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ELGC Provides a Platform for Discussions, Business Opportunities in Liquefied Gases – Ewa

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The European Liquid Gas Congress 2024 is set to be an unprecedented event, bringing together industry leaders to foster business partnerships, education, and innovation. The event will take place from 18-20 June 2024 in Lyon, France.

Ewa Abramiuk Lete, General Manager of Liquid Gas Europe (LGE), in this interview with NDUBUISI MICHEAL OBINEME, Managing Editor of The Energy Republic, provided an update on the ongoing preparations for this year’s European Liquid Gas Congress and the numerous opportunities it offers for Africa. EXCERPTS:

TER: The European Liquid Gas Congress (EGLC) is Europe’s leading industry event on liquefied gases such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), bringing together the most prominent industry stakeholders and players to discuss the latest trends in the liquid gas sector, as well as providing networking and business opportunities. How has EGLC progressed over the years?

EWA: Indeed, the European Liquid Gas Congress is the leading industry event for the industry, namely for LPG (propane), bioLPG, renewable, and recycled carbon DME. These gases are used in such applications as heating, transport, and industrial purposes.

Each year since 1971, the Congress has taken place in a different European city, showcasing the diversity and vitality of the European liquid gas industry. From the vibrant Barcelona in 2022 to the historical city of Rome in 2023, the congress has impacted each host country’s industry and the attendees.

Over the years, the Congress has served as a crucial platform for industry professionals to discuss, network, and share ideas on the latest developments and pertinent challenges in the field. With over 60 countries represented, more than 1400 attendees, and over 100 exhibitors each year, the congress has facilitated numerous new business opportunities and collaborations within the industry. In 2023, the Congress taking place in Rome also attracted participants from African countries.

TER: How are preparations going on for the 2024 edition of the European Liquid Gas Congress?

EWA: We are now in the process of finetuning the last details for the 2024 edition. This year’s event already generated a large interest, which promises a great event. We look forward to welcoming you all in Lyon, France, on 18-20 June, as we unveil a captivating new format with an enhanced exhibition featuring speed networking, an off-the-grid community, a Best Stand award, a premium lounge, and a dynamic programme in the forum.

TER: More so, the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict that triggered the energy crisis in Europe has also shown the significance of adopting a diversified energy system to address issues on Energy Security. Liquefied gases such as LNG/LPG played a key role in securing Europe’s energy supply as well as providing the much-needed energy that made it possible for the Continent to make it through the winter period. Following the current dynamics in the global gas sector, what insights do we hope to get from this year’s event in Lyon, with emphasis on the key topics to be discussed in addressing the critical issues in Europe’s energy security?

EWA: Energy security has become a critical issue for the European Union since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which sent energy markets reeling in 2022, with crude oil reaching $133/bl at one point, diesel premiums to crude trading at a record high, and gas peaking at $85/mn Btu.

In contrast, throughout this high-volatility environment, LPG remained largely unaffected, due to its diversified supply chain and Russia’s relatively small role in LPG trade at just 3% of global flows.

According to a Statistical Report conducted by Argus Media titled European Liquid Gas Statistical Report 2023, 46% of LPG imports in the EU come from the US, 19% from North Africa, 18.4% from Norway, and only 13.4% from Russia. This diversified supply chain has been one of the core strengths of the European LPG industry, and can greatly contribute to the EU’s energy security.

TER: What are the opportunities industry stakeholders and players will derive from the event?

EWA: The European Liquid Gas Congress offers unparalleled networking opportunities, enabling you to connect with industry leaders, potential customers, and key stakeholders from the European liquid gas sector and beyond. From the exhibition floor to expert-led panel discussions and social events, the congress provides a range of occasions for you to build lasting relationships and create new business opportunities.

The Congress is known for attracting some of the industry’s and beyond influential speakers. These experts come from various backgrounds and bring much knowledge, experience, and perspectives to the debate. With the redesigned programme, it creates various, specific spaces dedicated to debates, workshops, and presentations, thus providing a much more developed programme, learning opportunities, and a broader spectrum of speakers.

TER: We are also aware of the recent development between Europe and Africa in terms of gas development as the European Union/Countries have turned to Africa for gas supply as an alternative to Russian supply, indicating a willingness to establish bilateral relations on gas-related business partnerships. Which unique angles do you see the European Liquid Gas Congress can build bonds with Africa as well as create opportunities for EU-African companies in doing business?

EWA: Indeed, African countries are important partners for the EU in terms of reaching energy supply. Whether LNG for on-the-grid or LPG for off-the-grid sectors, these gases offer a good solution to growing energy needs on both continents.

The best way to create opportunities for African companies at the European Liquid Gas Congress is to register as an exhibitor and attend the networking events organized during the Congress. That way, they will have the opportunity to showcase their latest products and services and create new business leads.

Participants from Africa will also have the chance to meet and network with industry leaders, potential customers, and key stakeholders from the European liquid gas sector.

Finally, we would like to encourage African companies to submit applications for the newly created AWARDS, which rewards innovative projects in the liquid gas sector.

For over 50 years, the European Liquid Gas Congress has been a pioneer in promoting collaboration, knowledge sharing, and progress within the liquid gas industry.

We recognize and applaud the extraordinary contributions of our esteemed members and stakeholders who have pushed the boundaries of science, technology, and services.

These prestigious awards have been created to spotlight individuals, teams, researchers, and organizations that have dedicated their expertise to advancing the liquid gas sector.

TER: As General Manager of Liquid Gas Europe, which of the panel sessions will drive collaborations between companies and institutions from Europe and African countries?

EWA: The sessions of the European Liquid Gas Congress have been designed to bring participants closer to what is happening in Europe, whether it is new legislation, innovation, or technical developments.

I believe that sessions dedicated to understanding consumers, financing models, and access to European funding opportunities can be of interest to participants from all over the globe, including from Africa.

We will also separately discuss Autogas-related topics that could be of interest to participants given the growing Autogas market in Africa.

We have a dedicated session, which will discuss the collaboration of the EU industry with other parts of the world where we will also look at the importance of strengthening relations with Africa. This session will be a prelude to other industry events taking place later this year in South Africa.

In addition, we will be offering a possibility for participants to meet with CEOs and company leaders of the biggest European companies, which would help companies interested in expanding their business get potential business opportunities.

We hope to yet again see a strong representation of African companies at the European Liquid Gas Congress this year.

TER: What’s your perspective that should be the focus areas of EU-Africa bilateral relations on liquefied gas development?

EWA: I believe European and African companies could build stronger bilateral relations by sharing expertise and insights on market knowledge.

ARDA predicts that in the next 6 years, the LPG market in Africa will grow by 5%-7% CAGR in terms of revenue. The global market size will exceed $210 billion by 2028 (from $128 billion in 2020). This is, among other factors, due to increasing demand for Autogas, bio-LPG, and supportive initiatives for product adoption.

However, African countries would need to overcome several obstacles such as optimizing infrastructure, volatility risks, investment incentives, import bottlenecks, and others. I believe that the congress could be a great opportunity to address these issues with European counterparts and to seek new business and investment opportunities.

TER: The 2024 EGLC programme brings a lot of insights and is designed to provide a platform for discussion, networking, and knowledge-sharing, featuring keynotes from leading industry experts, interactive panel discussions, technical workshops, and exhibitions showcasing the latest industry technological solutions. Are there plans to include an African country showcase platform on gas development to optimize their presence at this year’s event?

Ewa: African companies would have an opportunity to exhibit or speak during the Congress to showcase their products and services to a large and diverse audience. This may be a stepping stone for many companies interested in building deeper relations with European companies and stakeholders.

TER: As the European Liquid Gas Congress has become a major platform in terms of liquefied gas development in Europe, how would you evaluate the opportunities that abound for Africa in participating in the event going forward?

EWA: I would very much encourage all future African participants to register to become exhibitors and participants and take advantage of the unique networking opportunities that the European Liquid Gas Congress offers.

TER: In summary, what’s the main conference programme for the European Liquid Gas Congress 2024?

EWA: We have a very exciting programme lined up for the 2024 edition of the European Liquid Gas Congress, which includes sessions on future opportunities for renewable liquid gases, the future of Autogas, and financing the energy transition.

You can find the full programme here: https://europeanliquidgascongress.com/agenda/programme/

TER: What are the main features at the event that will drive growth in Europe’s liquid gas industry?

EWA: The 2024 programme brings a lot of novelties and is designed to provide a platform for discussion and knowledge sharing, featuring keynotes from leading industry experts, interactive panel discussions, technical workshops, and exhibitions showcasing the latest technological innovations.

Attendees will be able to engage in insightful conversations and connect with industry peers. Please join us in Lyon and experience it firsthand!

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