In the Name of God The Most Compassionate, The Most Merciful
Your Excellencies the Shaikhs and Ministers,
Your Excellency Chairman of The Conference Higher Organizing Committee,
Members of the Conference,
I am pleased to welcome you all to the Fourth Doha Conference on Natural Gas, held under the motto “Natural gas: an ever-growing potential”, which reflects gas realities and industries, its advantages in minimizing environmental pollution and its various highly versatile applications.
The growing global awareness of the environmental risks, particularly global warming, the depletion of the ozone layer and subsequent climatic and natural catastrophes and other environmental imbalance phenomena, made it imperative to turn to sources of clean energy, most important of which is natural gas, that, moreover, has several economic advantages inductive to increasing its use, especially in the petrochemical and fertilizer industries. Besides, natural gas is highly efficient in the generation of electric power due to the low cost of the needed investments as well as its high productivity compared to oil and coal.
Despite these positive assets, the natural gas business faced several obstacles, notably the high costs of the necessary investments and financing difficulties. However, these obstacles have recently become less acute as a result of tangible reduction in the cost of gas liquefaction, shipping, delivery and distribution in the consumer countries.
All this resulted in a higher world demand on natural gas which grew at rates higher than those on other major energy sources, namely oil and coal.
Nonetheless, the world natural gas market is undergoing a new development that must be dealt with very seriously before it becomes an obstacle limiting the growth of world demand on gas, namely the tendency of importing countries to privatize its import and distribution, leaving them to market factors. This means that exporting countries and companies will find themselves forced to deal with a bigger number of companies that are smaller in size and less capable than those formerly in charge of importing gas, which will necessarily lead to the creation of new difficulties for the exporters.
I think that your discussions and studies on this issue here will be a significant and positive contribution to the work of this conference as well as to realizing its objectives.
The question of liquefied gas and its exportation has been at the top of the agenda in previous Doha Conferences on natural gas. Now that Qatar has established itself as a major exporter of liquefied gas in world markets and made great progress in industries of intensive utilization of liquefied gas, the choice of Doha as a venue for the next conference on Gas Technologies in 2002 and the 14th Conference on Liquefied Gas in 2004 places great responsibilities on our shoulders which have demands and consequences vis-a-vis the natural gas industry in general. We are confident that we will be able, with the Will of God, to shoulder these responsibilities and do all that is required to secure the success of this industry and fulfill the expectations of natural gas producers and consumers, thus making a modest contribution to this vital industry which will be of great significance in satisfying the needs of the world and coming generations for clean and economic energy that responds to the needs and requirements of the century.
I do wish your conference all success. We are all confidence that your researches and discussions will help increase clarity of vision and provide the necessary answers to all that contributes to foster and develop natural gas industry financing and marketing.
May the Peace and Blessing of God be upon you.