The first ever gasworld Middle East Conference is officially underway in Dubai, as John Raquet of the Spiritus Group presided over the much anticipated opening of the event and Linde’s Aldo Belloni gave the conference’s opening speech.

Following a brief introduction from gasworld’s Tony Dalton, Raquet warmly welcome delegates and commented on the reasons behind the conference, “Why a conference in the Middle East? There are clearly 2 issues that come to mind related to the gases business in the Middle East. Why no on-sites, and why hasn’t the gases business developed further?”

“Hopefully we’ve covered some interesting subjects on the agenda that will meet all of your aspirations.”

In his opening speech, The Linde Group’s Dr Aldo Belloni also underlined 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.

Belloni then expressed his delight at being chosen to officially open the event and commented, “It is a big honour for me to be invited to start the first gathering of the industrial gases community in this part of the world.”

Chaired by Spiritus’ Raquet, the morning’s first plenary session will examine the Refining and Petrochemical Industry Outlook as Alastair Hensman, chemicals engineer of Nexant Chem Systems delivers a review of the current market conditions in the refining and petrochemical industry, a summary of the key drivers affecting industry developments and explains Nexant Chem Systems’ projections for the next 5-7 years.

Following this, BJ Services’ John Grover will present an overview of the offshore oil and gas services industry and discuss potential growth areas, while Pierre Dufour, senior executive vice president of the Air Liquide Group, will present the company’s vision for the Middle East – in keeping with the conference’s them of exploring the potential this region affords.