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Editorial comment

I have recently returned from the successful Gastech 2009 event in Abu Dhabi. This was the 24th International Conference and Exhibition for the LNG, LPG and natural gas industries, and attracted a total of 10 215 attendees from 84countries.


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I have recently returned from the successful Gastech 2009 event in Abu Dhabi. This was the 24th International Conference and Exhibition for the LNG, LPG and natural gas industries, and attracted a total of 10 215 attendees from 84countries. The exhibition, with its 387 exhibitors, was purportedly the largest throughout its 37 year history, despite the current economic climate causing a number of exhibitors to stay away from the event.

During Gastech 2009, there was much speculation as to what the future holds for LNG globally, and it would appear that on the whole, most of these predictions are full of contradictions. On the one hand, demand is seen to be languid in Asia. Financial analysts recently reported that demand growth in Asian LNG was now negative. However, contrary reports would indicate that demand for LNG may in fact be returning (especially in China) with the stabilisation of the global economy. Our regular correspondent David Hayes discusses ‘a new growth phase’ in the Chinese industry, beginning on page 10.

On the other side of the globe, the USA is currently experiencing a glut of its own natural gas, and yet LNG proceeds to flow into the country on a tide of oversupply. The excess of gas on the market can only serve to lower gas prices, forcing domestic production to slow in an effort to stabilise these prices. Meanwhile, large LNG projects in Asia, Russia and the Middle East continue to be developed.

LNG projects still face backlash from a US public that does not fully appreciate the types of environmental impacts inherent in, and subsequent safety measures undertaken, when setting up new terminals. Conversely, the UK opened the South Hook facility, which will receive supplies from Qatargas, last month to huge public celebration. Constructed as Europe’s largest LNG terminal at a time when European demand for gas imports is falling, the worry is that the terminal risks being to some degree, defunct. However, Qatar’s Energy Minister Abdullah bin Hammad al-Attiyah has been quoted in the Financial Times as saying, ‘We have built this not for a few years, but for the long term.’

It seems then, that the key to sustaining industry morale will be to adhere to a long term rather than short term outlook. The jubilee edition of Gastech will be held between 21 – 24 March 2011 at the Rai in Amsterdam. Without doubt, LNG Industry will be there, hopefully together with a unanimously positive outlook for the years to come.