Millennium Team, Belgrade and Serbia host the 18th International Business Congress (IBC) meeting

Belgrade is the host of the 18th General Annual Meeting of the International Business Congress (IBC) which will be attended by about 300 delegates of the international business association

Belgrade is the host of the 18th General Annual Meeting of the International Business Congress (IBC) which will be attended by about 300 delegates of the international business association. The participants of the meeting, presided by the IBC president and Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller, were welcomed by Serbian Minister of Mining and Energy Aleksandar Antić and Srbijagas CEO Dušan Bajatović, who has been a member of the IBC Presidency since 2010.

Addressing the audience at the opening of the meeting, Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller said the aim of the congress was to integrate western and eastern economies, as the issue is becoming increasingly topical. He also pointed out that the IBC is growing stronger and more and more regions, such as the Asian and the Pacific region, are starting to participate in its work. Miller announced that decisions related to geographic expansion of energy-related activities will be made at the congress.

In his welcome speech, the host of the meeting, Srbijagas CEO Dušan Bajatović said that gas supply for SEE countries is problematic because of political and geo-economic issues, and he stated expectation that EU officials will take that into account and will not be making any kinds of administrative obstacles for the realisation of major energy projects. He also said he expected expansion of the international energy network in the forthcoming period.

Addressing the congress participants at Hyatt hotel in Belgrade, Minister of Mining and Energy Aleksandar Antić invited investors from the East and West to invest in Serbian economy, stating that “Serbia’s doors are wide open for investors, especially in the field of energy, where great prospects for cooperation exist.” On that occasion, the minister stated that the General Annual Meeting of the IBC was one of the biggest, if not the biggest economic events of the year.

Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller told the congress participants that Russian gas is, and will remain competitive for a long time. Export of Russian gas to the European market is growing, and it will continue growing in the next 15 years by about 17%, he said, stressing that there is a need for new pipelines between Russia and Europe, which will be a subject of negotiations. He also said the share of Russian gas in the European market reached about 30% last year, and it will continue increasing, according to estimates. When it comes to LNG, frequently mentioned as an alternative to Russian gas, Miller said the use of LNG had dropped by 18% over the last five years.

Talking about pipelines, Miller stressed the importance of the Nord Stream, and when it comes to the TAP, which should supply European consumers with gas from Azerbaijan, Miller pointed out that deadlines for the start of the construction and commissioning of the pipeline are constantly being pushed back.

Four years ago, it was planned that the pipeline should become operational in 2017, and now the deadline is pushed back to 2021, and extending can continue forever, Miller said. Other gas delivery projects cannot compete with the projects Gazprom plans and will realise, Miller stated.

Particular attention was attracted by the afternoon session titled “Future of European Energy Sector: Its structure and place in the global market”, in which Alexey Miller, Dušan Bajatović and Jaroslav Lisovolik from Deutsche Bank also participated, besides the moderator Marcel Kramer, expert consultant and advisor to Gazprom Management. In a remarkable presentation, which included extensive latest and interesting data related to the production, demand and trade of natural gas, LNG and shale gas in the global gas market, Srbijagas CEO stated that SEE countries cannot count on gas supply from Azerbaijan or shale gas in middle and long term, and that natural gas from Russia has no alternative in the European market.

IBC General Meeting ends tomorrow with a session of working bodies.