would still take a couple of years for more of an evident movement to really gain traction in our industry. By 2010, gasworld had added its first dedicated LNG Issue to the editorial calendar and by 2011, regular LNG news pages had become established in the magazine. The LNG movement continued to gather pace and we found that by 2013, almost all of the narrative surrounding cryogenic equipment trends and demands were dominated by it in some way.

Now, many of us are sat here in the illustrious Beurs van Berlage conference centre in Amsterdam listening to a day of discussion and debate devoted to Distributive LNG as part of the clean energies transition. Look how far this business has come in significance to the gases industry.

LNG still isn’t an industrial gas, of course. It’s fair to say it doesn’t have quite the same level of hype as hydrogen either, in our industry or beyond. But it certainly is topical, and from the conversations I’ve had with insiders in this business in the last couple of weeks, and indeed over the last few days at this event, there is far more going in this sector than we might realise.

Various esteemed speakers here today have backed up this sentiment in their keynote presentations. My fellow panellists this morning were keen to explain that unlike the Hydrogen Economy – our topic in focus yesterday – LNG is LNG is happening and here already. It is essentially tomorrow’s fuel today, explained DNV GL’s Johan Knijp, and it is clearly here to stay.

Calls to action from hydrogen stakeholders

It was interesting to hear this morning, how there is essentially a de-coupling in-progress where the link or parity between crude oil pricing and LNG pricing is concerned. Some believe there is still some way to go in this regard, and there will still be a sharp exposure to any future oil price slumps; others are perhaps more bullish about that relationship going forward.

What seemed to unite everyone in the room today was the belief, or rather conviction, that LNG has a key role to play in the global energy transition and that there is significant potential to be explore in the Europe region, among others.

And there is – potentially – even bigger business for the gas and equipment industry to capture.

The ever-expanding potential of the LNG value chain presents various synergies and opportunities for the gases industry. From pumps to valves, and dispensing to distributing, the ability to transfer knowledge and technology presents an exciting and very prominent platform for future growth, as we learned this afternoon during the day’s technologies session.

We need to develop technologies for lower usage levels at the start of this wave, as well as working on reliability issues and avoiding TCO-bad subsidies, explained Panel Chair Samuel Zouaghi (Cryostar), for example. But there is no doubt that, “The LNG market and the LNG station market is definitely on the rise,” he added.

This is just one example, and there have been so many more discussed here in the ‘Dam today.

We have ambitious, but equally imperative goals to meet in our efforts to combat climate change. At the same time, there is a dependence on fossil fuels to be broken as we move towards a cleaner, greener and more diversified energy future. The Hydrogen Economy is clearly going to be an integral part of that future, but we have been left in no doubt today that LNG will be no less important to the expansive energy landscape of tomorrow.

As part of the clean energies sector, it’s a megatrend. As a branch of cryogenics, it’s a growth driver for cryogenic equipment like pumps and valves. There’s a synergy between the expertise and technologies developed in our industry; it’s a relationship in vogue and a window of opportunity in the years ahead.

There are opportunities for suppliers, for distributors and service providers, and of course the technology innovators, many of whom we’ve heard from and talked with here in Amsterdam.

In positioning today for tomorrow’s opportunities, the Distributive LNG business is clearly at the forefront. It’s here today, and it seems that it will definitely be there tomorrow.

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