Despite political unrest, the Middle East and North African industrial gas industry is booming and has been continuing to do so with ongoing change throughout the region. What better time to explore the developments of this market? gasworld brings you all the updates throughout the day at the MENA Industrial Gas Conference 2013.


  • gasworld returns to Middle East for fourth conference in region
  • Industrial gas community gathers to discuss dynamics and drivers
  • Speakers from Qatar National Bank, SIAD, and StG
  • Economic modernisation, independence, specialty gases and more on the agenda



With delegates retiring to the hotel for an hour ahead of this evening’s event, day one draws to an end - and what a day it has been!

Thanks for reading. The Live Update will be back tomorrow with all the news and views from day two of the MENA Industrial Gas Conference 2013.


There’s been a lot of booth activity going on this afternoon, with footfall steadily moving through the separate zones in the Promotional Booth area, while there have also been a number of informative commercial presentations taking place in the Meyana Auditorium. And, away from the conference centre and over to the beachside, a very different kind of stage is set - for this evening’s Gala Dinner sponsored by Gulf Cryo.


Later this evening, delegates will assemble for the evening’s food and entertainment at the Conference Dinner, sponsored by Gulf Cryo, who is itself celebrating its 60th anniversary this year – for more information on that milestone, check-out:


We’re back from lunch and now conference day one now concludes with a new take on the afternoon format. Over the next 2.5 hours we have a dual focus - there is a combination of both Promotional Booth Time for the more than 40 exhibitors that are showcasing their wares at the event, and running parallel to this here in the Meyana Auditorium are a selection of commercial presentations.

Booth activity has been brisk so far today and is sure to get even busier over the next two-and-a-half hours, while Hale Hamilton, Hangzhou Fortune Group, Gas Package Solutions (GPS), Shell N Tube and AISCO Gases are all running 30 minute commercial sessions on topics as diverse as cylinder filling and LNG plant technologies.


And the Meyana Auditorium gradually empties as the delegates break for the Conference Lunch sponsored by INOXCVA.

Here’s the full story on that breaking news earlier, that Cryogas Express is to enter the Middle East market in a new partnership with Tristar:

*Hit the refresh button on your browser, or F5 on Windows, to stay up-to-date with the latest from the MENA Conference 2013.




As Session 2 reaches its conclusion, INOXCVA Vice-President of Marketing, Savir Julka, takes a few moments on stage to welcome delegates to the company’s sponsored lunch.

INOXCVA has extensive cryogenic tank expertise in the Middle East, with more than 700 tanks in operation across the region.

He welcomed, “Good afternoon everybody. 1998 is when INOX began supplying and delivering tanks into the Middle East region and 15 years down the line there is no looking back.”

“The relationship we have with the players here has been fantastic, and lunch today is just a small part of our thank you to you all. Thank you everybody and enjoy the lunch today.”



Villarreal: “At the end of the day, what I want you to get out of this presentation, is that the world is getting automated faster and faster. You don’t want to get left behind. Everyone is moving forward very quickly, the world is augmenting and automating and one thing I can definitely say is, you can’t beat the future.”


Villarreal continues to describe the advances in artificial inteliigence, before moving on to what all of these technology frontiers can mean in the gases industry, including the automation megatrend at Weldco and the R&D work the company is involved in – with special mention for the ‘hugely popular’ Sur-Fill iQ-s.

Further, he explains how the user’s margins can increase healthily as a result of the automation megatrend and the kind of products that Weldcoa, for example, is providing.


In his typically lively and engaging presentation style, Villarreal discusses the advances in technology, robotics and automation, including the recent announcements from both Amazon and UPS regarding their aspirations drone delivery models in the coming years…


Hector Villarreal Dubai 2013

Next up, ahead of lunch in the Safinah Courtyard sponsored by INOXCVA, Weldcoa President Hector Villarreal describes The Automation Mega Trend.

Villarreal, who has been President of Weldcoa and Precision since 2008, has lectured on the subject of cylinder filling optimisation/automation and palletisation at a number of different conferences and events, including gasworld conferences in Dubai (2007), South Africa (2008), Chile (2009) and Brazil (2011).


Street adds: “I think the future is extremely bright here and there are opportunities for the right player in the right marketplace.”


Street: “There is major opportunity for specialty gases business in the market today, with major growth potential for specialty gases in the next 10 years in particular, driven by economic and infrastructural growth across the region.”

“There are great requirements for specialist, niche products, greater traceability, and improved technical expertise from the suppliers. Key drivers include greater safety legislation and the freeing up of cross-border trade with the specialty gas market.”


After that informative presentation and breaking news story from Graham Hunter, Chris Street, CEO of Scientific and Technical Gases (StG), takes to the stage now to present Special Gases – A MENA opportunity or a crowded space?

He opens with a brief explanation of StG’s rise to prominence in the scientific and specialty gases business. The company is one of Europe’s largest independent manufacturers of speciality gases exporting product to over 70 countries worldwide.


Hunter describes synergies in cryogenic transportation expertise between Cryogas Express and Tristar, and the newco operational requirements, as well as the full turnkey solution of new tankers, payload of no less than 24 tonne of LOX, LIN and LAR – and later CO2.

He explains that while there is a definite need for this service now for LOX, LIN and LAR, after review he does not feel there is a need for this service for CO2 yet – but anticipates this to come in two years’ time.

“The target market is going to be exactly the same as we have in South Africa, you guys that are in the business of providing the products or service.”

“What are we going to bring to the Middle East? First of all, safe transportation expertise. Secondly, innovation in driver management. But we will also bring a full turnkey solution for a full outsourced cryogenic transportation service ensuring sage cryogenic operating procedures.”

Breaking News gasworld graphic


Graham Hunter announces a new partnership between Cryogas Express and Tristar, part of the Agility Group and with 1,800 employees.

“Why am I talking about all this in South Africa? Well, because we want to bring all of this service to the Middle East.”

“We’re launching with a partner project in Saudi Arabia and we’ll see how that goes. We believe there is a definite need for it and we’ll roll it out throughout the GCC.”

“The proposed model will be our Cryogas Express model from experience in South Africa, it will focus on current business in the Middle East, with an initial focus on the GCC countries of Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Oman.”


Hunter describes the role and advantages of Cryogas Express as an independent player in the bulk liquid distribution business.

“People often ask me, surely there is no role for your company if the likes of Linde and Air Liquide and others are operating their own tankers? Well, I give them an analogy: we all have our own cars on the roads, but there is still a strong hire car business. It’s a similar principle.”

Cryogas Express is an independent in the bulk liquid supply business in South Africa, providing the “first outsourced delivery alternative to the traditional offering.”

“We offer improved customer service, help to gain lost opportunities, offer better utilisation of fleet, and offer higher volumes per load…”


“It really is a pleasure being here and I was honoured to be asked to speak today and be given this opportunity.”

“What I want to talk about is the model that we have in South Africa – and you will understand why I want to talk about this in relation to the Middle East.”


Session 2 begins with The Supply Chain in focus and an opening gambit from Graham Hunter, Managing Director of Cryogas Express (Pty) Ltd, discussing Bulk Liquid Distribution.

Starting his career in the gas industry over 30 years ago at Afrox, Hunter went on to spend most of his career at Air Products, serving on the executive committee and running the bulk business for the latter 11 years of his 23-year career there.

At Cryogas Express since September 2008, Hunter now discusses challenges in bulk distribution in the African Continent.


Finance coffee laptop business

After an engaging Q&A session, delegates break for coffee and promotional booth time in the Safinah Ballroom.

*Hit the refresh button on your browser, or F5 on Windows, to stay up-to-date with the latest from the MENA Conference 2013.


Jakt: “The future looks bright for the gases industry in the Middle East. We have a number of reports available currently, and please get in touch with myself and the Business Intelligence team at gasworld for more information…”


Marcus Jakt

Concluding, Jakt adds: “Continued investment in power and logistical infrastructure remains key – especially against a backdrop of fast-growing populations and industrial expansion.”

“Political and economic stability, plus a stable security environment, will also be important. Whilst there has been some improvement in recent years, this is still a potential ‘deal-breaker’ in parts of the Middle East.”


Looking ahead, Jakt concludes that the Middle East industrial gases market faces a number of challenges – and opportunities – in the future. “Hydrocarbon wealth is now increasingly employed to develop downstream industries, plus fund economic diversification beyond oil and gas.”

“A loosening of market structures is also opening up new industrial gas opportunities: there are potentially huge supply scheme businesses in the GCC, Turkey and, in due course, possibly Iran.”

Jakt also explains that demographics coupled with increasingly sophisticated economies should ensure high rates of growth for some time to come, while also alluding that the gases industry will need to establish ‘how to optimise differently structured economies to maximise regional growth - many countries in the Middle East enjoy huge natural resources, but some do not.


“Let me take you on a tour of the Middle East gases market…”

As well as discussing the gas industries of Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabai, Yemen, Oman, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq and Iran, Jakt describes the ‘very diversified’ Turkey gases market and explains that:

  • The industrial gas market recorded an impressive CAGR of 12.8% p.a. in the 2002-2012 timeframe
  • This is a de-regulated, competitive economy increasingly driven by medium-to-heavy industry and service sector
  • There are significant automotive, construction, and electronics industries active within the country
  • There is large potential for further contracts related to captive-to-onsite conversion – and Air Liquide has started the ball rolling


Forecast to 2020

Jakt: “In the timeframe from 2000 -2012, we have seen a 12.5% per year in the Middle East. Going forward from 2012 to 2020, our calculations indicate a potential growth of 9% per year.”

“Why, you might ask, does our forecast look a little less optimistic than past growth rates? Firstly, our forecasts don’t take into account inflation. Secondly, a number of projects have come on-stream in this period, several of which we think are probably quite unique in the uplift they have given to the market in the region.”


Jakt: It’s still very much a merchant market, packaged and bulk. The captive market (companies operating their own equipment), however, is not included in this $2bn  valuation. Around 70% of the market in the Middle East is captive – if the captive market is added to total revenues, then the market size increases to $7bn in 2012. So there’s a lot of potential there.”


Marcus Jakt

Jakt: “The industrial gases market was valued at $74.1bn in 2012, with the Middle East representing 3% of that market – and growing. It’s a modest slice of the cake, but a slice that we anticipate to grow, with a lot of upsides and latent potential in this market.”

“That 3% translates into a Middle East gases market valued at around $2bn in 2012; Saudi Arabia accounted for 29% of this, the UAE 15% and Turkey 14%.”

“In recent years the Emirates have also risen as a major force here in the Middle East gases market.”


Now for an update on the status of the Middle East industrial gases market in 2013.

Further to Dr. Mongardini’s exploration of the economic outlook, gasworld Business Analyst Marcus Jakt provides an overview of the gases business in the region, complete with a view to the market by 2020.


Sestini: “Being an independent company means working and investing in what we believe, remaining strongly loyal to our values, and to have a short decision-making process.”

“Being part of Praxair group means to have access to state-of-the-art technology, always sharing the best practices, and it means to be driven by method and discipline.”


Sestini: “If we have the opportunity to grow, we prefer to take one step behind the opportunity to ensure that we are not exposed to economic/financial risks. We are always prepared to take the growth opportunities, but we prefer to evaluate the opportunity first.”


In a competitive environment, Sestini notes three core factors for success:

  • Competence
  • Diversification
  • Customer relations


Bernardo Sestina Dubai 2013

Sestini describes some of the factors for success: “We thought a little differently with our technology. Collaboration is also important, sharing technology with partner companies. There is also diversification –use the same technology in different markets.”

“In terms of market dynamics, one of the really important points was integrating all our businesses into one business – I think this was one of the best aspects of our strategy as an independent. They are all linked together and integrated.”

“The other important line we made through the years is service, putting the customer first. We recognised that our customers appreciate the high level of service.”


Next up is Bernado Sestini, Managing Director, SIAD S.p.A.

Sestini will discuss Independence – The Success Factor, from the point of view of a company that is well versed in this area.

SIAD was founded in 1927 by Prof. Quirino Sestini and Bernardo Sestini and is one of the most important Italian chemical groups in the area of industrial gases, engineering, healthcare, services and industrial goods.


“The key pre-requisite for economic growth is political stability. You clearly see that there strong relationship between that political stability and GDP growth, with the GCC leading the pack”


Dr. Mongardini: “The MENA region continues to grow at different speeds, with oil exporting countries leading the pack - the GCC countries are leading the way. The rest of the MENA region is showing low to moderate growth.”

“The key pre-requisite for economic growth is political stability. You clearly see that there strong relationship between that political stability and GDP growth, with the GCC leading the pack.”

“Over the long-term this economic transformation will rely on a number of key ingredients. Greater integration into the MENA economy is the key to success for any country around the world, including the US. Unless you sell your products all around the world you have no way of competing.”


Dr. Mongardini: “The message in the long run is that the growth and the potential is here. And you are playing a key role in this growth. Through the gas market you are indeed allowing these economies to globalise. The critical part in this area is the liberalisation of trade and competitiveness.”


Dr. Mongardini: “The key takeaways from this presentation are that an economic transformation is taking place throughout the region, at different speeds. The GCC countries are leading the way, with the true economic growth in the region.”

“Talking about the rest of the MENA region, as a result of the Arab Spring there has been significant political uncertainty in certain MENA countries. This is creating structural difficulties, which is holding up growth a little.”


Johannes Mongardini Dubai 2013

Dr. Joannes Mongardini, Ph.D., Head of Economics at Qatar National Bank (QNB) steps up to discuss The Economic Transformation of the MENA Region: The Path Ahead.

Dr. Mongardini is well positioned to comment on the economic performance and prospects of the region, having previously been mission chief and deputy division chief at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), covering countries in Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, and now in his position at QNB.



John Raquet, of Spiritus Consulting and Publisher at gasworld, opens proceedings.

“On behalf of myself and the rest of the gasworld team, it is my pleasure to welcome you to our Middle East and North Africa Industrial Gas Conference. We are delighted that you are able to join us and be a part of gasworld’s fourth and largest conference to date, here in the UAE.”

“It is also the largest industrial gas event to be held here in the MENA region, which illustrates the tremendous growth that has occurred within this market since our last conference in 2011.”

“We have an exciting agenda with top level international speakers from leading organisations, informing you of the latest economic, industrial trends and developments. We have also arranged a variety of speakers from our industry to provide insight on running successful businesses and what opportunities may present themselves in the future within the region – not forgetting safety in the process.”

“It has been a year where the global market has been constantly changing and developing…”

Titled A Changing Landscape, Session 1 will now get underway, chaired by Gulf Cryo CEO Naji Skaf.



On the agenda today will be:

  • Joannes Mongardini, Qatar National Bank
  • Bernardo Sestini, SIAD
  • Marcus Jakt, gasworld Business Intelligence
  • Graham Hunter, Cryogas Express
  • Chris Street, StG
  • Hector Villarreal, Weldcoa

Separate commercial presentations include:

  • Dr. Chris Wazynski, Hale Hamilton
  • Alex Xu, Hangzhou Fortune Group
  • Dr. Roy Irani, GPS
  • Shankar Ghosh, Shell N Tube
  • AISCO Gases


*Hit the refresh button on your browser, or F5 on Windows, to stay up-to-date with the latest from the MENA Conference 2013.



This is a topic that affects so many, whether ‘local’ or multinational companies, and has perhaps been six years in the making – since gasworld’s first-ever conference in 2007, here in the Emirate of Dubai.

Back then we heard the Middle East described as ‘The New Industrial Gas Frontier’ and very much a market for the future. That sentiment is still true today, as 2013 draws to a close. But over the next two days it is very much a case of the here and now, as delegates discuss the changing political and economic landscape and a strategy for success in the region’s gases industry of the future.


Hello and welcome to the MENA Industrial Gas Conference 2013, which is about to get underway here at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai, UAE.

Delegates have been arriving throughout the last 48 hours for the event, with around 250 attendees from more than 25 countries and 95 companies gathering to discuss how to drive success in a changing market.