07th October 2008

Warm welcome from ENI to EAGC 2008 delegates

With under two months to go before the 23rd European Autumn Gas Conference (EAGC 2008) hosted by Eni opens at Spazio Villa Erba. . .

With under two months to go before the 23rd European Autumn Gas Conference (EAGC 2008) hosted by Eni opens at Spazio Villa Erba, Lake Como Italy (25-26 November) registrations are coming in thick and fast from all over Europe – and further afield.

“EAGC really is the ‘must-attend’ networking event for anyone doing business in the European gas industry, and our speaker and delegate lists are certainly proof of its appeal,” says Event Director, Tony Stephenson of dmg world media (uk) ltd. “Registered delegates come from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Iran, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. We regularly update the delegate list on our website at www.theeagc.com to enable delegates and prospective delegates to keep up-to-date with whom they can expect to meet during the course of the event.

“The highly topical conference programme with its theme “Fear and opportunity – European gas gets down to business“ is certainly one draw. Another is the combination of a spectacular venue and networking opportunities in plenty, including what we know will be a highly memorable Gala Dinner at the Teatro Sociale organised by EAGC 2008’s enthusiastic hosts, Eni. We thank them for their invaluable input to this year’s event.

Challenges – and positive signs - abound
Domenico Dispenza, Chief Operating Officer of Eni’s Gas & Power Division explains in the new EAGC newsletter now online at www.theeagc.com: “The placid natural environment that the delegates will enjoy on the shore of the lake will hardly mask the extraordinary nature of the times in which the energy industry in the world and our European gas industry in particular are living.”

He looks back over some of the challenges the industry has been facing over the past few years, starting with the unprecedented rollercoasting of the oil price, the consolidation process in the European gas arena, the complex exchanges of opinions and expectations between the industry and the regulators, the cries of consumers’ groups against the alleged distortions in the wholesale markets; and the effects on the dialogue between Europe and its suppliers of either external geopolitical issues and of self-imposed more vocal roles.

And into the mix he adds: “The difficulties in modelling gas demand in the European market, with its recent two-years decline in overall demand that apparently goes against the common wisdom of continuous, unstoppable growth, the sometimes frantic calls from different quarters on the need for substantial and increased diversification of import sources, supply routes and even of our primary energy slate, or the difficulties in securing finance for new gas projects due to a deterioration of the world's investment climate and of some regions’ overall safety for building and operating energy infrastructure.”

“Thankfully Mr Dispenza also sees very positive signs developing and new opportunities looming, and goes on to describe these in general, and the situation in Italy in particular, in the latest issue of EAGC News,” explains Tony Stephenson. “The newsletter also contains answers by Camillo Gloria, Senior Vice President, International Development & Trade, Eni Gas & Power to three key questions: ‘Where are we standing one year after the extensive debate in Dűsseldorf at EAGC 2007?’; ‘How important is the dimension of players in the framework of evolving European gas markets?’ and ‘What is the critical issue for LNG in the coming years?’

“Questions in plenty, coupled with in-depth discussion, will be very much the order of the day at EAGC 2008,” he adds. “Indeed, it is just what the industry expects at this compelling annual event that traditionally brings up to 500 leading gas experts, policymakers and business leaders together to debate the strategic issues affecting the future of the European gas industry, and has built a formidable reputation based on the seniority of its participants, interactive panel discussions and high-level of networking.”

Conference topics
This year’s conference opens with keynote addresses by Italian dignitaries and senior industry executives and is followed on the first day by sessions on European Gas in Italy; Living in the Eye of the Storm; What are the Burning Issues for Europe’s Grid Companies?; Geopolitics of International Gas Market – It’s not Personal, it’s Geopolitical – How the World Impinges on Europe’s Energy Reality; with the ever-popular Champagne Roundtables taking place before delegates depart for the EAGC 2008 Gala Dinner.

Day two gets off to a flying start with opening keynote addresses by Kathleen Eisbrenner, Executive Vice President Global LNG, Shell Gas & Power and Khalid Sultan Al-Kuwari, Marketing Executive, RasGas Company; and these are followed by sessions on New Italy Supply: Its Impact on Italy, Europe and Beyond; How Different, How Similar from Italy?; Does the Demand for Gas in Europe Continue to increase or…? and the EAGC 2008 Wrap-up Forum.

EAGC strengths highlighted by Domenico Dispenza
“The EAGC has always so well threaded in advance with the industry both the choice of topics and the best ways to interactively communicate them and to foster discussions; I can ensure you that this year’s event will be absolutely no exception,” says Domenico Dispenza.

“Our industry is as much formal negotiations and deal-making as it is informal exchange of ideas, trust building and networking.

“I have made lifelong friends in such an environment; I have been challenged in my assumptions and enriched in experience and vision either by negotiating supply contracts in seemingly endless days of tense discussions and by participating to moments like the EAGC, where I could unwind and discuss sometimes with the same people I once met on the opposite side of a negotiating table.

“My wish is therefore for anyone of you to come back from Como not just with the peculiar feeling this beautiful location always leaves in both first comers and aficionados, but also with some new ideas, some new friends and an improved set of tools to carve your way through the growing complexity of our profession and of the environment we all operate in.”