Ministers and business leaders align on energy sector challenges and opportunities during opening day of Gastech 2022

5 September 2022

MILAN – The first day of Gastech 2022 has drawn to a close, following a range of insightful contributions from leading policymakers and CEOs on the challenges facing the global energy sector.

Gastech's opening ceremony saw contributions from Italy’s Undersecretary of State at Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Manlio Di Stefano, as well as the Mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Sala; President of the Lombardy Region, Attilio Fontana; and Roberto Luongo, General Director, Italian Trade Agency.

Mayor Sala welcomed attendees to Milan, commenting:

"Milan is thrilled to welcome so many ministers of such important countries, business leaders and innovative companies, to Gastech. On behalf of my city, I thank dmg events, and each Italian agency organising this event in Milan. A city totally committed to sustainability and innovation. Our city, as well as the whole of the international community, profoundly needs a gathering like Gastech focusing on finding new solutions.”

Speaking to delegates about the importance of natural gas to the global energy system, in his opening address, Undersecretary Manlio Di Stefano, noted that:

I am very glad to participate today in the 2022 edition of Gastech, the greatest global event on natural gas, LNG, hydrogen and low-carbon solutions.”

“Gas plays a key role in the green transition, securing low-carbon energy supply while reshaping the energy mix towards a net zero scenario, and opening up the way for the progressive diffusion of decarbonised and renewable gases, to be transported by re-adapted existing infrastructure, thus, avoiding lock-in effects.”

The conference began with a high-level discussion between some of the world’s leading energy ministers on the profound changes to global energy markets that have taken place this year.

Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, India’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Housing and Urban Affairs, emphasised that India’s energy strategy had prioritised affordability and availability for consumers. He noted that technology would play a major role in advancing the transition, and that Gastech had an important part to play in enabling the industry to present the latest innovations.

Also speaking at the panel, João Galamba, Portugal’s Secretary of State for Environment & Mineral Resources, highlighted the opportunities that Europe’s renewed emphasis on diversification has for the gas sector, with potential for new partnerships. This topic was further explored by Tarek El Molla, Egypt’s Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, who highlighted the enhanced cooperation on natural gas imports between Israel, Egypt, and the EU following the signing of a trilateral agreement in June, and the subsequent growing interest from upstream companies in exploring the Egyptian market.

Leading global business leaders gathered to discuss how the industry can balance near-term energy supply and security imperatives with longer-term climate goals, as well as how to safeguard consumers at a time of market volatility.

CEOs and executives from across the sector, including leaders from Chevron, Uniper, ExxonMobil, Tellurian, ConocoPhillips, Baker Hughes, and Woodside Energy contributed to a range of high-level discussions on the role of natural gas and LNG in meeting the interlinked challenges of achieving energy security, transition and affordability.

Ryan Lance, Chairman and CEO, ConocoPhillips, commented:

“Energy transitions are not substitutive, they are additive. It’s all about how you manage retail during the transition, and how effectively you do that to ensure energy security… Supply is coming, but it takes some time, and was exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

Lorenzo Simonelli, Chairman and CEO, Baker Hughes, commented:

“When you look at the energy trilemma, you really need to break it down in terms of what you can do today and lay the foundation for the future.”

The first day of Gastech also saw a major keynote speech from Former Minister for Foreign Affairs Germany, and Chairman of the Atlantik-Brücke e.V., Sigmar Gabriel, who discussed the vital role of natural gas both as a supplier of energy and as a feedstock for hydrogen:

"Without question, the importance of natural gas as an energy source has increased in the previous years.  The expansion of renewables takes time, and hydrogen will continue to be produced from natural gas in the next few years, because not enough capacity can be built in Europe for truly green hydrogen yet. For the foreseeable future, natural gas will remain as much an indispensable supplier of energy as it is a primary product for production of hydrogen.”

Alongside a wide range of engaging panel sessions, the full suite of Gastech activities began today, from the technical and commercial conference, networking events for the full value chain, a dedicated Future Leaders programme, and a set of critical leadership roundtables.

The Gastech exhibition also opened its doors to more than 38,000 attendees, with over 750 companies showcasing the latest innovations and solutions transforming the sector.