Flame conference 2016, Amsterdam by Richard Pitts

Miramar was in attendance at the 2016 Flame natural gas and LNG conference in Amsterdam on the 10th and 11th May at the very accommodating Hotel Okura.  This is one of the industry leading events held annually that we attend, which enables us to gain a real insight into current industry trends and happenings.  The event this year was, as usual, very well attended, with a number of Europe’s major utilities and physical trading represented amongst the speakers and delegates.

The natural gas and LNG landscape is in constant change with a number of new entrants into the market as well as some withdrawals over the last few years.  The overwhelming feeling amongst senior business heads attending the conference was that this year will be a period of consolidation.  A number of the major utilities/trading houses are coming out of a period of restructuring within their business units and actually what is required is a prolonged period of “normality”; whatever that may look like.  Whilst some of the larger market participants have been forced to make painful cuts both in terms of budgets and headcounts, some smaller, more agile firms have seen this as a time to grow their desks and attempt to enhance revenues.

Simon Sydenham from Starboard Energy summarised the key learns from this year’s event as the following:

– Plenty of gas supply available as a wave of LNG expected to reach Europe.

– European gas demand remains soft due to weak spark spreads and increasing energy efficiency.

– Hope for gas demand recovery from coal to gas switching in power generation and gas use in road and marine transport.

– Gas pricing continues to move away from historic oil linkages.

– Gas has a role in the new digital economy as partner with renewable power generation.

What is not in contention here is that the natural gas and LNG industry is fast changing and evolving, and that come Flame 2017 (again to be held in Amsterdam), as well as a few new faces, there may be a few older ones missing.  Either way, it will be an interesting year and we look forward to seeing a number of our clients there again in May 2017.


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