February 17, 2019 | 2:53 PM
by Times News Service
IGRC 2020 will highlight the research, development and innovation aspects of the ever-growing gas industry. - Supplied picture
Muscat: In 2020, Muscat will host the prestigious International Gas Union’s (IGU) 16th International Gas Research Conference (IGRC 2020) in collaboration with Oman LNG and the Oman Conference and Exhibition Centre (OCEC), attracting many senior-level executives and technical gas experts from the global gas industry. The conference will be hosted in the Middle East for the first time.
IGRC is a triennial event organised by IGU, attracting over 1,000 participants representing more than 40 countries. IGRC 2020 will highlight the research, development and innovation aspects of the ever-growing gas industry. Additionally, the esteemed event will bring enormous socio-economic benefits to Oman and promote the country as an important foothold to hold conferences, exhibitions and events. It will also leverage the Sultanate’s strategic location and enhance the country’s profile as a preferred destination for doing business.
The event could not have come at a better time, as 2020 marks a significant milestone in which Oman LNG will celebrate 20 years of its existence since its start of operations in the year 2000. Oman LNG was established through the visionary leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said by a Royal Decree in 1994.
According to the IGU, Oman supplies a critical three percent of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to meet demand in the international LNG trade and its volumes are pivotal in keeping the balance of supply and demand. With natural gas as the world’s cleanest and most efficient fossil fuel, Oman LNG plays an important role, bringing energy to many corners of the world, helping to diversify the country’s economy.
Oman LNG, as the longest existing IGU member in Oman, has gone to great efforts to bring prestigious gas events to Oman, to be able to showcase the multitude of wonders this country has in abundance – from its strategic geographic location and well-developed venues to the beautiful natural splendour.
The LNG industry is a significant contributor to a steadily increasing quality of life for citizens and residents in the Sultanate through its execution of a wide swath of social investment programmes through the Oman LNG Development Foundation that addresses many economic and social needs. The export of Oman’s first cargo was in 2000 and since then, proceeds from the blossoming trade have supported, what some observers have described, as an ambitious diversification programme that has spurred growth in other important sectors of the economy, including tourism, agriculture and the spread of vital infrastructure that supports business and daily life.
Harib Al Kitani, CEO of Oman LNG, said, “We are very grateful and humbled at being able to bring such a prestigious event to Oman. The IGRC 2020 will bring over 1,000 senior leaders, partners and experts in the gas industry together to share invaluable insights into the role of natural gas today, amid critical gas discoveries and a booming gas industry, and in the future."
"The competition was very intense and the voting decision by 30 members of the IGU Executive Committee marked Oman as the next destination for such a prestigious conference. Such outstanding success is attributed to the on-going cooperation between the IGU and Oman LNG, with the support of the OCEC,” he added.
Rodney Cox, Events Director of the IGU, stated, "The IGU is very pleased to welcome Muscat, Oman, as the host of IGRC 2020. IGU Charter Member, Oman LNG, has been an active contributor to IGU and hosting IGRC 2020 builds on this ongoing support. We look forward to an outstanding conference that supports both IGU's global objectives, as well as a legacy for the natural gas industry in Oman and the region."
The Sultanate is widely recognised as a global leader in enhanced recovery technologies. This is largely thanks to the country's focus on research, and the key reason behind Oman’s application to host IGRC 2020 was to further Oman’s ambition of becoming a knowledge economy and to transform the commodity reliant country into one that helps shape the world’s thinking. The congress will help Oman realise its vision and help contribute to disseminating the best practices and research in enhanced oil and gas recovery.
Dr Hisataka Yakabe, General Manager of the Fundamental Technology Institute, Tokyo Gas Co., said, "We hope that the IGRC will meet the aspirations of all the participants, stimulate the gas business of Oman, and provide technological insights into the industry."
Said Al Shanfari, CEO of the OCEC, said, “It is a privilege to be able to showcase Oman and OCEC as the leading venue of choice in the Arabian Gulf and we will be honoured to host the 2020 IGRC Conference."
"OCEC has now won 22 international and regional conferences that will be hosted in the Sultanate over the next few years, contributing over OMR24.5 million (US$63.5 million) and we look forward to welcoming the IGRC delegates from April 2020," he added.
The Director of Oman Conference Office at the Ministry of Tourism, Khalid bin Waleed Al Zadjali, said "We are delighted to share efforts with OCEC to promote business tourism in the Sultanate."