Volcanic ash forces delay of int'l LNG conference in Algeria

10:07, April 19, 2010      

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Air traffic disturbances in Europe caused by the volcanic ash cloud caused the delay of the 16th International Conference on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in Algeria for one day, state-run APS news agency reported Sunday.

The conference will kick off in the western province of Oran on Monday instead of Sunday as originally planned, Algeria's Minister of Energy and Mining Chakib Khelil told a press conference on Sunday.

However, another event to be held on the sidelines of the conference, the 10th meeting of the Forum of Gas Exporting Countries (GECF), will kick off on schedule on Monday, the minister said, adding that most of the energy ministers of the forum's 11 member countries have arrived in Oran.

The 16th LNG conference is expected to gather 4,000 participants from 62 countries in the gas industry to present the state-of-the-art technologies in the field.

The GECF session, on the other hand, will focus mainly on seeking solutions and required measures to boost the global gas market and stabilize prices.

Khelil told the press conference that his country wants the gas prices indexed to oil prices.

"Now, gas unit price is set at 13 U.S. dollars per mBtu, i.e. a sixth of current oil prices, whereas it is a clear energy source that is less polluting and offers considerable comparative advantages for the development of renewable energy sources," he was quoted by APS as saying.

"Regarding all these aspects, there is no reason that gas price is maintained at this level," said Khelil, whose country annually exports a volume of 62 billion cubic meters of gas.

The GECF will discuss the issue in a view to "reaching a profitable price for both exporting and consuming countries," he said.

Also on Sunday, Khelil opened the 16th LNG exhibition, in which about 200 exhibitors representing 60 countries are showing the latest technologies used worldwide in gas production and treatment.

Russian and Qatari energy ministers Sergei Shmatko and Abdullah al-Attiyah attended the opening ceremony, according to the report.



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