The view from the front of the Jumeirah Beach Hotel

Boasting an audience of more than 200 esteemed industrial gas professionals, the gasworld Middle East Conference 2011 is now officially underway in Dubai, UAE.

Almost four years to the day since gasworld hosted its first ever conference in the Emirate of Dubai, the pioneering platform for knowledge exchange has returned to the region to tackle its growing industrial gas potential.

The Jumeirah Beach Hotel is once again the spectacular venue for the event, where a veritable tinder box of discussion and debate is expected to unfold.

The conference was officially opened by gasworld Director Martin Durham, before Gulf Cryo CEO Naji Skaf took to the stage as Chairman of Session 1.

Durham opened, “Good morning and welcome to the Middle East industrial gas conference 2011. It’s a pleasure for gasworld to be back in the Middle East, it’s good to be able to return and be dealing with the problem of significant market growth in the region.”

“At gasworld we aim to keep improving by informing and entertaining you with the latest from the industrial gas business.”

The first official presentation was delivered by distinguished guest speaker Philippe Dauba-Pantanacce, Senior Economist (Middle East & North Africa) at Standard Charted Bank. Beginning with an analysis of the global economic status, he explained, “Today it is probably an understatement to say that we are at a turning point, either we really manage to climb the cliff or we fall.”

“There are many challenges ahead and headwinds for the whole world, but the challenges and the headwinds are very different if you sit in the established world and in the West or in the emerging world. But it looks like if the West doesn’t manage to get its act together, it will be difficult for the emerging markets to develop.”

Describing the undoubted potential that the Middle East holds, he encouraged, “In the bracket of emerging markets, the Middle East rightly sits in the Middle East. The Middle East is a very wide geopolitical context that covers very different realities.”

“What’s for sure is that what started years ago, five or six years ago, is a process that has accelerated drastically since the 2008 crisis and is accelerating even more now - the historical shift of power from the West to the East. It is in play now on so many levels.”

Philippe Dauba-Pantanacce

“Right now, at least this year and next year, we could put MENA into two categories, the conflict countries and the non-conflict countries. For oil exporters here, especially in the GCC, 2012 will be a very good year and 2011 has already been a very good year.”

“Oil prices have been incredibly resilient. Even in the onset of the worst global crisis, oil prices have always been hovering around $100 per barrel. Just keep in mind that what is very important is not only the price, it is the growth in the output. Higher oil prices and higher oil output means that GDP growth will be very good in 2011.”

“The second element that underpins a very strong outlook for the GCC countries and oil exporting countries is that the government tried to react to events by stepping up their fiscal spending and it was something that was very obvious in Saudi Arabia, where the cash handouts that happened there were really substantial. So you also have higher consumption.”

“What’s for sure is that what started years ago, five or six years ago, is a process that has accelerated drastically since the 2008 crisis and is accelerating even more now - the historical shift of power from the West to the East. It is in play now on so many levels. Many elements point to that transition.”

Session 1 of the conference will also feature presentations from Spiritus Consulting’s John Raquet and Turkey-based ISISAN President Mahmut Ozbiyik.

Following a lunch break sponsored by the ROC-Praxair joint venture, Session 2 will get underway and explore the Gas Supply Options in the Middle East.

 

Follow the event online

If the Middle East interests your company but you can’t be there to take in the Arabian sunsets and the exclusive insights, follow the latest news and updates from the conference online here, via the brand new gasworld website.

The event is now officially underway (6th & 7th December) with an insightful opening speech from Standard Chartered Bank’s Philippe Dauba-Pantanacce. Breaking news, views and analysis will unfold live and exclusively at www.gasworld.com.