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Virtual 35th International Scientific & Expert Meeting of Gas Professionals succesfully held in October

The 35th International Scientific and Expert Meeting of Gas Professionals, organized by Croatian Gas Association (HSUP) and the Croatian Gas Centre Ltd. (CPH), was held from 21–23 October 2020. This year’s gathering, the largest in southeast Europe, will be remembered as the first time it was held in a virtual environment, and was at the same time the first virtual international scientific and expert conference and exhibition simultaneously translated in the Republic of Croatia. This year the Proceedings of the entire, professionally reviewed papers were prepared and published, and are available on the Croatian Gas Association’s website.



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Author: Croatian Gas Center Ltd.

Over the three days, the international gas conference and exhibition gathered approximately 450 participants from 21 European countries and the Republic of Korea. Participating in the virtual gathering were gas and energy experts, managers from leading European energy companies, scientists, academia and students from reputable Croatian and European universities and institutes, representatives of gas transporters, providers, suppliers, producers and distributers, as well as manufacturers’ representatives and distributers of gas equipment nationally and abroad. A total of 116 different gas and energy companies and organisations (24 from abroad) were present, with 13 exhibitors presenting their products and services on virtual stands.

The 35th International Scientific and Expert Meeting of Gas Professionals was held under the high patronage of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, Ministry of Physical Planning, Construction and State Assets, Ministry of Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, Croatian Energy Regulatory Agency and the Croatian Hydrocarbon Agency.

The Meeting was supported by a series of sponsors (Ina – Industrija nafte, d. d., Prvo plinarsko društvo d.o.o., Plinacro d.o.o., Energy Exemplar Ltd., Siemens Energy d.o.o., HEP d.d., Central European Gas Hub (CEGH), Gaztransport & Technigaz (GTT) SA, Termoplin d.d. Varaždin and Međimurje-plin d.d.), with participation of 16 media partners.

A total of 9 roundtables were held, and technical- commercial presentations of production programmes were given by a number of companies, such as Vaillant d.o.o., Viessmann d.o.o., Weishaupt – Zagreb d.o.o., South Stream Transport BV, Gaztransport & Technigaz (GTT) SA, Central European Gaz Hub (CEGH), PGNiG Obrót Detaliczny sp. z.o.o., Pavliša objekti d.o.o. and Panasonic Marketing Europe GmbH.

The interactive virtual exhibition involved a total of 13 companies: INA – Industrija nafte, d.d., Plinacro d.o.o., Energy Exemplar Ltd., Siemens Energy d.o.o., HEP d. d., European Energy Exchange AG (EEX), Gaztransport & Technigaz SA (GTT), Termoplin d.d. Varaždin, Međimurje-plin d.o.o., Fasek d.o.o, Bilfinger EMS GmbH, PRF - Gas Solutions SA and Integrated Gas Technologies AS.

The meeting was opened by the president of the Croatian Gas Association, Associate Professor Dalibor Pudić, PhD, who cordially greeted special guests and invitees, sponsors, media partners and all participants.

This was followed by welcoming talks to meeting participants from Ivo Milatić, state secretary of the Croatian Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, Trvtko Perković, COO of Exploration and Production at INA – Industrija nafte, Antonija Glavaš, board member of Prvo plinarsko društvo d.o.o., Daria Krstičević, board member of Plinacro d.o.o. and Boris Miljavac, board president of Siemens Energy d.o.o.

At the start of guest lectures, Dr. Joo-Myung Kang, president of the International Gas Union (IGU), held a talk on the importance of natural gas in the world and Europe, in which he highlighted that natural gas is reliable, safe and a globally available energy source, very important in replacing coal due to essential decarbonisation in the future.

After the talk by Mr Kang, Associate Professor Darko Pavlović, PhD, and Professor Eraldo Banovac, PhD, held a lecture titled Natural Gas as a Geopolitical Factor in Energy Transition, emphasising that the gas sector, due to climate change, should offer solutions so that gas can become a key energy source leading up to the low-carbon future, and not only an acceptable fuel in the transition period.

The first thematic session titled Natural Gas as a Geopolitical Factor in Energy Transition was held followed by a panel discussion on the theme in which the following experts participated: Associate Professor Darko Pavlović, PhD (Plinacro), Hrvoje Glavaš (INA – Industrija nafte), Petar Sprčić (HEP), Aleš Prešern (Siemens Energy) and Hrvoje Krhen (LNG), and the discussion was moderated by Marko Biočina (Hanza Media). 

Panelists explained the program and investment adaptations by their companies due to the soon energy transition and acceptance of new technologies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. All expressed the same view that the future of energy, besides gas production from renewable energy, hydrogen will assume one of the more important roles.

During the third thematic unit titled Current Development and Perspectives for Future Development of Natural Gas Exploration and Production Projects, a panel discussion was held with the participation of Marijan Krpan from the Croatian Hydrocarbon Agency, Tvrtko Perković, Jerko Jelić-Balta and Josip Bubnić from INA – Industrija nafte, and moderated by Laslo Farkaš Višontai from INA – Industrija nafte. Having analysed the history of natural gas production in the Republic of Croatia, the panelists highlighted the potential of new exploration onshore and offshore. They believe that new exploration will somewhat reduce the negative trend of falling natural gas production from proprietary sources. All participants in the panel discussion concluded the important role of gas as an energy source on the Croatian market, as well as the importance of accepting and applying CO2 capture and storage technology, as well as developed infrastructure in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

At the end of the seventh thematic unit titled Current Situation and Trends on the Natural Gas Market and Future Expectations, a panel discussion was held on this theme and moderated by Prof Daria Karasalihović-Sedlar, PhD, from the Faculty of Mining, Geology and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Zagreb. The panelists were Nikola Vištica, PhD (Croatian Energy Regulatory Agency), Stjepan Leko (INA – Industrija nafte) and Marko Blažević (HEP – Trgovina d.o.o.), announcing further business plans and new models of a market presence regarding the third phase of deregulation of natural gas prices. They believe, on account of secure and reliable natural gas supply, investments in proprietary reserves and natural gas infrastructure should continue, and do not expect a significant fall in consumption before 2030. However, in order to implement the European Green Deal, the gas sector will in the future adapt to the decarbonisation of natural gas while taking into account hydrogen, which is highly positioned in European strategic energy documents.

FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF CNG, LNG AND LPG POWERED TRANSPORT

The final panel discussion was held as the 9th thematic unit titled Future Development of CNG, LNG and LPG Powered Transport, moderated by Igor Grozdanić, PhD, where the panelists were Tomislav Budić (Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure), Radoslav Radonja, PhD (Faculty of Maritime Studies in Rijeka) and Prof Daria Karasalihović-Sedlar, PhD (Faculty of Mining, Geology and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Zagreb). They pointed out the ambitious EU plan, where the intention is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 60% by 2030, which will be an important goal for all member states. An increase in natural gas consumption is anticipated in heavy vehicle road transport, providing an increasing number of LNG filling stations. Hydrogen in transport has some nice prospects, but commencing its application is expected during the next decade with the development of filling station infrastructure, and when the automobile industry adapts its manufacturing program. The expectation is that LNG consumption will increase in maritime transport due to the standard adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which limits the proportion of sulphur in ship fuels to a maximum of 0.5%. Construction of the LNG terminal on the island of Krk means that Croatia will become an important supply and transport node for Central and Southeast Europe.

A lot of attention by participants at the Meeting was given to two workshops. The first one titled System of Energy Efficiency Obligations, moderated by Vesna Bukarica, PhD, from the Energy Institute Hrvoje Požar. Kristina Čelić, PhD, from the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development presented an analysis and results of the energy savings obligations in Croatia for the period from 2014 to 2019. Gas suppliers passed the first year of implementing the energy efficiency system, with 10 more years of its implementation still to come. She particularly highlighted the national goals of Directive 2012/27/EU and its replacement 2018/2002/EU on energy efficiency, which led to a discussion involving panelists Marin Bačelić (Zagreb City Gasworks - Supply), Damir Miletić (INA – Industrija nafte) and Vlasta Zanki, PhD (HEP ESCO) as representatives of the three largest obligors of the system. They presented their experience in reporting energy efficiency measures and problems encountered in everyday work. They highlighted the feasibility of investing in energy efficiency in order to reduce energy consumption. There is great potential in trading and opening up the energy efficiency market, because the existing platform for verifying data inputs can also be equipped for trading in verified kWh or PJ, which should facilitate business opportunities for energy companies and encourage further investments.

The second workshop titled Introduction to Fundamental Gas Modelling with PLEXOS – Overview of PLEXOS, was run by the company Energy Exemplar (PLEXOS), and moderated by Christos Papadopoulos, PhD and John Christodoulou. The workshop thematically addressed European and regional gas supply and demand, including initiators of new changes on the market (economic, technological and other), and provided insight into how acceptance and applying the PLEXOS platform for modelling integrated energy can help in overcoming such changes in the region. Given the constant volatility of gas supply and demand, and its effects on the European energy market, the PLEXOS platform used for basic modelling of gas-electricity integration can facilitate assessing market prognosis in order for market stakeholders to suitably respond and develop new strategies, apply process innovations for improving operational features and effectiveness as well as facilitating fundamental business operations.

During the program, stakeholders were actively posing questions via chat as their contribution to the discussion, while speakers and moderators responded directly.

This year also, the 35th International Scientific and Expert Meeting of Gas Professionals gave out the annual awards and recognitions from the Croatian Gas Association (HSUP) for 2020.

Upon completion of the 35th International Scientific and Expert Meeting of Gas Professionals, the President of the Croatian Gas Association (HSUP), Associate Professor Dalibor Pudić, PhD, extended his appreciation to the meeting participants, moderators and organisers for the successfully held meeting and subsequently announced the 36th International Scientific and Expert Meeting of Gas Professionals to be held in Opatija on 5-7 May 2021. He placed special emphasis on the conclusions of this conference:

  • Rapid transition to a European neutral economy is impossible without gas
  • Full transition will require hydrogen together with a well developed and adapted gas infrastructure
  • Carbon capture and storage technology will have important role in achieving neutrality
  • Innovation and transfer of technologies in all sectors, so too in the gas sector will have an impact on the type of future energy sources and pace of transition.

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