The All Indian Industrial Gas Manufacturers Association (AIIGMA) officially began in Singapore, at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Conference Centre, today.

The theme of this year’s conference is on ‘sustainability within the industrial gases business’ which has become an important theme for the whole of the Indian industrial gases community.

Mr Sachdeva, Vice President of AIIGMA, officially greeted the delegates to the 35th Seminar of AIIGMA and the chief guests; Dr Raghavan, who is the Indian High Commissioner in Singapore, and also Mr Sanjiv Lamba, Board member of the Linde Group.

The traditional “Lighting of the Lamp” was undertaken by Dr Raghavan, together with the board members of AIIGMA.

Mr Saket Tiku, President of AIIGMA then made his Presidents speech.  He said, “It has taken me four years to graduate to give the President’s speech.”

“I would like to thank to the previous President, Karan Bhatia, who was the former president for the past four years.” He also thanked previous President’s for driving AIIGMA forward.

Mr Tiku went on to discuss the theme of sustainability in industrial gases but said he would leave the presentations to experts like Mr Sanjiv Lamba and Mr John Raquet.

He said, “AIIGMA was set up in 1981.  SME’s invested in small gas production plants of up to 140 m3/hr units.  Now new technologies, such as 1,000 litre tanks and mini-bulk by the larger gas companies, present a challenge to SME gas companies. The industry needs to raise standards of technology and safety and Indian companies need to harmonise with International standards. India has to improve management practices to be, and remain, competitive in the global business market.” In closing, he then wished everyone a successful conference.

Dr Raghavan, took the podium and thanked Mr Tiku, President to invite him as a guest speaker.  “We thanked AIIGMA for coming to Singapore, not only because it was warmer than India, China and also Europe.  The core of a recent summit was a free trade agreement between India and ASEAN countries and so he felt it appropriate for AIIGMA to be in Singapore soon after such a congress,” said Dr Raghavan.

“In Singapore, there is a lot of interest in the Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor that is likely to lead to ASEAN countries investing in India as a manufacturing base,” he added.

Mr Anish Patel, Vice President of AIIGMA proposed a vote of thanks to Dr Raghavan and to the prime sponsors for the whole conference.

sanjiv-lamba-linde-gases

The second session was presented by Mr Sanjiv Lamba, Executive Board Member of the Linde Group and responsible for the Asia-Pacific region.  His theme was on the sustainability dilemma – shaping our future. 

His presentation began by stating that he was honoured to be back to deal with a complex subject, why was AIIGMA discussing sustainability in Singapore?

He defined sustainability as meaning “corporate sustainability as a business approach creates long term value by embracing opportunities and managing risks deriving from economic environmental and sociability.”

He added, “None of this is new but is practiced on an everyday basis.  Sustainability is more than just safety and environmental protection.”

“What does sustainability mean to us?  Where are we today as an industry – we are safety and technically orientated.  It is a good starting point but across the world – stakeholders are increasing pressure on expectations and on standards – they want to know what the carbon foot print is for the company for example.  What the future holds?  It’s much tougher moving forward five years from today, thinking about how you will hopefully be discussing that we made the right choices today.”

“Lack of common standards does cause us issues and therefore impacts on sustainability,” said Mr Lamba, adding, “regulation and the environment of greater regulation is an increasing challenge to companies – including our own industry.”

“Either you meet the regulatory requirements or you don’t – failure will mean short-term lifetime going forward. Environmental impact increases will be an increasing challenge across the globe and in India.”

“Sustainability topics include compliance, sustainability in the supply chain product stewardship and carbon foot print.  Customers and community expectations are ever increasing.”

Mr Lamba then addressed the subject of sustainability energy and options for the future.

He said, “There is an energy ‘Trilemma’ which is made up of the security of supply, economics of secure supply of power, and the environmental impact of the production of energy.”

“In the US, shale gas has changed the supply dynamics for natural gas and the cost and impacts on competitiveness for the US against high gas prices in the Asian region.  However, fossil fuels will still dominate energy sources moving through to 2030.  Clean coal – this is a good concept but has not been economically proven as a concept,” stated Mr Lamba, adding, “but there are lots of plans.” 

“In India we will still see fossil fuel as the main source of energy for sometime to come.”

Closing his presentation, Mr Lamba made his final points. When discussing CO2 emissions, he said, “It is clear – efficiency of energy plants will have greatest impact of managing CO2 emissions, more so than CCS.”

“Clean Technology makes up a lot of Linde’s focus at present.  Merchant LNG, Carbon Capture and Storage, expanding CO2 Networks (greenhouses), enhanced oil recovery (EOR), hydrogen as a transport fuel (and green hydrogen) and photovoltaics – the latter is at its lowest ebb at present from the loss of subsidies from governments etc.”

“Sustainability – what can we do differently?  The Linde Group’s view is about managing and creating solutions for sustainability.  Invest in research and also implement projects within all the above sectors.  Our industry has a unique opportunity to influence our customers and roll-out applications and solutions on efficiency and reduce emissions in their processes.”

“Sustainability - Can we afford to do nothing? – the answer is simply ‘NO’.  Warren Buffet said ‘It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it’. If we do not manage risk and the environment and our business - don’t let that happen to you.”

“And finally sustainability – so where is the dilemma?  Sustainability sounds easy to do but there is indeed a cost, needs a lot of energy, leadership and time to commit to it.  You will have to change the way you do business to be sustainable.  Regulation will ensure we are under pressure to change and regulation will ensure that we do change because we have to manage our businesses ethically.  Sustainability will shape our future but we must as a community do it together.  AIIGMA is a good way to ensure this is done.”

He recommended a plan for the Indian gases community. An A-E or five-point-plan. 

Firstly Align your goals, a need for, Buy in from the members, Commit to the plan, Develop a road map (it will not happen overnight), Execute on your road map.

The Afternoon Session began with a presentation from John Raquet from the Spiritus Group who presented on the Critical Success Factors for Sustainability within the Industrial Gases Business.