The 37th International Scientific and Expert Meeting of Gas Professionals ceremonially opened

On 11 May 2022, the 37th International Scientific and Expert Meeting of Gas Professionals was ceremonially opened in Opatija. This three-day international gas conference and exhibition, organized by the Croatian Gas Association (HSUP), a member of the International Gas Union (IGU), and the Croatian Gas Centre is one of the largest gatherings in southeast Europe.
This traditional meeting is attended by several hundred renowned gas and energy experts from more than 20 countries, and more than 80 distinguished lecturers and exhibitors. The conference program includes ten thematic units, several interactive panel discussions, and a poster section on the most current topics in the field of gas economy and energy.

The opening ceremony was led by the President of the Croatian Gas Association, Dalibor Pudić, and then followed the welcoming speeches, which referred to the current situation. Vlado Vlašić, the Director of the Podzemno skladište plina (UGS), Hrvoje Krhen, the Director of LNG Croatia, Marin Zovko, a Member of the Plinacro Board, Boris Miljavac, the President of Siemens Energy Board, Nikola Mišetić, the Operating Director of IPNP INA, Danijel Žamboki, the President of the HERA Board of Commissioners and the State Secretary at the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, Ivo Milatić, addressed the audience.
In his welcome speech, Mr Zovko pointed out that the war in Ukraine opened and emphasized the topic of Europe's dependence on energy sources coming from Russia as well as reflections about the ways to achieve energy self-sufficiency. He highlighted that today we are facing a record rise in gas prices, limited liquidity, and also a constant threat of a potential suspension of gas supply from Russia.

"In this situation, projects implemented in the previous years, especially the LNG terminal on the island of Krk, but also the Zlobin - Omišalj evacuation gas pipeline and the first compressor station at the transmission system in Velika Ludina, have led to a significant reduction in dependence on Russian gas. I hope that today we can all undoubtedly agree that these projects were crucial and necessary for the security of supply and diversification of supply routes. However, aware of the situation at the global level, we have undertaken a number of activities to further increase the security of gas supply of the Republic of Croatia and the neighbouring countries. Thus, together with LNG Croatia, we have increased the possibility of gas transmission from the LNG terminal from 2.6 to 2.9 billion cubic meters of gas per year without investing in additional gas pipelines or plants," Mr Zovko said.
He also emphasized that Plinacro is aware of Croatia's geostrategic position and the potential for additional transit of gas towards the markets in the region, and it is therefore actively preparing a number of projects to increase gas transmission towards the region.
"To this end, we have been following the guidelines and activities of the European Commission, which is preparing lists of REPowerEU projects, and we are ready to start the construction of additional transit capacities in a very short time - if projects are included in the list. In this context, I will highlight just a few projects such as increasing transmission capacity through the existing system towards countries in the region - primarily Slovenia and Hungary. This refers to projects already co-financed by the European Commission funds in their development phase, and which are enabling significant capacity expansion for the countries in the region. We are also considering the possibility of connecting to the Southern Gas Corridor via IAP (which will get another LNG terminal on its route in Albania) and connecting with BiH through the Southern Interconnection; however, we are also considering other projects that increase and strengthen energy independence. There is no doubt that this will open the possibility for Croatia to develop from a country producer and end importer of natural gas into a transit country and a significant participant in natural gas trade in the countries of the gravitating region", Mr Zovko concluded.
In the continuation of the conference, a panel discussion was held, moderated by Marko Biočina, as part of the first thematic unit "Status and trends in the natural gas market, gas prices and future expectations regarding the crisis in Ukraine". The panel discussion was attended by the Director of LNG Croatia Hrvoje Krhen, a Member of the Plinacro Board Marin Zovko, the Operating Director of IPNP INA Nikola Mišetić, and the State Secretary at the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development Ivo Milatić.

This year as well, Plinacro employees are actively participating in this central expert meeting of the gas industry as panellists, authors and co-authors of the following expert papers:
• Hydrogen in the plans of the European gas sector decarbonisation and the main guidelines for the decarbonisation of the gas transmission system of the Republic of Croatia - Branka Belamarić, Robert Bošnjak
• Forecasting of gas consumption for the needs of transmission system management – Danijel Gračan, Josip Jovanovac
• Origin and development of the radio communication system of Plinacro Ltd.– Saša Punčikar, Kristijan Sić
• Upgrading the gas quality system to determine the hydrogen concentration in natural gas – Marin Sabolek
• Possibility of hydrogen production from unused energy generated within the gas reduction station of the underground gas storage facility (PSP) - Ivan Zelenika PhD, Podzemno skladište plina Ltd., Assistant Professor Darko Pavlović PhD, Plinacro Ltd., Bruno Ernečić and Alen Paljušić, Podzemno skladište plina Ltd.