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
  • Economic modernisation and the supply chain dominate day one
  • Day two speakers include Air Products, Air Liquide, Buzwair, Linde
  • Applications, safety and market drivers on agenda



There you have it, the close of the MENA Industrial Gas Conference 2013 here at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai.

Rounding off the two-day event is extended Promotional Booth time later this afternoon, followed by an informal evening in the venue’s Sunset Garden, hosted by gasworld.

Thanks for reading, thanks for your time. Gasworld Conferences will return in June 2014 with the North American Industrial Gas Conference (2014) in Chicago, US, hosted by CryoGas International and in association with gasworld. For more information visit:


With two days of insightful discussion and debate now complete, gasworld Publisher John Raquet brings the curtain down on the conference and reflects on the change in the region, six years on from gasworld’s first-ever conference in the Middle East in Dubai, December 2007.


Gorla explains nitrogen and carbon dioxide usage in EOR applications, including gas cap displacement, pressure maintenance, and miscible displacement of oil, followed by site case studies of nitrogen EOR at Cantarell in the Gulf of Mexico and Mirfa in Abu Dhabi (UAE).

Alessandro Gorla

Source: gasworld


Following a brief introduction to The Linde Group, its activities in the region and in enhanced oil recovery (EOR), Gorla discusses the lifetime of an oil field and the evolution of daily production trends.



Enhanced Oil Recovery is next on the agenda, courtesy of The Linde Group’s Alessandro Gorla.


Mackay: “In summary, there is strong competitive pressure in Morocco, an impending hydrocarbon boom in Algeria and post-conflict infrastructure investments in Libya, onsite supply schemes spreading in Egypt and new investments from the Arabian Peninsula, and a wide range of other developments in North Africa as whole from oil and gas infrastructure to hospitals, desalination plants and chemical and steel plants.”


Financial analysis graph

Mackay describes the strong potential in the Libyan gas sector, the ‘very good’ prospects in Tunisia due to its healthy investment sector and a tourism industry that will likely return to form in the coming years, and a ‘pick-up in oil and gas activity’ in Morocco.

In Algeria, he adds, there is an ol and gas sector (including shale gas) that is currently largely unexploited – and the technology exists to extract that potential.

An 8% p.a. growth rate for the North African gases market in the 2012-20120 timeframe is also projected.


Mackay reserves particular comment for Egypt: “I was not going to start this presentation by talking about the Arab Spring and such events, to me this is a fact of life, but Egypt is a special case I feel…”

“One of the issues that Egypt is going to face is that once the current upset is over, there exists a huge under-development in finance and investment. The country is the powerhouse of the region, but I’ve got great hopes for the country to come out of its current malaise and demonstrate even stronger growth potential. There is opportunity in Egypt.”


Mackay explains that while political uncertainty is restricting economic decisions and weakening the recovery, huge opportunities exist in the short, medium and long-term in this vitally important and pivotal region of North Africa.

“Five countries across North Africa are concentrated on, notably Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. Of these we believe that 2012 revenues of $398m were generated, of which 38% is attributed to Egypt, considered by far the largest and most important industrial gases market.”

“In terms of the picture of North Africa today, it is a relatively under-developed tonnage business, much of which remains captive, there’s a dominance of packaged gas supply which is common, there is high pricing driven by high production and transport costs, and a mixed picture in terms of demand drivers which varies significantly in each sector.”


Logi MacKay Dubai 2013

Following up on Marcus Jakt’s (gasworld Business Analyst) overview of the gases business in the Middle East yesterday, Logie Mackay now provides a summary of The North African Industrial Gases Market.

Director of Schilltron Middle East FZ LLC business consultancy, Mackay has 34 years experience in industrial gases and has worked extensively in North Africa, particularly, in Libya where he is engaged as an advisor to several oil and gas and industrial gases orientated projects.

Here, he will draw upon this extensive knowledge of the gases industry in the region.


Gubler acknowledges the difference in figures and outlook between the projections of HIS and those provided yesterday by Marcus Jakt, gasworld Business Intelligence.

“If you look at the merchant market only, this picture looks completely different…”


Gubler describes his perspective of industrial gas consumption in the Middle East and underlines the ‘steady market development and growth’.

Chemicals and GTL are cited as being the biggest consumers of air separation gases.


Ralf Gubler Dubai 2013

Session 4 continues with the Market Drivers in focus and Ralf Gubler, IHS Chemical, getting proceedings underway with his discussion of Industrial Gas Markets in the Middle East.

Gubler is a Director and Senior Principal Analyst with IHS Chemical based in Zurich, Switzerland and an industry expert on industrial gases and fertilizers, with 20 years of experience in writing market research reports and performing consulting projects.


Loungani: “The message here is firstly that the advanced economies in the west, particularly the US and Europe, have to be very nimble in their policymaking. Secondly, if countries who have benefited from China’s growth in the past fail to diversify, they will be vulnerable.”

“Thirdly, don’t get carried away by the shale gale – the numbers do not translate into huge income gains in the US and therefore won’t have huge impact elsewhere. It might have huge impact for companies, but not countries.”


From the China Chill to the ‘Shale Gale’ – Loungani looks at the shale gas boom, US oil and gas production projections and the medium-term impact of a US energy boom.

“US incomes go up, by just a little over 1% after 12-13 years, there is very little additional employment generated from this, and domestic demand goes up by about 1.5% - we’re not talking about big changes in the US. Which means, we are not talking about big changes in the rest of the world either.”


Loungani describes the impact of a slowdown in China growth, or the ‘China Chill’ as it is referred to, on the global commodities markets…


Prakash Loungani Dubai 2013

Loungani begins with a brief introduction to the IMF’s expectations for 2013/14.

“We revise our forecast every three months, and what you can see here is that we have revised down our global forecast slightly, and we have also revised this down for 2014.”

“This is due to some revisions within our outlook of developing and emerging economies. If you break down within the emerging markets, we’ve really marked down Russia, India and China, a little bit. The BRICs are areas where we are seeing softness, more than we did three months ago.”


The conference resumes and Session 4 begins with Prakash Loungani’s discussion of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) latest commodity market review next up. Loungani will discuss The Shale Gale and the China Chill.

Loungani heads the work on commodities in the IMF’s Research Department, with responsibility for the IMF’s regular updates on commodities markets.


Delegates break for coffee and more 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 day two of the MENA Conference 2013.


MEGA presentation

Source: gasworld

Wendland explains other current efforts at MEGA as including agreement on implementing the harmonised colour code, the development of a guideline on the recertification requirements of the many cylinder stands present in the market, and a guideline on cylinder valves and PRVs (pressure relief valves).



Wendland describes a specific challenge involving pool (exchange) cylinders and cites the difficulties in this area as:

  • No clear responsibility for cylinder recertification
  • No clear responsibility for cylinder maintenance
  • Inconsistency in acetoning of acetylene cylinders
  • Use of non-standard adaptors

Other specific challenges involve multiple cylinder standards and the absence of national legislation, with the latter including a lack of specific labelling requirements and no technical shipping regulations or recertification regulations.


Harald Wendland (Buzwair Gases) takes over the podium to talk cylinder fillers and the providers in the Middle East, and explains how MEGA is working to educate users, encourage standardisation, and pursue the adoption of MEGA standards with local authorities.

“One of the big challenges here is that as projects are executed in the Middle East, the big players bring their own equipment and some standardisation [of fittings and associated equipment] would be preferable.”


Vincent highlights four main causes of roll-over accidents:

  • Vehicle design
  • Load effects
  • Highway factors
  • Driver factors


Paul Vincent Dubai 2013

Vincent underlines the significance of MEGA and says: “With MEGA in place we have started getting good reports on accidents, we are producing analysis on these accidents, and we are finding the solutions to prevent them.”



Air Liquide’s Paul Vincent now turns the attention to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods, focusing on roll-over accidents and their prevention methods, with MEGA’s objective to raise awareness on vehicle roll-over accidents, the causes and the prevention.


Khalid Shaikh describes the aims and objectives of the MEGA Work Group (Environment) and how dialogue has been established with regulatory bodies in the UAE to explain the nature of Lime slurry to convince them that it is not a hazardous waste – that it is useful and can be viewed in a useful way.

A sub-committee was assigned to prepare a Technical Paper on Lime slurry treatment and applications, which will be published on the MEGA website.


Iyad Sawalha Dubai 2013

Sawalha: “With oxygen deficiency, it is irreversible.”

He explains that 19% oxygen is the minimum required for sustainable life and issues a call to action on the safety front, with still up to 70 oxygen deficiency accidents in the industry each year.


Sawalha discusses Oxygen Deficiency, Shaikh discusses why Lime is not a Hazardous Waste – Treatment and Applications, Vincent explores the Transportation of Dangerous Goods, and Wendland presents the Challenges for Gas Cylinder Fillers and Providers in the Middle East.


Next up is a collection of short presentations from no less than four speakers, all presenting in the name of safety and as part of the discussion Safety – The MEGA Mission.

Iyad Sawalha (Supply Chain Manager, Air Products), Khalid Shaikh (Abdullah Hashim Gases, AHG), Paul Vincent (Industrial Director, Air Liquide) and Harald Wendland (Buzwair) are all stepping up to the stage on behalf of the Middle East Gases Association (MEGA).


Faujour concludes: “We have a lot of opportunities to improve the carbon footprint of desalination, as well as opportunities in CO2 consumption in desalination and that, for me, is the greatest opportunity between desalination and the gas companies.”


Water Bubbles

Faujour: “In terms of CO2 as a product, as a re-agent, when we desalinate the water it is not potable yet, it is in fact very aggressive so we need to add hardness and alkalinity. The latter is added in the form of CO2, including CO2 injection.”

He explains that the effective dose of CO2 in this application will depend on the purity of the re-agent used, the efficiency of transfer from the gas to the liquid phase, the contact time and dissolution kinetics with limestone, and the release of undissolved CO2 from the process.

Faujour also discusses synergies in thermal desalination and the opportunity in carbon capture…


Faujour: “When we talk carbon footprint, people tend to have misleading ideas. What people think of initially is ice caps, global warming, flooding and so on. What is interesting is that ‘opportunity’ has a tiny percentage of responses to the question of carbon footprint.”


Herve Faujour Dubai 2013

“I’m sure you are all aware of the importance of carbon footprints, the first element of this is fossil fuel depletion and the second element is CO2 emissions and the effects of these on the environment. There is an emission factor for each unit of the component.”

Faujour continues to describe the perimeter of carbon footprint from construction/manufacturing to end of life…


Faujour describes how he also set-up an engineering base in Dubai, since 2007, to cover the needs of the UAE, Qatar, Oman and Iraq. Since that, four main jobs have been executed by his department, for seawater pre-treatment (Dissolved Air Flotation), the upgrade of a sewage treatment plant in Doha (Sequence Batch Reactor) and in the Emirates (Anaerobic treatment), and a compact surface water plant in Iraq (ActiDisc).


Hervé Faujour takes to the gasworld stage to discuss Desalination – A CO2 Opportunity.

As Technical & Performance Director at Veolia Environment, Faujour knows all about water treatment concepts and has an illustrious history in such projects over the last 10-15 years.

In fact, in 2007 he moved to Dubai as engineering director to execute two jobs in the Emirate, for a membrane bioreactor in the Palm Jumeirah and a compact lake water filtration plant for the Burj Khalifa Lake.

Since 2013 Hervé is heading up the Technical & Performance Direction of Veolia Environnement in the Middle East.


Dr. Firth: “By measuring nitrogen in your argon you will get a direct measurement. Not only are you able to improve operations from a safety point of view, but also run your plant more efficiently, improve the argon yield, and reap the reward of this added value.”


Argon symbol

Dr. Firth: “Recovery of argon can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars per year; what we have been able to demonstrate is an increased yield of between 3-5%. We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars here.”

“The average output of argon product prior to this development was around 1700m3/h controlled by an oxygen analyser. But what we have been able to do is increase this to 1717m3/h, which equates to around a 3% rise – the greater the increase in input, the greater the additional value. A typical payback period would be anywhere from half a year downwards, depending on your level of efficiency.”

“We have since moved on to implementing this at other plants and are seeing the same level of increases in yield.”


Dr. Firth: “Traditionally, we have the argon coming off and the measurement is based on a traditional percentage oxygen measurement. Plants would tend to run safely and err on the side of caution. The requirement [for us] was to optimise the process for argon extraction and measure the level of nitrogen in crude argon directly.”

“We were able to configure one of our products as a chromatography unit with a plasma detector to measure argon directly in the argon without any cross-interference from the oxygen.”

“The Chroma was configured to measure at the same point as the traditional measurement, for the sub ppm analysis of nitrogen in crude argon, directly.”


Stephen Firth Dubai 2013

Servomex’s Dr. Steven Firth, Global Business Manager, begins proceedings with his presentation titled Improving Argon Recovery.

Dr. Firth is responsible for the Servomex Systems business at Servomex Integrated Solutions, where he oversees engineering teams based in Houston (US), Mumbai (India), Shanghai (China) and Zoetermeer (Holland).

Over the last decade he has been heavily involved with sampling systems design and engineering and project design. In addition to his role as Global Business Manager, Dr. Firth is also Product Manager for Trace Products in the Industrial Gas and Semiconductor industries.


John Raquet, of Spiritus Consulting and Publisher at gasworld, will get day two underway and hand over to Air Liquide’s Fouad Haddad, Chair of Session 3 – Apps and Safety.


On the agenda today:

  • Steven Firth, Servomex
  • Herve Faujour, Veolia Environnement
  • Iyad Sawalha, Air Products
  • Khalid Shaikh, Abdulla Hashim Gases
  • Paul Vincent, Air Liquide
  • Harald Wendland, Buzwair
  • Ralf Gubler, HIS Chemical
  • Alessandro Gorla, Linde
  • Logie Mackay, Schilltron Middle East FZ LLC
  • Prakash Loungani, IMF


Welcome to day two of the MENA Industrial Gas Conference 2013, which is set to get underway shortly.

After economic modernisation and the supply chain dominated discussion on day one of the event, day two resumes with an exploration of applications and safety, and the market drivers in the region – with an impressive line-up of keynote speakers throughout the day.

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