NEWS FROM GASTECH 2014: Opening speakers highlight global gas market history, challenges
KURT ABRAHAM, Executive Editor
SEOUL, South Korea -- Noting that Gastech is visiting North East Asia for the first time in its history, Gavin Sutcliffe, head of content and programming for Gastech Korea 2014, welcomed delegates with the proclamation that “there has never been a more exciting, bullish time to be involved in the global gas and LNG industries.” His enthusiasm was shared by conference Co-chairman Chris Clucas, group fleet director at Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement Ltd, who pointed out to attendees that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of water-borne transportation of LNG. Just eight years later, Gastech was founded in response to the burgeoning gas and LNG markets, and has showcased new developments and trends in the industry ever since.
Gastech’s other co-chairman, Paul Sullivan, director of Global LNG and FLNG at WorleyParsons, expanded on Sutcliffe’s and Clucas’ comments. “The global gas market continues to be changeable,” said Sullivan. “Just a few years ago, we were looking at a gas shortage in the U.S. Now, we’re looking to export LNG.” He noted that the primary interest of executives attending Gastech continues to be the price of gas and LNG, and the cost to operators (for development, production, processing and transportation). “The challenge we face,” he added, “is keeping gas development economically competitive.”
Special greetings were offered to the crowd by South Korean Minister for Trade, Industry & Energy, Sang-Jick Yoon, and Korea Gas Corporation President and CEO Seok-hyo Jang. For his part, Jang offered some interesting statistics. “Unconventional production is almost half of global gas output growth,” he pointed out. “And Japan and Korea already import 70% of global LNG supplies.” China and other countries, he noted, are expected to increase their LNG imports substantially in the next several years.
Summing up the global situation, Minister Yoon stated that “the world is now entering a golden age of gas, and part of this is the opportunity that it offers to address climate change concerns.” The growing importance of LNG, he added, has helped to improve the efficiency of gas field development, both from a financial and physical operations perspective. Yoon said that one thing he would like to see is the development of a model for how producer countries and consuming nations can come together, to discuss how to develop gas fields and LNG supplies for mutual benefit, in the most efficient manner possible.